The Mustang Youth Team, back row from left to right: Noah Guibault, Zane Guibault, Jose Jimenez, Conner Fecht, Hunter Nolf and Madyson Grenz. Front row: Anna Happy, Lexie Portillo, Miya Gallagher, Emma Blondheim and Lily Wagner. Not pictured: Laura Gomez.
The Mustang Youth Team, back row from left to right: Noah Guibault, Zane Guibault, Jose Jimenez, Conner Fecht, Hunter Nolf and Madyson Grenz. Front row: Anna Happy, Lexie Portillo, Miya Gallagher, Emma Blondheim and Lily Wagner. Not pictured: Laura Gomez.
What images come to mind when you think of autumn? Maybe you picture hayrides, pumpkins, nachos, cotton candy and snow cones. If that’s the case, be sure to attend the Mustang Youth Team’s second annual Fall Carnival at the depot this Sunday from noon until 3 p.m.

Conner Fecht, the MYT treasurer, describes the carnival as “a fun and safe event,” adding that it is drug and alcohol free.

Five dollars buys a wristband that covers the hayride, driven by Jason Coyle. It also purchases pumpkin-decorating, face painting and games galore. You’re on your own for snow cones and cotton candy.

There may be a line at the face painting booth, always a popular activity. This year, the MYT has added a new attraction. They want everyone to bring their four-footed friends.

“We invite people to dress up with their dogs or just bring them and show us their best tricks. We have a prize for first place and a dog cookie treat for all the other participants,” says Tina Gallagher, the deputy director of the Frontier Community Coalition. She started the youth program in the fall of 2019 and has coordinated it ever since through turbulent times.

Membership fluctuates but there are currently 12 team members from grades eight through 10. They meet with Gallagher on Fridays at the depot to brainstorm ways to uplift their schools and town.

According to Anna Happy, the MYT’s mission is to “show youth they can have fun without substances.”

“The MYT provides awareness to youth about being drug-free. We use our voices to speak up about issues that matter to us,” adds Miya Gallagher, the club president.

They also reach out to others. Check out their kindness box in front of the depot, where passersby can help themselves to essentials, no questions asked. The youth group asks the public’s help in keeping the shelves stocked with canned goods.

Throughout the carnival, from noon until 3 p.m., the MYT will host a tri-tip fundraiser for Jeremiah Brinker. He is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

Chef Jacob Gallagher, Tina Gallagher and the youth team will pile the plates with heaping portions of Sunday night dinner, a bargain at $15 a plate.

“We’ll have tables and chairs set up if they’d like to stay and eat, but we’ll put it in a takeout box in case they’d rather take it home,” said Tina Gallagher.

Halloween is coming soon. The money from the $5 wristbands will go toward the youth team’s next project, the spookiest haunted house in Lovelock.