On Sunday afternoon, at the end of the Fisherman’s Picnic, as people walk away from the Grand Marais Lions Club information booth where the grand prize drawing is held, nearly everyone is on a cell phone calling a friend or relative to say, “You’re a loser.”
It’s a joke of course, but Fisherman’s Picnic ending with the big drawing that only one person wins does seem a bit anticlimactic. My mom always says the end of Fisherman’s is the end of summer. I don’t agree—I think we have a few more sunny days in store. But it is certainly the beginning of the end of warm days.
This year the finale was a bit more exciting than usual as my former minister and friend EvaLyn Carlson of Grand Marais was the lucky holder of the ticket for the $10,000 grand prize.
My granddaughter RaeAnne could hardly contain herself. She was thrilled that someone she knew won and she ran to where she had last seen EvaLyn to share the happy news. It was fun to get a picture of EvaLyn grinning widely, accepting the “big check” from the Grand Marais Lions.
But then, as it always is on Sunday evening of Fisherman’s Picnic, the party was over. People milled about Harbor Park and strolled down the still blocked off, but now deserted streets. A few people wandered over to the American Legion bingo tent for a last game or two, but that is about all that is going on.
It seems as if there should be something more. As I joined the wandering “losers” of Fisherman’s Picnic this year, I thought it would be nice if the Grand Marais Lions had one more musical act. I wished the stage wasn’t as forlorn as the streets. It would be cheerier if a band offered a last bit of music outdoors. It could be a nice and mellow group, playing some soothing songs to send people on their way.
I hesitate to make the suggestion to the Lions Club though. By Sunday afternoon, the Lions that have organized parades, softball tournaments and minnow races, erected kiddie rides, gathered prizes, listened to complaints, sold raffle tickets, given directions to vendors, fried fishburgers, supervised log sawing, found lost children, lined up bands, and so much more are frankly, exhausted.
I’m exhausted just trying to cover it all.
And the Lions are still not done. They have a lot more to do. They have to clean up and haul away the fishburger stand. They have to dismantle the stage and ticket-selling tents and tables. They have to organize the over 100 raffle prizes for distribution. They have to take down the kiddie rides. And they have to deal with News-Herald staff bugging them for results of all the various contests that took place over the weekend.
It takes several days to get everything cleaned up and put away. And then the planning starts all over again for the next Fisherman’s Picnic.
Why do they do it all? I think it is because the Lions are doing a lot more than throwing a great party. Although the Fisherman’s Picnic itself is a great benefit to the community, bringing hundreds of visitors to Cook County year after year, the organization does a great deal more.
The Lions serve our community in myriad ways— giving to youth through scholarships to local graduates, supporting school activities like Knowledge Bowl and Robotics, and contributing to improvements of the baseball field. They support the community’s health through support of vision screenings and the donation of glucometers to our clinic. They’ve contributed to projects for the elderly, like the walkway between Sawtooth Ridges Senior Apartments and the hospital. And they’ve worked to preserve our community’s history with donations to projects like the restoration of the Bally Blacksmith Shop.
We are all winners just having a strong Lions Club group in our community.
So, as the Superior Lumber & Sports ad declared last week, “Hey! If you see a Lion or Lioness in the street, thank them!”
Better yet, join them!
Keep doing good deeds long enough, and you’ll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself.