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Odd Fellows want to host September event in downtown Plano

Published: Thursday, March 9, 2017 5:30 a.m. CDT

Members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 202 in Plano want to sponsor a two-day fun event downtown this Sept. 23 and 24.

Matthew Yingling, a member and former lodge officer, told city council members Feb. 27 that they would like to hold the event to raise money for food banks and local families. He said the lodge last year donated more than $10,000 to different charity organizations. Their goal is to donate more this year, but he said they can’t do this with an empty checking account, so they are looking for a new way to raise funds.

He said the Odd Fellows have a long history in Plano since they built their present facility here in 1969.

Yingling said their previous money-raising programs have not been as productive as in the past, so they are looking for other ways to raise money. Participation in their pork chop suppers, rib dinners and similar events has been dwindling, he said.

“It’s no one’s fault, it’s because everyone is doing the same thing,” he added.

The event they are proposing would be called Plano’s Odd Ball Festival. It would be a two-day event and they are suggesting it be on Sept. 23 and 24.

They would like to have Saturday activities include a 5K Color Run for adults and a 1-mile run for kids. They also would like to have a bean bag tournament in the downtown parking lot on Saturday. Yingling said they propose having a DJ playing throughout most of the day.

They also would like to have a Battle of the Bands on Saturday for any groups that would like to play. He added that they would like to have a street dance on Saturday.

Saturday’s events would end with trophy presentations from the competitive events.

Yingling said they are proposing having a vendor craft show and a car show on Sunday with a DJ playing old sock-hop type music throughout the day.

And they would like to have a beer garden both days, he added.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, they would award trophies for the car show that would end the festivities for the weekend. After the event ended Sunday, his members would clean up everything, leaving the downtown as they found it, he said.

He asked council members if they would be in favor of the idea.

“I would be interested in the event. I think everyone up here would like it,” Mayor Bob Hausler said. He said Yingling should meet with the council’s Special Events Committee headed by Alderman Robert Hyde to discuss what city services would be needed, where the group would need streets closed and other details.

Yingling said they did not expect to receive a vote at this meeting, but wanted to present the idea to see if they should continue with their plans.

“The city does a lot of neat things and we want to be part of it,” he said.

He said these activities attract large groups of people, bring customers to the downtown businesses and help the lodge raise money that would be used locally.

Nicole Diaz, one of the volunteers who started the Smallville Superfest in downtown Plano several years ago, was at the meeting. She said she would meet with Yingling to help him with his plans for the event.

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