Friday, July 2, 2010

Allenton Lions Club hosts 28th annual jam-packed event
By Sheryl Popp

You might think that the Allenton Lions Club annual classic car and truck show / swap meet & flea market / pancake breakfast event might not garner top attendance when the first Saturday in July falls exactly on July 4. Well, then you and I, and even Gerald Schulz, event co-chairman, would be wrong. "We have a good size crowd every year," he said. "It doesn't seem to matter if it's the fourth." I sat down with Gerald to learn a bit more about the big bash. The Allenton Lions have 52 members. Those on various car show committees start planning at their February meeting. Gerald is on food detail, I learned, and is actually so busy that he only takes brief breaks to quickly tool around the event and check out the crowd and the fun. "I've been a member since 1996," he said. "I've been taking tickets and serving food at the show ever since."

Classic Cars
The car show dates back to the first year after the Allenton Lions Club formed. Event co-chair Al Luedtke remarked in a 2009 TV interview, that the charter members of the club just thought it sounded like a fun thing to do. Each year, he continued, a different car is featured at the show. In the early years, the feature car would be one belonging to a club member. Last year's featured cars were GTOs, and this year it's flat head Fords. That car becomes the symbol for the year's event advertising. Over 400 cars are expected to show up and show off. The Lions award dash plaques to the first 300 cars arriving at the event. All cars must be 25 years or more old. The show is held in Veterans Park in Allenton (at Hwys. 33 and 41), and admittance is only $2.00 for adults. Children under 12 enter free with an adult. Even last minute entrants will be accepted day of show. The fee is $10.00 per vehicle.

Pancakes Galore
Another popular component of the car show is the annual pancake breakfast. It's all you can eat, from 6:30am until 11am. Henneberry Pancakes of Hartford provides sausage and applesauce to accompany their flapjacks, and served over 1,400 folks last year. The fee is $6.00 a person. Other refreshments are available throughout the day, and provided by the Lions. Burgers, cheeseburgers, foot long hot dogs, fries, roasted corn on the cob, ice cream and popcorn are on the menu. Beer, I asked? "Yes, of course," laughed Gerald.

More activities!
I can't figure out how come my shopping ESP hasn't directed me to the car show, because each year there is flea market and swap meet. There are about 100-110 booth spaces available for vendors. The flea market and swap meet, like the car show, are open from 6am until 4pm, rain or shine. "I think it's really nice that there's something for everyone to do," said Gerald. But wait, there's more. At noon, the pedal tractor pull begins. Live music, provided by two acts, Kenny Brandt and Revival, goes on throughout the day. Additionally, there are cash door prizes, a bucket raffle and a Chinese auction. At noon, the Lions will have selected a number of donated raffle prizes to be auctioned off. This list could include such items as fireworks packages, Packer autographed footballs, Bucks and Brewers tickets or hotel getaway stays. The community donates generously to help the Lions make this event a success every year. Three fire departments park cars, businesses donated prizes, cash, time or materials needed.

I looked up a few pertinent facts about Lions. The Lions Clubs were founded in 1917, and today, the International Association of Lions Clubs is the largest service organization in the world. The major focus of Lions fund raising activities is sight conservation. Who has not seen the collection boxes for used eyeglasses, or heard about the Lions camp for blind children in Rosholt, WI? I grew up near there, so I thought it amazing to read that Lions took up this cause after a speech given by Helen Keller at the Lions International Convention of 1925. She challenged the Lions to become "Knights of the Blind." The Allenton Lions support an additional variety of local causes. "All the money we make above expenses goes to various causes and people," explained Gerald. He brought me a list. Forty organizations are on it, and recipients range from fire departments to school districts to youth groups to community medical expenses. And of course, vision projects and the Wisconsin Lions Camp. Speaking of vision-related Lions’ efforts, please bring your used eyeglasses with you to the car show. Also, there will be free eye screening for children at the event. Gerald personally wanted to acknowledge charter members of the club, Ken Goeman, Ken Gross, Harold Krebs, Jim Wiedmeyer and Tom Buckingham. The Allenton Lions also sponsor four blood drives a year. The next is July 12 at the Allenton Town Hall. To learn more about becoming a Lion, call Robert Klockow at 262-673-4834.

I get the idea from Gerald that his wife, Elaine, is a super cook. He brought along a number of her recipes and it was hard to choose among them, but popular vote went with two dessert choices.

Elaine's Pecan Toffee Squares
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 6 oz. pkg. chocolate coated toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 350º Grease a 9x13" pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, margarine and 1 egg. Mix well with pastry blender or fork. Press mixture into bottom of greased pan. Bake for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in med. bowl, combine condensed milk, vanilla & 1 egg. Mix well, stir in toffee bits and pecans. Remove pan from oven, pour filling over warm base. Return to oven. Bake for 22 to 30 minutes, or until filling is set. When cool, cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Elaine's Dream Bars
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbls. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Combine first three ingredients and mix to crumbly mass. Pat lightly into 8x12 shallow baking pan. Bake at 375º for 10 minutes, remove from oven. Combine 1 cup brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, nuts and coconut. Add to sugar-egg mixture. Pour over baked crust and bake 20 minutes at 375º.