Fundraising, awareness, family fun the mission of Will’s Carnival for a Cause

LAUREL — The Will’s Carnival for Cause Facebook page has been stuck in overdrive of late.

Will Kenney holds a Mark Trumbo shirt donated by the Baltimore Orioles for this Sunday’s Will’s Carnival for a Cause.

Support and donations for auctions have seemingly been pouring in faster than batter at an International House of Pancakes.

“There is big community support,” said 15-year-old Will Kenney, the youthful mastermind of what is the fourth edition of Will’s Carnival for a Cause. “We have over 100 silent and Chinese auction items. We have a couple other donations for prizes.”

The extravaganza takes place this Sunday, Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Chick Berry Farm, located on Jestice Farm Road just off SR 24 several miles east of Laurel.

The carnival features the popular Dirt Road Outlawz band, a petting zoo, duck train, bounce house, hayrides, dunking booth, pony rides, craft and food vendors and upward of 39 games.

About three dozen of the games are handmade, via the craftsmanship and creativity of Will, his father Bruce Kenney and other skilled helpers.

A new highlight attraction this year: a shooting gallery and virtual reality game, courtesy of Steven James of Precision Paintball in Georgetown.

All games and rides are covered in a $12 wristband that includes the shooting gallery and virtual reality game.

Will Kenney tries out his skill in the virtual reality game.

Prizes have been donated by local businesses, other supporters and family.

In addition, there will be special appearances by the reigning Miss Delaware 2017 Chelsea Bruce, and a well-known recognizable character whose identity is a secret until the day of the event. “Not yet,” said Will.

The fourth Will’s Carnival for a Cause is about family fun, entertainment and raising money for Dysautonomia International and awareness for people who have the autonomic nervous system dysfunction.

“Even though it’s not a rare syndrome, everybody still doesn’t know about it,” said Will.

Two loyal carnival supporters, Crystal Caldwell and Rita Hammond Chandler, have a form of dysautonomia.

“It’s not as rare as you would think,” said Sandy Kenney, Will’s mom. “A lot of people have it, but a lot of people don’t get diagnosed with it because there is not enough research to know what it is.”

The Dirt Road Outlawz band will play from 1–3 p.m. DJ Whisper will be the emcee with musical entertainment throughout the day.

Featured food vendors are Lashers BBQ, with pulled pork platters plus hot dog platters for children, and the Frozen Farmer.

Kyleigh McGee of Millsboro, back, and Izzy Wade of Dagsboro are on a roll in the Pipe Race at last year’s Will’s Carnival for a Cause.

New games this year include Pig Pen, which is similar to Frog Bog using fake mud, and Tractor Climb, a homemade spinoff from the television game show “The Price Is Right.”

Will’s first two carnivals were inspired by Stella Hastings, a little Millsboro girl who has Sturge Weber syndrome. Last year’s event supported Dysautonomia International.

In addition to family and friends, Will, a sophomore at Sussex Central High School, has enlisted volunteer help from the Sussex Central FFA officer team, the Laurel LEO club and a 4-H organization.

Will is hoping to raise $10,000, which was achieved in the second carnival in 2015.

“We want to try to raise awareness and try to grow from last year’s carnival and get more people involved in charity work,” said Will.

For more information visit Will’s Carnival for a Cause Facebook page.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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