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Community puts its best foot forward at Lakes High School

Tami Wennersten Zac Wennersten 3 Mike Wennersten Round Lake Beach attend SpringFest Lakes High School Lake Villa. | Joe Shuman~For

Tami Wennersten, Zac Wennersten, 3, and Mike Wennersten, of Round Lake Beach attend SpringFest at Lakes High School in Lake Villa. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 26, 2013 6:11AM

The SpringFest EXPO and the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast are fast-becoming a regular rite of spring at Lakes High School in Lake Villa, as families enjoy some indoor activities and local businesses tap into a community coming out of winter’s hibernation.

Connie Meadie, executive director of the Lake Villa Township Chamber of Commerce, said they had a good crowd during the two-day event that ended Sunday afternoon. “Everyone is trying to put their best foot forward to the community and it makes visitors stop and think about shopping local,” she said.

Roman Galeczka, 53, of Hainesville came to the pancake breakfast first and then headed over to SpringFest. This is the third year he and his wife, Ingrid, and daughters Erika, 13, and Kristine, 11, have attended both events.

“The first time we came, my wife had heard about free cholesterol and blood-sugar screenings,” he said, and they have been fans ever since.

They did their blood screening before the pancake breakfast that famously features giant pork sausages.

“It’s juicy,” he said of the sausage. His daughter Kristin, liked the sausage, but “I like the strawberry sauce the best,” she said. Her sister, Erika, said, “I like everything. I like that it’s all you can eat.”

“I also like the ice cream, samples, and all the contests you can enter,” said Kristina, referring to the ice cream shop Twisted Cow in Lindenhurst, which gave away a lot of ice cream in two days.

Keeley Weidner of Genoa City was there with two little ones, Jamie, 6, and Blake, 3. Also with them was her brother, David Pemble, who was carrying all the giveaways and twisted balloons they had collected walking through the exhibit area.

“I heard about it through a flyer I got in the mail,” she said. The kids loved the balloons, shaped like ninjas and tierras and anything else you can imagine. “And Jamie got to meet Cinderella. And it was all free,” she exclaimed.

The balloons were being offered Jason Kollum of Park Ridge who has come to SpringFest the last three years and literally had blown up hundreds of balloons over the weekend.

Cinderella was part of the Round Lake Area Park District’s community theater group called Princes Cabaret. The park district had a booth to promote its birthday party packages and other events like the daddy/daughter dance and mom/daughter slumber party.

“It’s been really good,” said Shannon Day, 29, of Antioch who was dressed in full costume along with a group of other girls. “We sing some songs and do a little show,” she said.

The Lions Club pancake breakfast is a huge draw for the event on Sunday and Andy Lentine of Lake Villa, first vice president of the Lake Villa Township Lions Club, said the club served close to 500 breakfasts. The event has been held by this chapter of the Lions Club for 41 years and it also holds a pancake breakfast in the fall at the Lake Villa VFW.

“The highlight of our breakfast is the sausage,” she said.

Imagine a regular breakfast sausage from a restaurant,. Now, think two to three times that size.

“It’s a great fund-raiser for us and we give back to our community,” Lentine said of things such as sending visually impaired children to a summer camp that is tailored to their needs.

This year they added something new. “The strawberry topping is a new tradition,” she said.

Money raised also goes to providing glasses and hearing aids to children in need and the event gets lot of help from other area Lions clubs.

“We get a lot of support from them and then we reciprocate and support their clubs events,” she said.

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