Cornyval: an annual festival in Helotes, TX

This weekend I took the kids to Cornyval, an annual festival in Helotes that began in 1966. Fortunately for us, the big thunderstorm we had the night before cleared out and though the ground was a bit muddy, we had great weather. This year Cornyval was held from May 2nd- May 5th. Admission was $10 a person (Sunday was free admission), but children under 12 were free all weekend. Each day had special prices for carnival rides. Thursday was $20 wristbands for unlimited rides. Friday was $1 day (all rides were $1). Saturday was 2 for 1 rides. Sunday was $20 wristbands. We went Saturday, and arrived just after the parade ended but before the crowds hit the festival. Additional information can be found at https://cornyval.org/

Entrance to Cornyval

Before we spent time on the carnival rides, we roamed the grounds to check out the various vendors and food stands. We just wanted to get an idea of what to plan for our lunch and see if there was anything of interest to buy. I did find things that I liked, but I was sticking to my budget for the weekend.

Some of the booths we found were Scentsy candles, engraved wooden cutting boards, hats, jewelry, toe rings, clothes, face painting, henna tattoos, petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Some of these vendors are also found at the Helotes Market that is held the first Saturday of each month.

We decided to hit the rides before getting food (and boy am I glad we waited…..). The majority of the rides are designed for young children. This makes Cornyval a perfect place for families with toddlers/preschoolers/young elementary students. I loved the fact that they had a Mini Himalaya for younger kids (I love the regular Himalaya ride).


The Mini Himalaya

There are a few rides that older children and teens would enjoy. The first ride we did was the Ferris Wheel. The four of us (the kids, Grace’s friend, and me) were able to ride in one car for the ride. This ride was pretty high up, which gave me the chance to get some pictures of the grounds from way up high. I actually enjoyed this ride. I wish it could have been a little longer. We went around 2 times before getting off. However, I am VERY glad we did not stop at the very top. I am not so sure I would have enjoyed that too much.

After the Ferris Wheel, I convinced Matthew to go on the Beach Party ride. He had been on this ride when we were at the Strawberry Festival, but didn’t enjoy it much. I figure it was because he was on the ride by himself. Anyways, the four of us finally got on this vomit inducing ride. I am not sure what on earth I was thinking when I convinced Matthew to go on it. It started off fun. But then it got a little too crazy for my liking. There was a lot of up and down, spinning, and turning. The spinning was FAST (fast enough to make your face feel as though it is being pulled back). If this thing had gone on any longer, I think I would have hurled. By the time the ride ended, my world was spinning. I literally had to sit in our cart for a few minutes to get my bearings again, get my stomach to settle down, and to keep myself from losing my breakfast. I kid you not, it took most of the day for me to begin to feel normal again.

Beach Party

After that ride, I was DONE with joining the kids on any other rides. Fortunately, the few other older kid rides that were available, Matthew didn’t feel like riding. Instead, he went through the Magic Maze with Caitlyn and Big Bamboo with Grace.

After rides we headed over for food. Besides the regular food one can find at a carnival, there were plenty of food booths from local vendors. We decided to get our lunch for one of them. Picking from chicken on a stick, turkey legs, steak kabobs, fajitas, sausage, chicken and waffles, fruit, fried donut holes, and much more, we had a big decision to make. I wound up getting a steak kabob that I shared with Matthew. Grace got chicken and waffles (no surprise there). Caitlyn got sausage with sauerkraut. We all got some amazing fruit cups. The fruit was fresh and sweet! Exactly what we needed. We enjoyed our food under the covered pavilion listening to live music. And of course, we had to get some kettle corn to take home.

We finished up our day watching pig races. The host of the races was quite humorous. Watching these little pigs race around the “track” to get an Oreo at the end was fun to watch. We watched 3 different races, but not once did the pigs our section was supposed to cheer for win.

Cornyval was a fun way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. We didn’t attend all events at the festival. There is a rodeo each night, a 5K run, a pageant, mutton bustin, live music, and more. Plus there is the parade on Saturday. I am sure that in the evenings Cornyval is much more crowded. It is just large enough to be able to spend a couple of hours and enjoy different events, but just small enough to be able to have your fun and head home knowing you still have time to do other things. Be sure to check out Cornyval next year!

Hanging out on the Ferris Wheel

Pine Cove: A camp for all ages

This past week I attended the annual Pine Cove trip in Columbus, TX with our 6th grade students. I don’t typically go on this trip since I am a 5th grade homeroom teacher, but I went this year since our one of our 6th grade teachers has a little baby at home now. This was a pretty fun experience for me, especially since I didn’t attend camps when I was younger.

This camp does educational camps during the school year for schools and in the summer they offer Christ-centered summer camps for elementary, middle school, high school, and families. There are 3 locations for Pine Cove: Columbus, TX, Tyler, TX, and Clemson, SC. Of course the one in Columbus is the closest to San Antonio. And don’t forget, there is Buc-ee’s to stop at along the way to camp and back home.

If you chose to do the family camp, this really would be the one vacation the family would probably take during the year. Family camp begins at $3,656 for the week for the family. The week long camps for elementary, middle school, and high school is $1049 for the week. They do offer payment plans.

The accommodations and activities that are offered at the camp make for a great experience. Family camp includes a family cabin (with a/c), all meals, structured time as a family, free time as a family, alone time for moms and dads, speaker sessions, Bible studies, family worship, and theme nights. Camp counselors are available to help keep an eye on the kids.

For the youth/children’s camps, cabins are also air conditioned and there is a counselor connected to the cabins. These camps have all meals provided, structure time, free time, worship, Bible studies, and theme nights.

The activities at each camp vary according to age appropriateness. But some of the activities include pools, water slides, lazy rivers, ziplines, ropes courses, wakeboarding, go-carts, rockwalls, barn swings, horseback riding, sports courts, and more. When kids leave camp, they will have had an amazing time and will beg to go back.

We spent just 2 1/2 days at camp for the educational camps. These are also Christ-centered camps, however they are camps available to public schools and are adjusted to meet their needs. During the 2 1/2 days we were at camp, we had all meals provided, air-conditioned cabins, free time, and structured times. Our students spent time in the critter class where they learned about various snakes, reptiles, birds, and wallabies. Pody, the parrot was a favorite among the students and adults. He could say words like “hello”, “hola”, “fortnight”, “good-bye”, and he would laugh at you.

Our students also spent some time canoeing. Watching a bunch of 6th graders trying to work together to canoe around the lake was quite entertaining. Some did very well after they finally figured it out, others just could not get the hang of it.

Faces blacked out for privacy.

A favorite activity of the kids was the barn swing. The goal of the swing is to be able to get yourself back up to the platform. Only a couple of students were able to do this. After I got over my fear, I actually found that the barn swing was quite fun.

My first time on the Barn Swing. Took a little bit of courage for me to finally jump off.
Second time on the Barn Swing. No problem getting off this time!

The one thing that took massive begging and prompting and deal making from my students was the zipline. It took the promise of not putting my Expo markers together the rest of the year to finally get me up there. I truly hate grabbing a marker and finding that someone has attached them all together like a long stick. Then I have to pull them apart to get the color I want. Just a pet peeve of being a teacher, I guess. So anyway, that promise was made and the promise of two of the boys to do the zipline with me so that I wouldn’t go alone. When you hear “Please, Mrs. Wimer” over and over again, you tend to give in. So I faced one of my biggest fears and did the zipline. Can’t say that I will do it again, but at least I tried.

Don’t mind the screams, I freak even doing ropes courses at Main Event.

So if you are interested in family/youth camps and like the different activities that can be found at them, Pine Cove is the place to go. We left exhausted, but it was a fun time! Visit www.pinecove.com for more information and to schedule your trip!