It was a washout, but there might be a silver lining.
Silver Creek Elementary School playground committee’s first major fundraising effort to raise $60,000 for a new playground was a concession booth selling beef on a bun and bottled water at the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival’s fairground site.
Rather than earning much-needed dollars, the Sturgis event left the group close to $2,000 in the hole and with about 60 pounds of beef, 500 buns, cups, plates, napkins and 3,000 bottles of water on their hands.
Only a few hundred of the buns were sold when the committee expected sales to be in the thousands.
“Unfortunately, it rained and people never showed up, and on Saturday, we had like a little hurricane and we had to hold the tent down so it wouldn’t fly away,” says Amanda Crawford, one of the playground committee members, who with a small team of volunteers, put in hundreds of hours in planning and preparation.
She says Sturgis CEO Ray Sasseville tried to swell the number of visitors to the fairground site by opening it up to the public for free on Sunday and by suggesting campers at the Gleneden site visit the downtown one.
“I know others wanted to gang up on Sturgis, but we don’t, we knew it was a risk,” she says, noting that while disappointed, the playground committee is forging ahead. “Now we need to recoup our losses and keep going. All we want is a playground. It’s massive work and who’s gonna do it? There’s just, I think, 10 of us trying to pull it together.”
Students at the Silver Creek school have no playground because the equipment was deemed to be hazardous and was removed from the school yard, leaving the kids only dirt and bark mulch in their play area.
The committee is hoping to raise $60,000 in order to receive matching funds from a group called Let Them Be Kids.
The rainbow on the horizon is the news that Roots and Blues Festival organizers have invited the group to set up an information booth at this year’s event, which runs Aug. 19 to 21.
Hugo Rampen, the festival’s executive director, says the playground committee got the final non-profit spot available.
Thrilled by the news, committee members were busy getting the necessary paperwork filled yesterday.
Because the funding from Let Them Be Kids is available on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the group is planning several other fundraisers as well.
Thursday, July 28, Crawford and Michelle Laventure will be outside Save-On Foods from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where for a minimum $2 donation, customers can put their receipt into a bucket. The winner will be entitled to $100 worth of groceries.
On Saturday, Aug. 6, the committee will hold a bottle drive. Drop you bottles off at Silver Creek School, Bill’s Bottle Depot or put them at the end of your Silver Creek driveway for pick-up that day.
The local chapter of the national Lone Wolves Motorcycle Club hope to raise at least $1,000 in a poker run Saturday, Aug. 13. Cost to participate is $30 and 100 per cent of the profit will go to the playground.
Those who wish to donate right now, can drop into the Silver Creek Store and, for a donation to the playground, inscribe their names on one of the “helping hands” created by Silver Creek students.