2017-05-18 / Local News

Thousands raised at Spring Fling


WATKOSKI WATKOSKI When Dale Watkoski of Suttons Bay Township and Grand Rapids took over months ago as chair of the annual Spring Fling Dance/Dinner benefit, his first goal was to spread the word in Leelanau County about the Ed & Irene Fleis Education Fund.

Consider it mission accomplished.

Now it’s time to have fun at the big event, which will be held Saturday evening at the VFW Hall in Lake Leelanau.

“I’ve been getting the awareness out in the county like it’s never been before,” said Watkoski, who along with his wife, Lynne, was appointed by the Education Fund’s Board of Directors to organize one of the scholarship’s two fundraisers.

Watkoski, a second-generation Fleis, is the grandson of the late Ed and Irene Fleis and the son of Fleis sibling Julie.

“The Education Fund is no longer just a thought or a dream of helping people continue their education and achieve future success,” Watkoski said. “The Foundation is making a difference in lives every year.”

The scholarship effort has grown from $2,500 in its first year in 2006 to $45,000 in 2016.

Watkoski has been busy knocking on doors and schools to promote the Spring Fling.

“Lynne and I are excited about the responses from the family scholarship applications to locals who are stepping up to sponsor the event,” Watkoski said. “It looks like we’ll have a record number of applications and sponsors and prizes.”

The Spring Fling, the Education Fund’s major fundraiser for 11 years, will feature music staples like Larry and the Larks and the Ray Watkoski Family Band. Fully Charged, a newlyformed band including some of Dale’s family will also perform along with other individuals including Maple City’s Bobby Atkinson. Fully Charged also plays at the St. Rita’s Men’s Hall in Maple City and Leelanau Sands Casino.

Tickets are on sale at $30 for adults, $20 for youth 12-17 and $15 for youths 6-11. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Call Watkoski at (616) 893-2237 or email dalewat1@aol.com. for tickets, which can also be purchased online at edandirenefleiseducationfund.com.

Various raffles will also be held, including for a weeklong vacation at a house on Lake Leelanau or resort of your choice in the U.S. or abroad.

Maple City couple Roger and Shelly Mikowski will cater the dinner for the first time. They’ll bring along their Cedar PolkaFest staples of kielbasa and kraut, meatballs, broasted chicken, potatoes, vegetables, rolls, salads and desserts.

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