Even as the rain began to fall in Kenai on Saturday, Lemonade Day veterans and siblings Liam and Marley Mesa were on the side of Main Street Loop waving at passersby trying to sell cups of sweet beverage.
The two, who ran Yummy Tummy Lemonade in front of Select Physical Therapy, were among more than 20 officially registered stands in Kenai, Soldotna and Sterling participating in the 11th Annual Lemonade Day, put on by the Soldotna and Kenai Chambers of Commerce.
This was the Mesas’ third Lemonade Day, Marley said. In addition to the lemon-flavored drink, they had coffee, hot chocolate, cupcakes, cookies and pretzels.
The two got into the lemonade business three summers ago, when they were looking for something to do.
“We’ve learned how to safely hand out food, how to control money, make change,” she said. “We’ve also learned how to become young entrepreneurs.”
Business had been good, better “when it was sunny,” Liam said.
Only a minute’s drive away were Allison Markes and Destiny Daigle, who were new to Lemonade Day but not to the business of lemonade. They ran Sweeter than Sour Lemonade in front of The Brunch Bar. They had a wooden stand made up, which they said took a few days to assemble, as well as cookies, brownies and two types of lemonade.
“We love doing lemonade stands,” Markes said.
New both to Lemonade Day and to lemonade stand operation were siblings Ellie and Elias Ritter, who ran Squeeze the Day in front of Odie’s Deli in Soldotna. Early Saturday morning, only moments after opening, they said they were excited to start selling. Their offering included lemonade, either traditional or flavored with syrup and their own colorful take on Rice Krispie Treats — with Fruity Pebbles mixed in.
“In the school paper, I saw this slip that said Lemonade Day,” Elias said. “I wanted to do it.”
The kids’ mom found a lemonade stand for sale online, and it all came together.
Running a tight ship, complete with assigned shifts, was Girl Scout Troop 223. Their stand, Paws and Claws Lemonade, was next to Northcountry Fair, conveniently located across the street from the ongoing Kenai River Festival.
Siblings Hazel and Lily Teates held down the stand around 11 a.m., while Elladove Walls stood on the sidewalk with a sign hoping to draw in the thirsty.
The scouts were raising money for the whole troop, in hopes of paying for an overnight trip to a zoo so they can learn about the animals, Hazel said.
They sold lemonade in three varieties, “classic,” “tropical” and with the help of a big cooler full of ice and a blender, “frozen.”
Also on the cutting edge of lemonade flavor was Odin Scott, who at Odin’s Lemonade Shack in front of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce was selling a berry-flavored lemonade — strawberries and blueberries plainly visible floating in the mix. He also sold brownies — in two flavors — and no-bake cookies.
Scott said he decided to run a stand because he loves lemonade, but that he wasn’t sure whether it would be fun.
“I now see that there’s smiles on people’s faces,” he said. “That’s making me happy.”
For more information about Lemonade Day, visit visitsoldotna.com/events/lemonade-day/, or the Facebook page for either the Kenai or Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.