“Ahoy matey” and other pirate phrases will be heard Tuesday through Saturday during the Crow Wing County Fair at the fairgrounds in Brainerd.
Dressed in their finest pirate attire, along with a pirate ship named “The Black Pearl” — Local No. 653 Food and Commercial Workers Union that represents workers at Cub Foods in Brainerd and Baxter, SuperOne in Baxter and Crosby, SuperValu in Pequot Lakes and S.A.V.E. in Brainerd — will be out at the fair having fun with the crowd.
The union group that’s known at the county fair for its grocery gift card giveaways which are given out every two hours beginning at noon, as well as handing out food items, added a new twist this year to their fair show to help those in the military.
Matt Utecht, business representative of the union, said they will be raise money for the Brainerd VFW to go toward families in the military. Utecht said people can purchase a $1 raffle ticket for two chances to win one of two flat screen TVs or a Blue-Ray player. All the proceeds will be used to purchase grocery gift cards for military families.
Utecht said Ray Sawicky, president of local union that consists of 550 members in the Brainerd lakes area alone, came up with idea to raise money for the military.
Sawicky will retire after 43 years and he wanted to do something special at the fair this year. Sawicky, whose son was in the Army for 10 years, said in the last couple of years he has seen veterans at the fair and he doesn’t want people to forget about them, so he thought it would be nice to raise money for the military families.
Utecht said fair-goers can purchase a raffle ticket for the fundraiser all week during the fair. He said monetary donations also will be accepted.
“We hope to raise anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000,” said Utecht.
The drawing for the prizes from the fundraiser will be conducted at 7 p.m. Saturday after the VFW color guard presents the flags.
Utecht said besides the fundraiser for the military, the union will conduct its annual activities at the fair. Union workers will hand out tickets for grocery gift cards every two hours beginning at noon, with the last drawing at 8 p.m. and the last drawing at 7 p.m. Saturday. Utecht said they will give away $7,000 worth of gift cards and handing out about $4,500 in produce at the fair.
Utecht said the group likes to have fun and they enjoy working with the child-friendly pirate theme.
“We’ll be handing out tickets and we’ve got Mardi Gras beads and necklaces and will have snacks to give out,” said Utecht. “People can come into our ship and see the cannon on the deck. It’ll be fun.”