Every year at this time, the Riverside faithful ably demonstrate what a proud, tight-knit bunch they are when it comes to assisting college-bound district students.
On Saturday, June 1, the annual Vikings Helping Vikings Festival will take place at Riverside Veterans Memorial Stadium, Main Street, Taylor, from 10 a.m. to
The family-friendly event will include a bake sale, a variety of foods (sausage and peppers, haluski, hamburgers and hotdogs, wimpies, etc.), entertainment and numerous basket raffles. For $5, kids can gain entry to the all-inclusive children’s area, which will include bounce houses, a dunk tank, face painting and numerous games.
All funds raised at the festival will help fund the Vikings Helping Vikings scholarships given out every year to graduating Riverside seniors. Over the past year, more than $35,000 has been raised for the 2019 graduating class. All told, it will fund
47 scholarships, with sponsorships coming from families, individuals, businesses and the Vikings Helping Vikings board itself.
Year in and year out, Vikings Helping Vikings lives up to its motto of “feeding the roots of the community.” Besides the festival, the group holds an annual golf tournament.
“The festival is always a great event, and we always hold it the first Saturday of June,” said Chris Koytek, Vikings Helping Vikings’ secretary and scholarship chair. “We’ll have about 100 basket raffles there, which are donated by community members, teachers, club organizations. It’s overwhelming the support we get.”
The scholarship recipients will be honored at the festival, and they’ll also be volunteering there as a service requirement. And, Vikings Helping Vikings will hand out its annual Hero of Humanity service awards to students and community members who go above and beyond in their volunteerism.
Vikings Helping Vikings started more than a decade ago, with the inaugural year netting $2,500 in scholarship money.
“We’ve grown so much,” Koytek said.
Koytek got involved with the group in 2010, with the intention of establishing a scholarship in memory of her son, Brian, a Riverside grad who died in a motorcycle accident in 2004.
She and the group’s six other board members oversee the operation. They’d like to get more people involved, and some day they hope to purchase a physical headquarters that could be used as a community gathering spot.
“If you don’t have a headquarters, you can’t apply for any grants. We have dreams we hope we can accomplish,” said Koytek, noting the group is currently working with 2004 Riverside graduate Matt Robinson to develop a website.
For the moment, though, the group is just hoping for another successful festival.
“The kids will have a great time, you won’t spend a fortune, and you’re supporting a great cause,” Koytek said. “I’m really proud to be a part of it. I get out of it as much as I give to it. And Riverside is a great community.”
If you go
What: Annual Vikings Helping Vikings Festival
When: Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Riverside Veterans Memorial Stadium, Main Street, Taylor
Details: General admission is free, with a $5 fee for the all-inclusive children’s area. For more information on the event, visit the Vikings Helping Vikings Facebook page.
From left, first row: Peg Derenick, Buddy Derenick, Jody Oustrich and Chris Koytek. Second row: Toni Oustrich, Matt Robinson, Jared Godlewski, Nichole O’Malley and Craig Brown.