8th annual Vineval is Aug. 16

Jul 16, 2014
Photo by: Donated Ed Gentry and a Central Elementary student show off one of Gentry’s balloon creations at last year’s Vineival. He’ll be making balloon shapes alongside his father, Ernie Gentry, at the eighth annual Vineval on Aug. 16 at Vine of the Mountain in Frog Level.

Any Haywood County resident who’s attended a large gathering of school-age children in recent years has probably noticed a man named Mr. Gentry folding balloons.

Next month, Central Elementary School students and their families will have the opportunity to experience a first when two Gentrys will be crafting balloons at the eighth annual Vineival on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Vine of the Mountains in Frog Level. Ernie Gentry and his son, Ed, each learned the skill independently, each has a different style and they’ve never engaged in their hobby/craft at the same public event before.

“It’s not like I learned this from my father … I think it’s just in my DNA, and it’s in his,” said Ed, who specializes in creating intricate shapes, characters and animals.

He taught himself how to shape balloons for a summer mission trip to India when he was at in college.

Like his son, Ernie learned the craft as a way of reaching out to kids on mission trips. The elder Gentry has done mission work in the Balkans and North Balkans in recent years, and some of his biggest hits with kids are water yo-yos and rocket balloons.

“I love the Vineival, and I would love to see it become something that we do corporately, by the church as a whole,” Ed said. “Why can’t every school in Haywood County be adopted by a church? That would be great, wouldn’t it?”

The Gentrys will have plenty of students lined up for their booths at the Vineival, which provides an afternoon of free fun and food. All Central Elementary students who sign up in advance will receive a backpack and all the school supplies they need to start the school year.

“Central students don’t want to miss out on this fun day,” said Wende Goode, The Vine’s outreach coordinator and founder of the Vineival. “We’ll have all kinds of games and crafts. The average cost of a bag filled with school supplies is $40 this year, so we truly hope this gift will help every family who attends.”

Another first for the annual event is that a troop of Girl Scouts who attend Central will be holding a doll tea party as a fundraiser to help purchase some of the school supplies.

More information about that event is on Facebook.

Parents of students who have not signed up for the event can call Goode at 452-2771.