For the first time, the North Fort Myers Elk's Lodge 2742 will hold a three-day event open to the public, with numerous activities over Father's Day weekend.
Summer Fest at the Elks will be held Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19.
The goal is to provide a community fun day, and to introduce others to the organization's charitable work.
Exalted Ruler Judy Hanson, right, with past and present Ladies of the Elks members and
volunteers Sandra DeBruyn, Sue Walters, Edie Long and Peggy Hosp at the tent where clothes, books, shoes and other items are given to homeless veterans each Tuesday, along with a meal.
There will be a car show, a bike night, a flea market, a Father's Day breakfast and a membership drive.
There will be a Bike Night Friday, June 17, from 6 to 10 p.m.; a Car Show & Flea Market Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and a Father's Day Breakfast Sunday, June 19, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The breakfast is $5 all you can eat, with Elk member fathers eating free with a membership card.
Who: North Fort Myers
Elks Lodge 2742
What: Summer Fest
When: Friday June 17-19
Bike Night Friday, June 17, 6 to
10 p.m.; Car Show & Flea
Market Saturday, June 18, 10
a.m. to 4 p.m.; Father's Day
Breakfast, Sunday, June 19, 8
a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: 2163 Twin Brooks Road,
North Fort Myers
Cost: Free for all, but $5 for break
Organizers are now looking for participants - those who want to take part in the car show, bike night or flea market, and asking the community to mark the dates on their calendars to attend the events.
Judy Hanson is the exalted ruler of the lodge.
"We have gone to the county to ask for a special three-day open house permit," she said. "This allows us to welcome in the public over the Summer Fest.
"It starts with the Bike Night Friday, and you don't have to have a motorcycle to come. The Elk Riders USA will be here, and there will be lots of fun and music. We're also serving wings and things."
All bike riders are welcome.
"On Saturday, we are having the big car show featuring classic rods, custom and antique cars," she added.
If you want to registered be part of the show, the for car entries is $10 fee.
"But there will be prizes and more," Hanson said.
"Also, in conjunction with the car show, there will be a flea market. You can register to sell or just come in and buy or browse."
Vendors are asked to call to register, too.
The Elks members want to share their numerous charitable activities with the public.
"The Drug Awareness Trailer will be here," Hanson said. "The Drug Awareness Program is through Elks National Foundation."
Local member Thelma Wright-Smith is state chairman for the program, and an avid worker with local school children on drug awareness campaign projects. John Katzenburger is chairman of the local project at the lodge.
For the car show, trustee Larry Carie has brought in his son, Scott, as an advisor.
"Scott is flying in from Michigan to do this special favor for us," said Hanson. He has had experience organizing car shows and helping the local group with ideas and what needs to be done.
He also gets to be with dad on Father's Day.
Carie is the chairman of the Elk's Veterans Committee - an active group there.
Each Tuesday, homeless veterans are invited to the lodge for a meal, and to get clothing and essentials to make their lives easier. Many times, bicycles are distributed to them, to help them get to a job.
Lonnie Stoffer is a representative from Disabled American Veterans.
"I'm a veteran and have worked with many homeless veterans in Daytona and other areas before moving here," he said. "They (the Elks) do a wonderful job supporting them. Their first concern is for veterans, and also for anyone in the community that needs help."
Many charitable endeavors will benefit from the Summer Fest event. Besides the weekly veterans day, they support other needed charities.
"We also support the Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla, Fla.," said Hanson. "This camp is open to children and grandchildren of the Elks members, and other children who are in need of a camping experience."
It also supports Elks Children's Therapy Services.
"This is a mobile therapy unit that provides physical and occupational therapy to those in need with absolutely no money taken from the families," she said.
There will also be a membership drive during the event. Fraternal organizations are down in membership because of the nature of the times, said Hanson.
"It is the lifestyles we live, everyone is so busy. These groups like ours were popular after World Ware II when people wanted to find a social function with people with like interests."
Younger people today, she said, are on social networks - have their children jobs and other activities.
What the Elks offers is a one-on-one social aspect with the ability to promote charity work.
To be a member, you need to be over 21 years of age, an American citizen, and believe in God, she said. You also should be sponsored an Elk member, but many will be on hand to sponsor new members.
The Ladies of the Elks Auxiliary members and volunteers are looking forward to the event, including past and present Ladies of the Elks officers and volunteers Sandra DeBruyn, Sue Walters, Edie Long and Peggy Hosp.
In 1996, women could join the Elks for the first time.
"Many, including these auxiliary members, became members," said Hanson.
The Elks has a rich history.
"The Elks are the second largest producer of scholarships in the United States," she said. "The federal government is the only organization that gives more scholarships than the Elks."
The Elks also started Flag Day and the GI Bill, and was the first to have a veteran's hospital.
The North Fort Myers Elks Lodge is located at 2163 Twin Brooks Road in North Fort Myers, a small side street just northeast of River Bend Golf Club on Bayshore Road.
For information and registration for events, call 731-6100.
For fun, food and entertainment, mark your calendars for the events.
"There is a place for everyone here - young and old," Hanson said. "We pride ourselves on being the friendliest lodge in the district - and comfort here is what we like to bring to the table."