Big Lake’s Spud Fest celebration has always been a money maker for the community until recently, according to several past committee chairs. From the Lions, who took it over in 1975 through the 2008 Spud Fest, the event has made enough money to support itself and give back to the community. “We always saved $12,000 for start up costs,” said Former Chair Dr. Michael Balfanz. “Even if we did not have that much money to give away.” “The carnival was a money maker,” said DATASuccess’ Kevin Thompson, who chaired the committee before him. “When we took it over, we knew nothing and started with nothing,” Thompson said. “That was when we broke away from Summer Rec. “All the groups in the community put members on the board to make Spud Fest happen.” “Our best turnback to the community was $17,000,” said Former Spud Fest Chair Norm Leslie. “Of course that was an anomaly. But $10,000 was raised for the community over the weekend. It worked.” Financial losses on food and beer, a couple of years of inclement weather and back taxes have reduced Spud Fest funds to around $3,000, well short of the start-up capital of $12,000 needed to get the event off the ground this year. Giving away food and beverages at the event accounts for some of the financial losses from last year’s event. “Without accurate record keeping, we may never know what happened to it or where the money went,” said Big Lake Lion Norm Leslie. Questions about the Spud Fest event remain. No plan was made at Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall to discuss the issue, although there was a good turnout among those with questions and those wanting to help. “I do have concerns about the beer and where it is going if people are drinking for free,” said Big Lake Chief of Police Joel Scharf, who has yet to experience a Spud Fest event. “But we should be geared now towards what is going to happen in the future,” he said. “I was very happy to see such a great turn out at the meeting,” said Mayor Raeanne Danielowski. “I think it showed the Spud Fest Committee that the people of Big Lake want to support Spud Fest.” “I plan on attending their next meeting at Russell's Tuesday at 7p.m. and would like to encourage any one else who is interested in the future of Spud Fest to come as well,” she said.