Concession stands serve valuable purpose

Reed City's Cassie Enos serves a customer during a soccer game.
Reed City's Cassie Enos serves a customer during a soccer game.

REED CITY — Concession stands and sports events. You can't have one without the other, as far as many sports fans are concerned.

The area high school regular sports season ended on Friday and many other fall sports are starting to wrap up.

It was another season when concession stands served their two major purposes: providing fans with refreshments and sports programs with needed financial assistance.

Reed City athletic director Kris Griffin said her program has concessions at 23 events and also will have them at the football playoffs for any home games.

“Homecoming and football playoffs are our busiest in the fall,” she said. “When temperatures are high, we sell lots of water; when it is cold, we sell lots of hot cocoa. Our most popular items are walking tacos and grilled cheeseburgers. We started the walking tacos last year and they have been very popular.”

The sports boosters and the athletic department work to coordinate the concession stands.

“Each season, I make the schedule and assign individual teams to work each event,” Griffin said. “Each varsity coach and their team are responsible for approximately five to six events throughout the year. They are responsible to find their own workers, which are typically sub-varsity coaches, parents and sometimes players. In turn, the boosters give the Athletic Department funds each year that are used to help all of our athletic teams with funding that is not covered by the school district.

“We will have concessions at basketball games and wrestling meets that operate the same way as the fall, with the exception of no grill for burgers and hot dogs. In the spring, we open the concession stand as soon as the temperatures allow us to. We only have concessions for girls soccer and this year we will have track. We do not have concessions for our baseball/softball games as the concession stand is not located near the fields.”

The financial rewards are significant.

“The concession stand is the primary source of income for our boosters,” Griffin said. “As mentioned, they give money to our athletic department. They have also done numerous projects that have enhanced our athletic facilities. To name a few, they have contributed money to both of our scoreboards. Both of our ticket booths at our stadium were also funded by the boosters. They have purchased mats and done upgrades to our gym. They also provided funding for our indoor hitting cages and also our pitching machine for baseball.

“Our concession stand has remained pretty consistent over the years. We have a core of very dedicated people that strive to keep it maintained. We have upgraded some things such as our popcorn machine and now also offer both cappuccino and hot chocolate. Our biggest challenge is the size of both of our concession stands. We really need additional space.”

Concession stand workers also provide food and drink for game officials and volunteers.

“I feel very fortunate that we have an awesome booster program that helps our sports programs,” Griffin said.

Evart athletic director Jay Wallace said his sports boosters have football game concessions while the sophomore class has volleyball concessions. He said pop, popcorn and candy are the most popular items.

“Sports boosters for football have a solid five (volunteers), with two extras each week rotating,” Wallace said. “Volleyball have the advisor and at least one student. Winter concession stands will be divided between the senior and sophomore class.”

The financial rewards for Evart are critical.

“For classes it is a huge difference,” he said. “Some years the money goes into the individual worker's account, other times it goes to the class as a whole.”

Pine River continues to make active use of its concession stands. A few years ago, with a special boosters group and other, Pine River built its current stand located between the baseball/softball field and football. The stand is usually open during baseball an softball games, plus football and track events. The soccer field has its own concession stand.

Pine River also has its stand available in the cafeteria for volleyball, wrestling and basketball events.