More than 200 people enjoyed a barbecue lunch and lots of contests Monday at Azalea Park during a fundraiser for the proposed aquatic center.
“It was a good turnout for a new nonprofit,” said organizer Juliane Leighton. “For us, a lot of it was building name recognition in the community.”
The event was billed as the Family Fourth of July Barbecue and Field Day hosted by Friends of the Brookings Harbor Aquatic Center.
Steve Manion was one of the day’s big winners, walking off with the grand prize in the best pie contest. He also won the nut pie category and received honorable mention for most original pie.
Besides showcasing the talents of 11 outstanding chefs who entered the contest, the pies brought in significant money from a raffle.
The most sought-after pie was a rhubarb and strawberry concoction by Brookings resident Sue Smith. A woman who asked to remain anonymous paid $135 for the tasty treat.
“That’s awesome,” said Smith. “I’m glad because the aquatic center would be great to have.”
Her husband Jason made the initial bid of $50 and later upped the ante by bidding $130.
Smith also received honorable mention in categories for closest to grandmother’s pies and best looking pie.
Judges for the best pie contest were Curry County Commissioners David Itzen, George Rhodes and Bill Waddle along with Les Cohen, Jeff Burke, John Jacobson and Dale Wells.
Tug-of-war was another featured event. There were categories for children, high school students and adults. The Tree Tuggers consisting of Tiffany Hicks, Paul Hicks, Darryn Ballance, Britt Ballance, Natalie Streeter and Manion won the adult competition.
Leighton said the nonprofit made a total of $3,500 from a variety of sources during the day after expenses were paid. The money will be used to help pay for a feasibility study of the aquatic center.
The barbecue lunch helped boost proceeds. The meal cost $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for those 12 and younger .
The donation was a bargain for the choice of a hamburger, hot dog or veggie burger along with potato salad, watermelon and bottle of water. A total of 280 lunch tickets were sold, although Leighton said some people purchased a ticket to support the project but didn’t show up on Monday.
The festivities officially kicked off at noon when Cy Vandermeer sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Afternoon activities included three-legged races, sack races and a tug-o-war for all age groups.
Lots of soap bubbles floated in the air throughout the day. Melody Wells, operating a sales booth for the nonprofit, said bottles of bubbles for 50 cents were a big hit. Red, white and blue Styrofoam gliders for $1 also were popular.
“It’s been very successful,” Wells said. “People have been very supportive.”Organizers Leighton, Chuck Weller and Ron Griswold kept busy all afternoon making sure things ran smoothly. Griswold announced the field events with special enthusiasm, occasionally injecting some humor to keep people entertained.
Those who came to support the aquatic center pointed to many benefits it would provide.
“It would save gas and preserve the environment because people wouldn’t have to go to Crescent City (to swim indoors) 10 months a year,” said Steve Braun. “It’s a great cause.”