When you picture an auto auction, thoughts come to mind of cars driving through a staging bay as bidders nod or signal at the vehicle of their choice.  But for one glorious afternoon, the auto auction garage at Manheim Tampa became a place of obstacle courses, games of chance, food vendors, music, balloon animals, face painters, and even a dunk tank!  Our children were treated to fun and games exclusively for them as Manheim employees hosted a carnival the likes of which our kids had never seen.  Children wearing balloon crowns and sporting cat faces or Spiderman masks navigated the massive garage as they participated in ring toss, Plinko, Bozo Buckets, and other games of chance.  And what makes games of chance so fun?  Prizes, of course!  The children collected armfuls of prizes as they visited each station, then stuffed them neatly into their own bags to keep and take home.

Manheim Tampa’s HR Manager Heather Sauls began planning the event months earlier, creating a competition between Manheim employees to come up with the best game, with points given for originality and creativity.  This isn’t the first time Manheim employees have created great success because of a little fun competition; last year a food drive resulted in a giant wagon sculpture of the A Kid’s Place logo, created out of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese boxes and Ramen noodle packets.  Clearly, competition is a driving force for these generous, fun-loving employees!

As the auction garage filled with balloons and music, the children began arriving and had a hard time deciding where to start.  At one point, it was difficult to decipher the adults from the children as even the “young at heart” lost themselves in the festive atmosphere.  Our own houseparent Mr. Phill gamely took his turn in the dunk tank and cheerfully poked fun at anyone who missed a chance to dunk him.  It ended up being a wet ride home for him, but you just can’t put a price tag on seeing your house parent splash into a tank of cold water!

Manheim employees, you are the best children-at-heart hosts and clearly know how to throw a party!  Our children are still talking about it and playing with their bags of prizes; we can’t thank you enough for adapting your auction bays into a one-of-a-kind carnival and creating an afternoon of memories for our kids!

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