As he climbed into the golf cart, 14-year-old Jared Thornton of Carson City looked confident he could navigate the driving course set up in the parking lot of Carson High School on Saturday morning.
Then came the drunk goggles, and with them on, Thornton's confidence level dropped. As he started the course, it looked as if he might do OK, but that didn't last long.
The obstacle course was one of the many events taking place Saturday as part of the Community Awareness Fair. The fair was organized by Carson High students to promote awareness of safe driving and healthy choices.
"To have people come out and have fun while learning about making safe choices, that makes it successful," said Tyler Bourns, one of the fair's organizers.
The event featured a dunk tank, bounce house, basketball game, informational booths and a battle of the bands competition.
There were also representatives from the Nevada Highway Patrol, Carson City Fire Department, Community Council on Youth, Stand Tall Don't Fall and the Carson City Sheriff's Department offering information and exhibits on a variety of topics.
"Anything this high school does like this, the sheriff's office wants to throw both feet in and accept the role we play in the community," said Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong.
Video Production teacher Brian Reedy said having the children participate in every aspect of the fair helps teach them about getting involved.
"These kids wrote the grant and then volunteered to run it. That's how they learn how to run a community-service event, they are doing this for the experience," Reedy said.
The students received a $2,000 grant to produce documentaries and PSAs and run a driver awareness fair. But, what began as a small fair was soon coupled with drug awareness and prevention and became the Community Awareness Fair, encompassing more than100 volunteers, mostly high school students, who worked shifts beginning at 6:30 a.m.
"(An event like this) shows the community what kids can do and what some kids are willing to do to help their community," said 15-year-old Heidi Flansberg, one of the fair's organizers.
With rock music blaring in the background and the taunts from the students perched in the dunk tank, few people witnessed Thornton's attempt on the obstacle course.
He proceeded forward, avoiding the bicycle lane before stopping for the red light. But, there his trouble started as the light turned green and Thornton didn't go. He made the next turn and stopped short of hitting the pedestrian and then the dog in the road.
As he began the final turn, Thornton commented that he had no idea how he was doing, but he soon got an indication. Rounding the final turn, Thornton overcompensated and slammed into the cones.
Overall, Thornton survived his drunk drive and fared better than most. Some hit mock pedestrians, some took out cones and one hit the power generator resting just outside the course.
Patrick Tatro, who helped oversee the course, said, "Most of these kids are freshmen and haven't driven anything before, so this gives them a realization of how much it can affect you."
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.