Each fall, the Grimes Elementary School Parent and Teacher Organization sponsors the Grimes Fall Funfest. It’s a family friendly event that includes games, prizes, food, auctions, a bake sale and even a “vintage arcade.”

Every year, the fundraising chair, as well as the rest of the PTO, visit local businesses, make phone calls, and send emails requesting donations to be used for auction baskets, raffle prizes and game prizes.

The donations they collect help fund technology, books, reading incentive programs, “kids and family” activity nights, field trips and playground equipment for the Grimes students.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of businesses who were willing to donate to the fundraiser. In the spirit of recognizing those who believe in community involvement, 350 student families who support the school would like to thank the following businesses for their generosity:

RonDavoo Pizza, People’s Choice, Arby’s, Teriyaki Madness, Mazzio’s, Dunn Brothers Coffee, Starbucks, Gypsi, Burlington By The Book, Nature’s Corner, Original Cyn’s, Diggers Rest, The Uptown Ivy, the YMCA, Family Video, Hardee’s, Stargazer Bakery, Cold Stone Creamery, Perkins, Pepsi, Hy-Vee, Cookie Jar Creations, Downtown Partners, The Putnam Museum, The Iowa City Children’s Museum, Kodiak Cakes, Dominos, Casey’s, Happy Joe’s, Jimmy John’s, Harvestville Farms, FunCity, Martini’s Grille, Pinned It Creations, Flint Hills Golf, Sheaffer Memorial Golf, and The Art Center of Burlington, as well as a number of people who do direct sales or create crafts and donated items for auction.

I would also all like to thank all the tireless PTO volunteers and family who put their hearts into this project. As a PTO Dad, I get to witness firsthand the effort the parents, staff, and teachers put into making the Funfest fun for everyone.

They are working wonders, folks, they truly are.

As a volunteer, I missed out on the bounce house, face-painting, cookie walk, carnival games, battle-bots, piggy race, obstacle course, and other fun stuff, but I had something even better.

“Mr. Critser’s Arcade” had three classic Nintendo systems set up on three different screens. I brought a Nintendo 64 (released in 1997), a Gamecube (released in 2001), and a Super Nintendo Classic (rereleased in 2017, but the original was released in 1991).

I tried to keep it simple and keep it multiplayer, so I set up each console’s version of “Super Mario Kart” racing on all three consoles, though we did play some four-person wrestling on “WCW vs. NWO Revenge” for the N64 and we threw some roundhouse kicks on “Street Fighter 2” for the SNES at some point.

Regardless of what the kids were playing, they were having fun and no one had to wait too long when we could have 10 people play at once.

It was funny, though, that some of these young whipper snappers thought my old video games were antiques. They might be older than the kids playing them, but they aren’t that old, are they?

Thank you, everyone who came out and played games and purchased items at the auction. I hope everyone enjoyed my dinosaur display when you were buying tickets.

When I see families having fun together at a school, it warms my soul. A school is place of learning, but it can also be a place to have fun, to make friends, to make memories.

Our community, our businesses and a bunch of volunteers work together every year to make this happen. It may not seem like much, but it means something to all these kids and their families.

All of these things together ensured that Grimes Fun Fest was a success, and far as schools go, I think we have one of the best.

Robert Critser, who lives in Burlington and is an assistant manager at the West Burlington Walmart Supercenter, writes a freelance column for The Hawk Eye.