HARRISVILLE — A fundraiser dinner for the newly formed Alcona Area Middle/High School cross country skiing club is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Alcona Brew Haus in Harrisville.
Restaurant owner Sandy Arens said that members of the newly formed team will be at the dinner to help serve, as well as inform the public about the new club during the dinner, which is slate to be held from 3:30-8 pm at the restaurant, located at 676 N US-23 in Harrisville.
She said a portion of the profits generated during the dinner will be donated to the ski club.
Arens said part of the reason she decided to hold the fundraiser in partnership with the club is because she has many kids of her own, and she likes to support the school system in Alcona County. She said she’s offered her restaurant as a venue for events in the past and said the club advisor reached out to her about holding the event.
“I asked them to bring six people from the group so they could help with the event,” she said. “I know there is a huge need in the community (to support the school) and this is a way to help and give back to the community,” she said.
The Alcona Brew House was newly opened in 2019 after more than a year of renovations. The building was originally built in the early 20th century, and residents would have known the venue as Muehlbeck’s, a German food restaurant, Arens said.
In addition to serving 14 different microbrewed beers, she said a lot of the menu caters to individuals with special dietary needs, such as those who have food allergies or stick to a vegan diet.
“We have no peanuts, tree nuts or shellfish,” she said. “We do a lot of dishes that are for people who are sensitive to food allergies or people who may be vegan.”
Arens said the event will be for dine-in only. More information about the restaurant, including their full beer and food menus, can be found by calling 989 724-6338 or visiting their website at AlconaBrew.com.
Sarah Hechlik, an Alcona High School English teacher is an avid cross country skier and the club’s advisor. She said the club was created to give something for Alcona students to do in the winter, and to use a new piece of property behind the high school that was aquired by the district recently. She said that 40 acres of land was recently added to the school’s property behind the school, and trails were cut through the woods for use by the school’s cross country running team, and the public.
Hechlik said that she and Alcona Schools Superintendent Dan O’Conner, as well as students, applied for a $2,500 grant from the Northeastern Michigan Youth Council, and the district was awarded the funding.
She said the club was able to purchase new cross country skiing equipment for 10 students (three more have joined the club, but have their own equipment) and they have been using the newly blazed trails behind the school to practice skilling and learn how to use the equipment on the snow.
According to Hechlik, a field trip to the Corsair Ski Trails in Iosco County for the club, giving the new skiing group a chance to try out an area that has been frequented by cross country ski enthusiasts for decades.
Hechlik said that they plan to continue the club for next year, and would like to use any fundraising money to purchase more equipment for students who would like to join, or get winter gear, such as hats and hoodies, for the members of the club .
The ski sets are given to the students, so that they can use them for the rest of their lives, Hechlik said. She said the club is accepting donations of new ski equipment that is modern, or very lightly used modern equipment.