The Group: John J. Flynn Elementary PTO, Burlington, Vt.

The Setting: The return of the town's annual Penny Fair, an event PTO leaders had enjoyed as children. It features a townwide parade; a huge carnival at school with food, games, and prizes; and scores of balloon-toting children.

The Idea: Rent a dunk tank for the carnival. Save time and hassle by asking the fire department to fill it.

What Went Wrong: When the dunking booth was delivered, the children were excited. They couldn't wait to dunk a teacher, a staff member, or better yet, a parent. The fire truck arrived an hour before the fair opened. Firefighters proceeded to fill the tank. But there was a problem—a big problem. Explains Flynn PTO Secretary Colleen Case, "It turns out that if water from a fire truck is not used frequently, the water is not a crystal-clear liquid but rather a rusty brown, smelly fluid that no one would use for anything—except extinguishing a fire!—much less volunteer to get dunked into."

What Happened Next: "Luckily, dunking tanks drain faster than they fill," Case reports.

The Outcome: The tank was refilled using the garden hoses. "Although the water was very cold," says Case, "it was clear, and we were able to fill the tank minutes before the event began."

Notable Quote: Says Case, "We supplied all our volunteer dunkees with hot chocolate, coffee, and warm pizza when they were done."

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