GENOA CITY – After a year hiatus, a scaled-back version of Lions Days will return to the village.
Last spring, organizers announced the cancellation of the three-day summer festival and fundraiser that featured live music, a fishing derby, a parade and more.
The Genoa City Lions Club, which organized the yearly festival, said the event was canceled because of a decline in both the club’s membership and the festival’s attendance. In past years, the event helped raise thousands of dollars.
“The previous two years, we actually lost money — both years,” Genoa City Lions Club member Bill Thornburgh said. “Last year, we canceled it because we didn’t know what we wanted to do.”
This year, on Aug. 1-2, the club will host bingo and provide food and drinks.
“We’re going to see if people will at least come for that,” Thornburgh said. “That may grow from bingo back into something else, but we don’t know.”
Village president Bill Antti thinks that it is great that they are trying something new and that it will help the village.
“It is good for the village to have things going on,” Antti said. “I think a couple of people attended it in the park when they attended during Genoa City Lions Days, and it was pretty popular then.”
Thornburgh said the group focused on bingo because it was a popular attraction.
“At 9 p.m. when the band started playing, there were about 50 people out front to watch the band, and I had about 120 people playing bingo,” Thornburgh said.”
Rhonda Keenan, owner of 332 Fellows Bar and Grill, thinks that the Bingo Days will attract not just people from Genoa City, but from out of town as well.
“I definitely think that it will bring people to the area because of the bingo,” Keenan said. “We have had people from Fox Lake and Antioch would stop here and go to the park, or just come up here for the bingo.”
The Genoa City Lions Club holds bingo events at the bar twice a month. The bingo nights typically draw 30 to 80 people.
“I think that they will get more people in terms of families and groups of people to do it in terms of when it is at the park,” Keenan said.
The Lions Club, which formed in 1960, organized and ran the festival to raise money for community improvement work.
The club refurbished a pair of bridges that cross the Nippersink Creek in Veterans Park on Highway H. The club also has helped build and maintain the playground, skate park and pavilion in that same area.
“They have done projects within the village, and they have done things to improve the village,” Antti said of the impact the Lions Club has had.
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