By Pamela Dozois
Each year the Santa Ynez Elks Lodge 2640 provides generous charitable contributions to the valley in the form of scholarships for youth, help for veterans and contributions for children with disabilities.
Old Santa Ynez Day, its signature event, will return for its 57th year on Saturday, June 8, starting at 9 a.m. The centerpiece parade starts at 11 a.m.
The grand marshals this year are Robert and Nancy Beauchamp, a couple who have been on the planning committee for many years.
Kelley Sadecki is the chairman of Old Santa Ynez Day, past Exalted Ruler of the lodge, and Past Officer of the Year and Past Elk of the Year, which is the highest honor given out by the Elks.
Old Santa Ynez Day is Sadecki’s pride and joy.
“There will be many vendors from antiques to clothing, art, and jewelry – food vendors and a beer garden with light entertainment throughout the day,” she said. “The big draw are the kids’ games – tortilla-tossing contest for all ages and a watermelon-eating contest along with bounce houses, a Santa Ynez Jail for those who have forgotten to buy a badge, which are sold around town. If you’re caught by the “sheriff” you could be thrown in ‘jail’.”
Badges can be purchased ahead of time at establishments in Santa Ynez or on the day of the event. Money raised from the vendors, T-shirt and badge sales go to the valley schools’ “Wish Lists” and numerous children’s organizations.
The parade is free to enter, with cash prizes during a blind draw.
“We get as many as 50 entries but try to increase them every year,” said Sadecki. “The more the merrier – the bigger the better.”
Applications for the parade and the vendors are online at www.syvelks.com.
“Come out and support a longtime Santa Ynez Valley tradition. Come out and enjoy the weather and bring the kids and create memories,” she said.
The Santa Ynez Valley Lodge 2640 was founded in 1982. Sadecki has been a member of the Elks for 17 years.
“We joined the organization to meet others in the community and have a place to socialize,” said Sadecki.
The Elks Organization was founded in 1868 and it is 151 years old this year. It was started by 15 thespians who got together to socialize. The first lodge was founded in New York City and was called the Jolly Corks. In later years, membership expanded to other professions. This fraternal organization now has close to one million members with nearly 2,000 lodges in communities all over the country.
Every lodge observes June 14 as Flag Day, a tradition which the Elks began in 1907 and was later adopted by the Congress as an official observance.
“The Elks are the largest givers of scholarships, next to the federal government. California has 18 districts and one in Hawaii, and the Santa Ynez Valley Elks is one of 12 lodges in the largest district in the state of California,” said Sadecki.
“The mission of the Elks is to promote the welfare of veterans and disabled children by membership dues and in-house fundraising for charitable organizations,” said Sadecki. “Our largest fundraising event is ‘The Jamboree’ which was recently held May 3-5 at Live Oak Camp. Elks’ members and guests from all over the state gather at Live Oak Camp for a three-day fun event. We feed between 200 and 250 people a day. There’s camping, bingo, games, live entertainment, a themed costume contest, and money raised from this event goes towards the California-Hawaii Elks Major Project, Inc. (CHEMPI). The fundraising arm of CHEMPI is the Purple Pig, a major special project.”
CHEMPI pays for 32 therapists and preschool vision screeners to help disabled children when no other organizations can or will. CHEMPI has raised more than $100.6 million since 1950 to address the unmet needs of children with disabilities by developing a program of supporting services to aid these children at no cost to their families.
The Elks have three conventions a year in which members can share what they are doing to raise funds for their lodge charities.
“We have a lot of fun at these conventions and we learn so much about maintaining and supporting and growing our individual lodges,” Sadecki said.
For more information, call 805-688-3448 or email email@example.com.
For information on how to become a member of the Elks, call the lodge secretary at 805-688-3448.