GRANITE CITY — Summertime fun already has begun with these hot days and next month more fun is on the menu at a favorite local ice cream shop.
A staple here in Granite, Mr. Twist Ice Cream is hosting a fundraising event to help two charities near and dear to them. The third annual Guns and Hoses fund-raiser will be from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at 2649 Madison Ave.
Felix and Mary Urioste began operating their ice cream shop in 1977. Today, daughter Felicia helps operate the store with them and serves as co-owner. Mr. Twist has given many children in town their first ice cream, and generations continue to return as loyal patrons.
Felix said he and his family are grateful to law enforcement and firefighters and want to show their support by giving back.
“This event is a way to bring together our community to show people what these fellas really do here,” Felix said. “We have some of the best fire and police departments around, and these departments have always been close to us here at Mr. Twist.”
Half of all proceeds raised during the event will benefit the BackStoppers organization, which helps law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs whose lives were lost in the line of duty. The organization, founded in 1959, provides financial, medical and educational assistance to the families of fallen public service officials.
The other half of funds raised will benefit Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. Having personal experience with the Shriners Hospital, Felix said he is eternally grateful to them for helping his son when he was a boy.
“The Shriners, along with our police and fire department, have always been close to our family’s hearts,” he said. “That is why we do this and will continue to raise money for these causes.
“In loving memory of our son, brother, and father, Mike Urioste Sr., we would like to give a special thanks to the Logan, W.V., Fire Department, Logan Police Department, Mayor Serafino Nolletti, the city of Logan, Amber-Miller Viars and Fire Chief Beckett,” Urioste said. “They were Mike’s family and we would like to thank them for all they did for him and making him part of their family and an honorary member of the Logan Fire Department. Also, a special thanks goes to Beckie Beckett and Jenny Vance.”
Both police officers and firefighters from the Granite City departments will be serving up treats to the public. It’s a healthy competition among the two forces and they are ready to go toe-to-toe for the prize. Whichever group sells the most ice cream treats wins a trophy. Firefighter Mark Joiner is a veteran in the Guns and Hoses competition and said he is ready to whip up some fast treats for a good cause.
“The BackStoppers serves 18 counties surrounding the St. Louis metro area, helping families of those lost in the line of duty,” Joiner said. “It always has been a very good organization; they help families that need to be taken care of after such a loss.”
Felicia said the event will feature many activities for the whole family. As always, the fundraiser will feature a bounce house and clowns for the kids. This year, pony rides and a photo booth will be available. Variety rock band Sweet and Sour will be performing from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and All American DJ Service will host the event, featuring DJ Tim “TJ” Elmore. There will be a kid’s sundae eating contest as well as a banana split eating contest for the adults. Prizes will be given away and all those who wish to enter can compete in a good old-fashioned twist dance competition.
Along with all the treats normally served at Mr. Twist, they will be serving hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, snow cones and cheese fries. Participants may also purchase raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets or bid in a live auction. The police and fire departments have teamed together to create a prize to be raffled off for $5 per ticket. The winner will receive a child’s wagon full of toys.
In 2013, when the Guns and Hoses event began, the shop raised more than $3,000 for worthy causes. The first year, Mr. Twist had about 1,000 local residents show up for the fund-raiser. Last year, they didn’t do as well because the weather didn’t cooperate. Felicia said it was too cold and windy, so residents weren’t as plentiful.
Felicia said she believes they will have a much better turnout this year and hopes the community will come out to support some great causes. Individuals and businesses may still donate to Mr. Twist to help offset the event’s costs. To donate money for the event or prizes for the raffles and auction, contact Felicia at (618) 877-6469.