MT. VERNON – The Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge 819 will celebrate its 110th anniversary this Saturday with a special ice cream social event.
And while this celebration will not be as large as the 100th anniversary party in 2003, organizers still anticipate a good turnout. The event is open to Elks members, their families, and invited guests.
“We expect a fairly large crowd. It's an ice cream social and an ice cream contest,” said Raymond Baril, secretary of the local Elks Lodge. “It's going to be a fun event and a reminder that we are observing our 110th anniversary. Every 10 years is a milestone.”
The ice cream social will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Lodge, 1107 Jordan St. The event will include a home-made ice cream contest, where the winner will receive $100. Many people who attend will be bringing their own ice cream.
In addition, local musician David Walters will perform at the gathering.
Dave Rakey, leading knight for the local Elks Lodge, said the anniversary is a great time to reflect on how the organization has positively impacted the community.
“We're one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the U.S.,” Rakey said. “We've been active in the community for 110 years and we look forward to staying active in the community. … Our biggest thing is community involvement.”
Among other efforts, the local Elks Lodge funds an annual scholarship program for Rend Lake College. Every year, a male student and a female student are each awarded $1,500 to pursue their education at RLC.
The Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge also recently donated $1,000 to the Toys For Kids program and $1,000 to Christian Social Services, using national Elks funds.
Other groups to receive support from the local Elks Lodge include the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Mt. Vernon Township High School sports programs, AMVETS, the American Legion, and many others.
“We're always looking for new members that want to come and work with us,” Rakey said. “That's what we're all about – getting the community involved through us.”
The local Elks Lodge also operates a restaurant that is open for lunch every day for members and their guests.
For more information, contact the Elks at 244-4885.