By JUDY SHERARD
The colorful Hays Lions Club camper-turned-selling-booth has become an Oktoberfest fixture.
This year, Oktoberfest is Oct. 10.
Warren Shaffer, a member of the club since 1991, donated the camper to the club.
In its former life, the camper was parked at the Solomon River, and "I wasn't using it enough. The raccoons were using it more than I was," Shaffer said.
The camper was gutted -- the air conditioning, bathroom, kitchenette, stove and refrigerator removed for the conversion to selling booth.
It made its debut as an Oktoberfest booth about five years ago.
"Before that, we had a tent, and this is much better," said Les Herrman, a member since 1968.
Tables and chairs are set up inside the mobile booth. The windows open and counters slide on. The Lions Club sells bierocks and water or soda.
It's been equipped with electricity, so there's air conditioning or heat -- depending on the weather.
"You can make it comfortable in here," Shaffer said.
The outside was painted by the Fort Hays State University Creative Arts Society.
"Not only did they get a fee, they get to use the second window forever to sell T-shirts. So they're our partners at Oktoberfest," Shaffer said.
There's even indoor-outdoor speakers.
After Oktoberfest, the Lions Club will offer the former camper to the community for civic organizations, churches and other organizations who want to have a sales booth at an event.
"Just let us know. We're going to haul it there for them," Shaffer said.
It will be offered at no cost, Herrman said.
To reserve the sales booth, call Shaffer at (785) 628-6009.
"We want to extend the usage of this to as many organizations as possible because we're all doing the same thing. We're building the fabric of our community," Shaffer said.
As part of their 90th anniversary, the Hays Club is reaching out to the community and plans to give presentations to local organizations, he said.
Oktoberfest is among the club's top three fundraisers, which also include a pancake feed and golf tournament.
"We raise between $10,000 and $12,000 that we feed back into the community helping people that need help," Herrman said.
The group sponsors youth organizations such as the Hurricanes swim team, Striders, 4-H clubs, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as well as First Call for Help and the Community Assistance Center.
In addition to donating money, members volunteer helping put food on the shelves after food drives for the Community Assistance Center and making toys children for the Teaming up for Tots toy drive at Christmas.
"We sand them, paint them and assemble them," Herrman said.
The Lions Club meets at noon every Tuesday at Pam's Bakery and Catering.