By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/Public Information Officer
Calipatria State Prison
Laughter, joyous chattering and little feet frolicking through carnival-style games were the sounds heard at this year’s first Harvest Festival. The one-day event was hosted at Calipatria State Prison (CAL) with more than 600 employees and their families attending.
“The Harvest Festival provides an opportunity for employees to come together with their families as a community, make new friends and share common interests while having a great time and experiencing activities similar to a traditional carnival,” said Frances Hernandez, event coordinator.
Children, many dressed in their Halloween costumes, delighted in the candy and prizes, as they visited booths such as face painting, a cake walk, sand art, an obstacle course, a fish bowl toss, a photo booth and other games at the festival. The horses for the pony rides and the animals for the petting zoo were provided by CAL staff.
Attendees enjoyed live music played by Los Kodigoz, with two band members working at the institution as correctional officers. The local Hawaiian dancers also entertained the crowd.
Warden Warren L. Montgomery and Chief Deputy Warden Belinda Hedrick volunteered to get wet in the dunk booth. Proceeds from the dunk booth are being used to provide winter coats to those children less fortunate in the local community. Over 200 kids and adults took their turn in trying to dunk the pair.
“The Harvest Festival was a collaboration of ideas in an effort to celebrate our staff, and recognize the importance of family values. The successes we achieve, in part, are because of the support of our families,” said Warden Montgomery. “Additionally, it provides an opportunity for families to access, on a limited basis, where their loved ones work.”