$230,000 in donations announced at Backwater 'pool party'

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Backwater played their classic party music at a Saturday evening pool party they organized to benefit the Wave of the Future campaign. From left are Steve Dikkers, Scott Fischer and Bruce Bryant. Not pictured are band members Ed Dvorak and Steve Moser. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Thanksgiving weekend was a busy one in Guttenberg, with families gathering to celebrate the holiday, shoppers visiting local merchants, and a large event on Saturday evening at Lakeside Ballroom. Lakeside owners donated the hall for a ‘pool party,’ hosted by the band Backwater and their wives, to benefit the Wave of the Future campaign for a new swimming pool in Guttenberg. The event raised nearly $30,000.

“The thing people don’t realize is that the more we can raise before the bond vote, the less the committee has to ask the city for,” said event organizer Michelle Dikkers. “Pledge totals will help to determine the amount necessary in planning for the bond issue.” Wave of the Future committee members passed out pledge forms, absentee ballots, and even offered voter registration throughout the evening in preparation for the March bond vote. 

Organizer Sara Fischer told Dikkers, “I’m very excited about the new pool. I think it’s something we all need. When I was growing up my dad would shut our cable off the day after school got out and we’d have to find something other to do than be inside. The pool was our life. We would swim from 1-5 p.m., go home for supper, and go back and swim 6-9 p.m. – then get up the next day and do it all over again. We absolutely loved it.”

Others shared similar sentiments throughout the evening. Backwater performed from 6-9 p.m. with frequent breaks to hear from college athletes who used the pool during their childhoods in Guttenberg, event organizers announcing prize giveaways and campaign supporters. Entry to the event was by free-will donation; funds were also raised by the sale of rubber ducks, koozies, and Backwater t-shirts. A silent auction garnered more contributions, and community members were inspired to announce their own donations. 

Bill Tangeman took the stage on behalf of Peoples State Bank to announce the bank’s support. “The pool is a fantastic project that we think will grow the community, keep families here and bring families here. So with that in mind, I’m proud to announce that the directors at Peoples State Bank have pledged a donation toward the fund in the amount of $50,000.”

A gift of $30,000 from an anonymous donor was announced. Pat and Jerry Peck of Guttenberg announced their reasons for making a contribution. “When Jerry and I first moved to town, it had three things: a hospital, a pool and a dance floor. What more could you ask for?” said Pat. 

Wave of the Future committee member MJ Smith stated, “When Andy and I drove in to Guttenberg about 1982, we saw the pool, and we said, ‘This community must care about kids and families, and health and safety.” Her husband, Dr. Andy Smith, added, “I have really enjoyed living in Guttenberg and all the support that has been given to me, so we are going to make a pledge of $150,000.”

The total amount of verbal and written pledges and donations for the project has reached an estimated $630,000. A grant committee continues to work on increasing that amount, and vendors are stepping up to volunteer their services in the construction phase of the project.

Many danced the night away, enjoyed food and drink, and shared the company of old friends who’d returned home for the Thanksgiving holiday – all while supporting the Wave of the Future. 

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