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In Ballston Spa's Kelley Park, name-calling is allowed

To guide their brainstorming, FANS enlisted the help of the company Leathers and Associates of Ithaca to help coordinate the design stage.

"This is a group that specializes in custom-built playgrounds," said McFarland. "We want to incorporate historical aspects, such as a replica of the Old Iron Spring as part of the architecture. The design will reflect our unique perspective as Ballstonians."

Fund and friend raising

Keeping the project in the minds of village residents is paramount to the playground's success.

You can help out by donning your most dreadful outfit and attending the "gaudy ball" on Saturday, March 8, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Saratoga-Wilton Elks Club. The event will feature a DJ, appetizers and cash bar. Tickets are $40 per person if paid by March 1; $45 per person at the door.

"The idea is to come dressed in tacky formal wear," said McFarland. "Think bridesmaids gowns and leisure suits."

There's also a picket fence campaign offering people a way to be a permanent part of the playground by buying a picket for $60 (or $50 each for two or more stakes) for fencing placed around the play gear. All purchased pickets will be stamped with the name of the sponsoring family or group.

The Ballston Spa House and Garden Club also participated in a raffle this month that served as a fundraiser slated to raise $10,000. Raffle items were selected to reflect the work of the garden club, including gift certificates to Balet Flowers and Dehn's Flowers, and eight hours of custom garden design by Fern Hill Garden and Design.

"The odds of winning are very high, since only 50 tickets were sold at $20 each," said Mary Colby, president of the club.

Colby said the club was selling tickets to show their support of FANS rather than making a monetary donation.

"We're a small organization, and our members are on the elderly side, so we don't have the funds to actually make a contribution," said Colby. "But we're devoted to civic activities, and this playground project is something everyone supports."

FANS is always looking for donations and volunteers to pitch in with the building project this spring. For more information on the playground project and FANS, check out the Web site at www.fansofballstonspa.org.""

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