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Community is in lockstep with Warren High School band

The 18th Annual Warren High School BBoosters craft fair held  high school field house Almond Road Gurnee. | Joe

The 18th Annual Warren High School Band Boosters craft fair held in the high school field house on Almond Road in Gurnee. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:14AM

The Warren High School band will march on, thanks to a tremendous boost from loving parents and the community at large.

An estimated 1,000 people attended the 18th annual craft fair at the school on Almond Road in Gurnee on Saturday, a fund-raiser sponsored by the band’s Boosters Club.

Last year’s fair raised more than $8,000, according to Mary Lynn Carver, the fair’s chairwoman.

With 115 vendors — 15 more than last year, Carver had high hopes it would top last year’s result. Vendors, she said, told her they had “the best traffic this year.”

“The economy is getting better. We have placed ads online, so more people have found out about the fair,” said Carver whose daughter, Clarissa, 17, a junior, is a band member. Son Spencer, 21, a 2009 graduate and also a former band member, is in college.

“It is the biggest band in Illinois. We compete all over the state, including the Illinois State University championship every year. It’s awesome,” she said of the award-winning 300-member band with great pride. The band also marches in local parades, including on Gurnee Days.

Funds raised at the fair will be used to pay for uniforms, equipment and trips.

“We also provide food for them,” she noted, short of saying the band marches on its stomach.

Vendors paid $55 for space, $5 more for using electricity for displays. Revenue also came from raffle-ticket sales, the popular bake sale, and concession sales at the school’s Blue Devil Café during the fair. Vendors donated prizes for the raffles.

The fair, with lookers and buyers milling around vendors selling anything imaginable — including jewelries, spices, hats, stuffed animals and giant coloring books — resembled a big bazaar. Most fairgoers were, in one way or another, connected to the band.

Valerie Tamburrino stopped at the booth manned by Tammy Mireles, owner of Carry On With Style of Grayslake. She bought a monkey hat for her daughter, Anna, 15, and a zebra hat for a niece.

“She will be in the band next year,” she said of her daughter, an eighth-grader at Woodland Middle School.

“This is my first time at the fair. People are very receptive, said Mireless whose table brimmed with gift items and jewelry, some she said she made herself.

The bake-sale table, chock full of cookies, pies, cakes and loaves of bread made by band mothers, was an irresistible stop for fairgoers. Deborah Barker and her daughter, Meghan, a 2007 Warren High graduate, were among them. They bought cookies and brownies, while carrying with them bags containing stuffed animals and Tupperware they had purchased before.

“We come here every year, always looking forward to it,” said the mother, adding her son, Joel, a 2004 Warren grad, is a lawyer.

Sue Schmidt, a band mother who made cookies, brownies and bread for the sale, said her eldest son, Eric, 14, a freshman, plays the trumpet in the band.

“I feel music is an important part of everybody’s life,” she said, acknowledging she started playing the instrument when she was 4 and continued playing it in college.

In charge of the bake sale was Sheryl Smith, whose daughter, Emily, 16, plays the flute in the band.

“The bake sale is always a great fund-raiser,” she said.

Carver, the fair’s chairwoman, said both bake and raffle sales doubled this year.

“We’re all very happy. It’s amazing how everyone worked so hard to make this a great fair,” she said.

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