Doug Pennington, teacher and FFA advisor at Olivet High School, loves to provide opportunities outside the classroom for his students to grow. One of the ways he is able to provide those outside opportunities is through money raised each spring during the annual FFA Toy and Craft Sale.

A tradition in Olivet for more than 10 years, the toy sale returns to the Olivet High School gymnasium on Sunday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“What’s cool is that we’ll have the gym full, usually about 60 tables, with small farm toys and equipment, a little bit of NASCAR … a lot for kids to look at,” Pennington said. “We’ll have about 20 booths for crafts this year. Typically we get about 10.”

This year’s event will also offer increased children’s activities. In addition to staple such as the kiddie pedal pull and face painting, there will be a petting zoo located in the FFA barn. Horse drawn wagon rides will take guests out to the barn, Pennington said.

He said he gets a lot of help organizing the event from students and a number of alumni and community members that return to volunteer their time each year. It was a former student, Leroy Cook and his family, that pushed for the Toy Sale to become a reality more than a decade ago.

“I wanted to see how a couple operated before I decided to go forward with it,” Pennington said. “I don’t like adding an activity unless I know I will have the people to help.”

Since starting, he’s been overwhelmed with support.

“We now have close to 30 parents and alumni that come back to help,” Pennington said.

Money raised from the sale helps send Olivet FFA members to the annual State Convention as well as Leadership Conferences and other FFA opportunities throughout the year.

Money is also raised for the FFA’s senior scholarship fund, which is awarded each year to college-bound seniors. A meat raffle will be held during the event specifically to raise money for the senior scholarship fund. The drawing will take place at 1:30 p.m. on March 23. The grand prize winner will win a quarter beef; second prize is a whole hog and third prize is $100.