Track meets can be more than extracurriculars. They can also be sizable charity events.
Schools from neighboring areas allowed their students to visit California High School's Riley Field on Friday for fun and games for the day.
Around 750 children participated in the California Lions Club 33rd annual track meet. Students entered into multiple track and field events and enjoyed a host of concessions offered by the club.
According to Lions Club president Sarah Jones, the large turnout of participants proved to be a success for the organization. She said teachers and family members came to watch participants -- swelling attendance to close to 900 people.
She said extra schools brought in students throughout the day. In addition to participants from California, Jamestown, Clarksburg, St. Andrews, St. Martins, Tipton, Prairie Home, Bunceton and Latham were students from Otterville and Pilot Grove (who attended for the first time).
Jones said she is sure the combined number of participants and attendees at the event raised a sizable amount of funds for the Lions Club. She explained the organization usually averages around $1,500-$2,000, members do not currently have a definitive number. However, they should have an accurate count of funds by their next meeting May 18.
All of the funds came from the concessions stands. With such a high attendance, Jones said members were able to sell large amounts of food, candy and special treats like funnel cakes and hot chocolate. She even said members left during the event to restock after concessions ran out.
She explained the money made at the event will be put back into the school's track and swimming programs. The Lions Club receives assistance from both teams when setting up for the annual event.
Jones said she wants the community and the surrounding schools to know just how important they are to making the annual track and field event happen. She credits volunteers for helping operate events for participants, Sheriff Tony Wheatley for offering assistance to the Lions Club concession stand, C and R Market for managing food orders and club member Don Vanderfeltz for all of his time organizing the track meet.