Eggs, books galore at Downtown Street Fair (though not in that order)

Rotary Club members serve up breakfast at last year’s Downtown Street Fair in Los Banos
Rotary Club members serve up breakfast at last year’s Downtown Street Fair in Los Banos Los Banos Enterprise

At Saturday’s Downtown Street Fair in Los Banos fairgoers who want to support good causes and get good deals should eat at the Rotary omelet breakfast and buy books at the Merced College MEChA club booth. Though not necessarily in that order.

The Rotarians will do all the cooking for a Make-Your-Own-Omelet and Pancake Breakfast. It costs just $8, which all goes to support Sober Grad Night for high school graduates in Los Banos later this year.

Stuck on eggxactly what to put in a “make-your-own” omelet? Well, you’re in luck. The MEChA club members will be selling used books at really, really affordable prices. Among them will be cookbooks, which might quickly fire up your omelet-creating creativity.

It’s all part of the Downtown Street Fair, one among many downtown activities this Saturday.

The Rotarians will be cooking up omelets to your order at the Westside Union Elementary School cafeteria. For early risers, the omelet breakfast starts at 7:30 and goes to 11:30 in the school cafeteria. Diners will get their made-to-order omelet, pancakes and coffee or milk. Rotarians and members of the high school Interact clubs will cook the eggs, flip the flapjacks and serve the food. Those $8 tickets will be available at the door.

It’s appropriate that high school students are helping, since all the breakfast proceeds go toward Sober Grad Night, an annual event that Rotary has helped sponsor for years.

As current Los Banos Rotary Club president Gene Lieb pointed out, “Sober Grad Night has encouraged local graduating high school seniors to have a good time and celebrate without using alcohol. Over the years it has also prevented graduation night accidents involving drinking and driving.”

Proceeds from the Rotary breakfast will be used in part to buy laptops and iPads as raffle prizes to be given away at the end of the night, encouraging students to stay for the entire event.

The Merced College students and their adviser, English professor Cindy Chavez, will be selling books that for years had been sold by the Friends of the Los Banos Library. The Friends, most of whom are senior citizens, felt it was time to turn the book sale over to younger people and were glad college students were willing to take on the challenge – which includes some “heavy lifting” of boxes, sorting, hauling and finally selling. Let’s just say, there’s no such thing as “light reading” in this endeavor.

The fact that college students are selling books is a good sign. They are supporting the reading of printed books (not just words on screens). The students also recognize that reading skills are essential to success in any career.

Students on MC’s Los Banos Campus took over the book sale for the spring 2018 downtown fair and had a good time.

“They enjoyed working last spring with the sale and encouraging people to buy books,” said Chavez. “I was happy to see their effort and enthusiasm. And they’re just as enthusiastic this fall.”

As in the past, the used-book sale will take place in a large booth near the center of the street fair and will feature books of all kinds, fiction and nonfiction. The fiction includes popular mystery, romance and science fiction, as well as a few classics. Nonfiction includes gardening, politics, religion, technology, and a variety of other subjects. Including cookbooks.

Prices are cheap, just as they have been in past – mostly 50 cents for paperbacks, $1 for hardbound. “We want to encourage as many people as possible to buy books and read them,” Chavez said. “Reading is so important to the future of our country.”

The college’s MEChA students have worked hard to prepare for the sale, sorting and selecting from more than 1,000 donated books. Their goal is to promote higher education, community engagement, political participation, culture and history.

The students plan on using some of the proceeds to help local students attend statewide conferences, where they can learn what students in other parts of the state are doing to help their communities.

Residents of Los Banos and nearby communities should come enjoy the Downtown Fair Saturday, create yourself an omelet and find some books that suit your tastes.

John Spevak is a resident of Los Banos; he wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. Email john.spevak@gmail.com.