By Bob Balgemann


LOVES PARK – Summer came back with a vengeance the weekend of July 17-18, but the 90-degree temperatures didn’t turn many away from the 44th annual Brat Days sponsored by the Alpine Kiwanis Club.

That was good news for 40 Parks and Rockford-area, non-profit organizations that benefit from sales of brats, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks at various locations in this area.

Last year the club distributed $88,000 in proceeds from the sales, including a $1,000 scholarship to each of 15 college-bound Harlem High School graduates.

One of the organizational beneficiaries, Mosaic, was represented by more than 100 volunteer at the different sites, including the one in the parking lot outside Schnucks grocery at Harlem and Alpine roads.

“We work more than 100 shifts each day,” said Linda Wennmacher, associate director of Mosaic’s Rockford office. “We are one of the largest volunteer groups out here and we’re happy to give back to the community that gives to us.”

The number 100 is significant for the Omaha, Neb.-based organization that serves the developmentally disabled. That’s because it now is 102 years old, having been formed by 50 Lutherans in who saw a need and tried to fill it.

What evolved from that heart-felt mission was people in need being served by farmers’ wives in the Omaha area. Wennmacher said the organization is in 33 states and has a presence internationally as well.

There currently are 84 adults residing in the Rockford group home.

Rockford MELD, a teen parenting organization, also had volunteers at Brat Days. Among the others were American Red Cross, Salvation Army, RAMP, Goldie Floberg and Harlem High School Key Club.

On July 16, football players from Auburn and Rockford East high schools helped set up tables, chairs and tents for the event.

Karen Tilly, director of development for MELD, said the non-profit organizations that benefit from Brat Days are located in Winnebago and Boone counties.

Alpine Kiwanis had 130 members, she said, with many of them working at the annual event.

Brat Days

Bob Balgemann photo

A few of the many people who turned out Friday for Alpine Kiwanis Club’s annual Brat Days are pictured above in the parking lot at Schnucks grocery, Harlem and Alpine roads in Loves Park.

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