The Big Lake Spud Fest Committee met at Russell’s Tuesday to establish their task assignments and an estimate of how much cash in hand they need to start up the annual event. Several members of the community were present to offer assistance with the variety of tasks necessary for Spud Fest to be a success. Among them was Rick Schroeder from The Friendly Buffalo, who volunteered to be on the committee. Although the committee is three board members short, the board said they would have to vote on that at their next meeting. “Nothing really seems to be broken here,” Schroeder said. “It just needs to be tweaked a little.” Amy Bodine with the Big Lake Ambassador program offered help with button selling. “Our girls always sell buttons,” Bodine said. “If we can have them earlier, we can sell more. Our girls are here to help if we know what you need.” Mark Hedstrom, speaking for the PTO, said that organization was willing to sponsor the tractor Pedal Pull up to $700. Chief of Police Joel Scharf offered assistance beyond barricades and security at the event as needed. Casey Kern offered help with accounting. The Jaycees agreed to allow the sale of Spud Fest buttons on the ice at the Little Hole on Big Lake contest Feb. 23.The Jaycees also asked for help drilling holes for the contest. “Anyone who comes out to drill holes can have a free ticket to fish,” said Russ Beauchamp. The band Outside Recess said they would not require a deposit to come and play at Spud Fest. The committee is also looking for someone to take charge of the Lakes Run, as Ken Janda stepped down after last year’s race. Other offers of assistance came in as the board set about establishing how much help they need to get the local community festival up and running again this year. Charitable Status “I am concerned about your 501c4 status,” said Mayor Raeanne Danielowski. “If you are a 501c4, other 501c3 organizations may not be able to help you.” Danielowski recommended asking Ginny Bruns of Johnson Bruns accounting to look into the matter. Patrick Wandersee of Northern Lighter Pyrotechnics said they are a 501c3 organization, which puts on fireworks displays for other organizations all over the North Metro area, including Delano, Ham Lake, St. Francis and Linwood. “Donations made to us are tax deductible,” Wandersee said. “We are one of the oldest fireworks clubs in the country. We have held strong with our price for the last five years but we will work with whatever your budget is.” Wandersee, who lives in Big Lake, says the biggest expense with fireworks is transportation. “If everyone in town gave a dollar, we could have a great fireworks show,” he said. “You would spend that much on a box of sparklers that only last a minute. We will do just about anything you want.” The committee, who just paid this quarters taxes, says they have $2,000 left in the bank and that for the last couple of years they had started up the event on the fly. “The money we used came from the softball sign-up,” Committee Chair Charlean Albright said. “If you let us know what you need, we can get it for you,” said Mayor Danielowski. “We were basically at our wits end before the community meeting,” Albright said. “We really felt like we were out of it. I am very excited, elated, by the response we got. It is good to have the community behind us.” Still, the committee estimates, they need $25,000 to get the Spud Fest celebration off the ground in 2013. They will meet again Tuesday at Russell’s at 7 p.m. Danielowski said she was encouraged by the meeting. “It seems there will still be a Spud Fest,” she said.