EAST MANATEE -- Maybe it was the rainbow colored fright wig, the mismatched socks pulled up to his knees and the flowery blue shorts Principal Jim Mennes was wearing.
When he paused from getting soaked by green slime Friday to ask the registrar a question, she didn't respond with her usual seriousness.
That was just the point.
The Western Round Up-themed walkathon at Freedom Elementary School was designed to reward students for raising $14,000 for school needs.
Payback for the kids was the offer to douse Mennes, Assistant Principal Laura Campbell and a few brave teachers with 75 gallons of slime, made of pistachio pudding, corn starch and water. One cup at a time.
Since it was the students who were raising the money, they were offered their choice of rewards. It could have been a movie, or some other sedate activity.
Nah, students wanted to do the slime thing. They did, grade by grade,
all morning long.
Such tempting targets. Campbell came up with the idea of dressing as a rodeo clown. She dressed the part with a tutu worn over yellow and purple tights and blue star makeup over one eye.
Guidance counselor Sherri Brunner, who has been with the school since it opened, played her part in a cowboy hat by corralling and organizing the students as they gleefully marched up to the slime vat.
Would she submit to a sliming?
"I am ready for it, if need be," she said.
"It's nice to have something like this with everything else happening that is so heavy," Brunner said. "It's nice to have a little fun time with the kids."
Mennes agreed: "If we are going to let our guard down, this is the day to do it. This is what the kids are going to remember."
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.