News Column

Optimist Club raises funds by selling concessions at Redlands Bowl

August 11, 2014

By Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts, Calif.

Aug. 11--REDLANDS -- The Optimist Club is gearing up for its final days of concessions during this season of the Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival.

With only four performances left, the service club is looking to bring in extra funds to help with its various community efforts.

Popcorn, Nathan's hot dogs and candy are just a few examples of items up for grabs at each Bowl performance. All proceeds go back to the community -- 50 percent to the Redlands Community Music Association and 50 percent toward the club's various efforts.

While the group missed out on one of its biggest nights raising money after the Aug. 1 performance of "Hairspray" was rained out, the club is hopeful the final performances of the season bring in some much needed dollars.

"We offer a nice selection of things, and people seem to appreciate it," said Redlands Optimist Club President Bill Jury.

The club has a long history with the summer musical series. It started out selling sodas on a card table, said Jury. Today, the club has a pop-up stand modeled after the Mission Gables House next to the Bowl.

"There's a lot more room. And we've got experienced people there who know what they are doing," Jury said.

It takes more than a dozen volunteers to handle concessions nightly, but the music festival is such a popular event, Optimist members are more than willing to step up to the plate.

"We do it because it gives us the opportunity to be out in the public by doing a service for (them) and helping the Bowl as well," said Optimist member and Richard Pennington. "It's a fun environment, and plus, we give great customer service and good food."

Concessions at the Bowl bring in much-needed funds for both organizations, but the Optimist Club's biggest fundraising efforts are its annual Car Show at Sylvan Park and the Oktoberfest celebration scheduled for Sept. 20 at the park.

Proceeds from the club's fundraising efforts go to help fund scholarships, community sponsorships and the annual Optimist Games.

The club couldn't do it without the generosity of those who open up their wallets.

"We have to raise a lot of money to do what we do ... and we have a great community who supports us," Jury said.

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Source: Redlands Daily Facts (CA)

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