by Jim Boyle
The Elk River Independence Day Committee worked a little magic and raised $1,771 at a pancake breakfast this past Sunday at the Elk River American Legion.
Tom Anderson, an award-winning magician, provided part of the act, while the Elk River American Legion, its Ladies Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion provided the rest with a commitment this week to cover the costs of the breakfast.
Anderson wowed the crowd with his mastery of illusions as he made things disappear and reappear, using white doves, decks of cards and handkerchiefs.
It was the Sons of the American Legion that did the work in the kitchen to make pancakes appear and brown sausages from Elk River Meats. It was the guests who came in support of the fourth annual Elk River Independence Day celebration and fireworks show that made them disappear.
The committee had help getting people there from members of Young Life, Elk River Scouting, Sherburne County Area United Way, Reading Frenzy in Downtown Elk River and Elk River Women of Today. These folks ran flyers to more than 20 church parking lots for each of Sunday’s services.
Every dollar raised at the breakfast will go toward July 4th fireworks display at Lion’s Park in Elk River.
“We wanted to break our record of $2,200 from our first pancake breakfast fireworks fundraiser, but we had some big checks that first year that we didn’t have this year,” Beyer said. “We’re really happy with the turnout this year and people’s willingness to continue to support this great event.”
The committee has banked more than $8,000 so far toward this year’s event and has commitments for another for another $9,000 to bring its drive to $16,000.
That puts the group $4,000 to $5,000 shy of its fundraising goal. It has aspirations of putting on another patriotic program capped off by its fourth consecutive $15,000 Independence Day fireworks show by RES Pyrotechnics.
“We want this to be the best event yet for the community,” said Angie Rasmussen, a Central Bank employee and member of the committee.
The committee continues to reach out to individual citizens, community organizations and the business community to reach its goal.
The committee will need to put in its fireworks order soon, so the next couple weeks will be critical to the drive’s success, said Tanna Houlton, the treasurer of the Independence Day Committee.
A successful breakfast was, too.
Some children came in with money of their own to pay for donations for the breakfast.
One boy convinced his mother to go quickly after finding out what the flyer tucked under their car windshield was all about.
When his mother told him it was to raise money for the Fourth of July and the fireworks, the boy replied: “Well, we have to go.”
They and many others came and stayed for Anderson’s magic act.
Those that came also signed a card congratulating Elk River High School’s Class of 2013.
The Independence Day Committee plans to pay special attention to preschoolers and graduates at next year’s breakfast.
“It will be bigger and better next year,” said Deb Urista, with Coldwell Banker and the committee.