Steak ’N’ Lobster fest raises $12,000 for River Grove Lions Club

Members of the River Grove Lions Club weren’t the only lions on the prowl at the River Grove Lions Club’s third annual Steak ’N’ Lobster fest on Aug. 9.

The fest, which is held at Riverfront Park on Grand Avenue every year, attracted attendees from Schiller Park to Elmwood Park to folks from Crystal Lake.

Diane Hansen of Elmwood Park, a member of the Mont Clare Lions Club, was proud to participate in another one of the Lions Club organization’s successful community events.

“The food is good and the camaraderie is great,” she said.

Hansen added that her and her husband Dave enjoyed coming out to support the River Grove Lions Club whenever they can because of all the support the group has provided for their own chapter.

Schiller Park resident Anna Nguyen took her entire family to the Steak ’N’ Lobster fest. She wanted her four children, Tony, Lena, Michelle and Bella Trinh, to have a fun summertime experience.

“It’s nice,” she said. “I really wanted them to see it. They love lobster!”

The Zoleda family from Crystal Lake, who is involved with the Chicago Filipino American Lions Club, attended to show their support for another fellow Chicagoland Lions Club affiliate.

“The cool thing about this fest is that it’s really well organized and there are things for the kids,” Mark Zoleda said.

The national Lions Club organization was originally founded in Chicago by Melvin Jones in 1917 to provide support for members of communities across the United States who were blind and deaf. Since then, it has become one of the largest service groups around the world.

Closer to home, the River Grove Lions Club, which was founded in 1949, is currently the biggest chapter in Cook County.

“We have over 100 members from ages 21 to 92,” River Grove Lions Club President Dave Guerin said. “We have a long track record of service in the town.”

Presale tickets for the steak were $20 and lobsters sold for $30. The day of the fest, steaks were sold for $25 and lobsters for $35. Sides included potatoes, vegetables and ice cream for dessert. Sausages, hamburgers and hot dogs were also sold.

All the food was prepared by Lions members. Guerin said that working the event and cooking the food is a team effort.

“We wanted to make it a premiere event,” Guerin said in regards to the upscale cuisine. “Everybody does a taste or a fest. We wanted to do something different in the area.”

In all, 300 lobsters and 250 steaks sold, and more than 1,000 meals. The Lions club raised an estimated $12,000.

The fest featured activities for kids including face painting and temporary tattoos. There was also a vintage car show and performances by the Harry Stevens Band and Scraps of Brass.

The Steak ’N’ Lobster fest is the biggest fundraiser for the River Grove Lions Club, with proceeds going to community members ranging from cancer patients to natural disaster victims, to helping the deaf and blind. Besides helping those in need, the club also has something else in mind.

“We’re putting the money raised at the Steak ’N’ Lobster fest together for a ground breaking service project in the area,” Guerin said. “We’re still not sure what the project will be.”

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