A morning of breakfasts and books await visitors to downtown Los Banos on Saturday

A guest gets ready to enjoy fresh pancakes and an omelet at the Los Banos Rotary Club’s breakfast at the downtown fair last year.
A guest gets ready to enjoy fresh pancakes and an omelet at the Los Banos Rotary Club’s breakfast at the downtown fair last year. Enterprise file

Select according to taste. That’s the direction and opportunity given by the Los Banos Rotary Club and the local college’s student MEChA Club Saturday during the Los Banos Downtown Street Fair.

On Sept. 14 the Los Banos Rotary Club will serve an omelet-and-pancake breakfast and the MEChA Club of the Los Banos campus of Merced College will hold a used book sale at the street fair.

John Spevak New Photo
John Spevak, columnist for the Enterprise. Enterprise file

Breakfast diners can choose their own tasty omelet ingredients, and readers can select books suiting their literary tastes — from mysteries and science fiction to gardening and cookbooks and beyond. Regardless of customers’ preferences, they will be contributing to important causes with their omelet and book purchases. All proceeds from the omelet-pancake breakfast go toward Rotary’s contributions to Sober Grad Night next June. All proceeds from the book sale support the local MEChA club’s activities.

The semi-annual Rotary breakfast will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Westside Union Elementary School cafeteria, across the street from the Los Banos post office. An $8 ticket will provide made-to-order omelets, pancakes, coffee, milk and orange juice. Tickets will be available at the door.

Used books will be sold by college students in a booth at the corner of J and Main streets. Prices are reasonable ($1 for hardbacks, 50 cents for paperbacks). Avid readers can get a bargain — a box of books they select for just $10. All proceeds benefit the local college campus’s student MEChA Club, which promotes higher education, culture and history.

The Los Banos Fall Street Fair, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will also provide many other opportunities for good values on crafts and food. But the book sale and omelet breakfast provide some of the best opportunities for a tasty experience, while benefiting good causes. The MEChA Club has used proceeds from past book sales to enable students to attend national leadership conferences, support international volunteer projects and benefit the community.

This year the group hopes to earmark some of the dollars toward a club trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they’ll volunteer their time and skills to L.I.F.E. Argentina (an organization that supports the indigenous and disenfranchised population of Argentina). MEChA club members will teach math, science and English classes in Spanish. Proceeds from the omelet breakfast will be used for Sober Grad Night in June.

It may seem early for the local Rotary Club to set aside proceeds for an event that’s nine months away, but this is one of the club’s few fundraising events, so now is a good time to allocate dollars for later. Sober Grad night provides the opportunity for graduates from Los Banos, Pacheco and San Luis high schools to celebrate their achievements in a safe environment, bypassing what could be a night of excessive partying with a disregard for the consequences of bad decisions.

The event is organized by Noah Jones, the Los Banos Police Activities League officer, with support from the schools, parent volunteers, community members, businesses and service clubs. Sober Grad Nights events, with adult supervision provided, are held throughout the country each year for thousands of graduating seniors.

Traditionally Rotary’s financial support of the event pays for prizes awarded to those who attend the event and stay to the end to see if they’ve won a prize, such as an iPad, laptop or other items that young people appreciate.

The MEChA Club at the local college campus, with the guidance of the club’s adviser and English professor Cindy Chavez, has for several years been holding the Los Banos Downtown Fair used book sales, which were previously held by the Friends of the Los Banos Library. The Friends thought it appropriate to pass the fundraiser to the college, where reading is crucial for success. The club is excited about their planned trip to Buenos Aires. As the club’s president, Everardo Romero, said, “Being a leader in an educational club, such as MEChA, comes with a great amount of responsibility in order to achieve the academic goals we have as a club.

“Volunteering for L.I.F.E. Argentina,” Romero added, “and teaching children in the marginal areas of Buenos Aires an array of basic subjects will be such a great opportunity to increase our knowledge and the children’s.

“The most important outcome for this endeavor,” Romero said, “is that these children will learn from the skills we’ve gained at Merced College, Los Banos campus. What an extraordinary opportunity for all of us!”

On Saturday the weather promises to be pleasant, so I expect a good turnout at the Los Banos Downtown Street Fair, and I particularly expect a lot of traffic at the omelet breakfast and book sale booth.

John Spevak wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. His email is john.spevak@gmail.com.