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North Hudson Pepper Festival gives back more than $26,000

Members of the Pepper Fest Board of Directors for 2014 are, front from left, Dan Ortner, treasurer; Eric Anderson, board member; Ryan Copeland, board member; Dianne Sparstad, board member; and Dan Barber, Pepper Fest president; second row, Don Bouzard, board member; Gina Gross, vice president; Vicki Sippel, secretary; and Anita Stilwell, board member. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Margaret A. Ontl) 1 / 2
Fund recipients, front:Jamie Rushton, Jake Peterson (Velvet Peterson, behind), Crowning Achievements; Jessica Zupfer, Community Justice; Dana Krahenbuhl, YAH; Bruce Sommefeld, Troop 213; Barb Chapman, Backpack Program; behind, Bonnie Richert, Kathy Sveiven, Senior Center; Mark Richert, NHPD; Ken and Leaha Merchak and Scott Blauwkamp, Troop 168; Wendy Helm, PTO; Tim Shafer, KC's; Mary Ellner, SOURCE; Marg Wopat, Backpack Program; Mark Van DeSande, EMS chaplains; Bob Larson, Hudson K-9 unit.2 / 2

Sunday night members of the Pepper Fest committee held their annual meeting and allocations banquet at the Valley House. President Dan Barber and Vice President Gina Gross distributed $26,324 to the community.

According to Barber, the gross income this year for the North Hudson three-day community festival was $142,000. However expenses which continue to increase year after year were $113,000.

At the end of the day, the Hudson and North Hudson Community are the winners due to the unique formula used to distribute the funds. There are three ways to earn money from Pepper Fest. The first is working groups which get paid $250 a day to work various areas. The second is groups who split the profits from food and bingo. The third is to apply for a grant.

This year the working groups included: Boy Scout Troop 213 which worked the four days including the north gate and parade earning $1,000; Boy Scout Troop 168 worked the south gate and clean-up for six days for $1,500; Hudson lacrosse team sold tickets for three day for $750; Cub Scout Pack 168 removed trash for three days for $750; Hudson Seniors who sold Pepper Fest merchandise for three days earning $750; St. Croix EMS providing First Responders for three days earned $750; Hudson track team helped with the race, one day for $250.

The groups who split the profits included the Hudson Seniors who provided the desserts earned $80; Knights of Columbus and Heroine Awareness each earned $705.50 for food sales; North Hudson Parent Club earned $4,898 for food sales and Hudson Hockey Association who maintained the bingo game earned $2,585.

The 2013 grants were given to the following Hudson Area Backpack Program, $1,000; North Hudson Police Department, $1,000; Hudson Area Senior Center $1,000; St. Patrick Church of Hudson, $1,000; Community Justice Collaboration Council, $1,500; Crowning Achievements, $500; Youth Action Hudson, $1,000; St. Croix County Chaplin Program, $1,000; The SOURCE, $2,000; and the Hudson Police K-9 unit, $1,000. Grants totaled $11,000.

Representatives from each group were on hand and shared with the audience how the money would be used. From supporting service projects to stocking 143 backpacks with food, buying new kitchen items for a church and camping gear for Scouts, it was clear every penny goes back into the community.