June 21 is Leo Adler Day

June 20, 2002 12:00 am
Leo Adler Day festivities during the 2001 event found Draven Pearce full to the brim of hot dogs and chips. The event will be at the Baker Sports Complex Friday evening after a short parade. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Leo Adler Day festivities during the 2001 event found Draven Pearce full to the brim of hot dogs and chips. The event will be at the Baker Sports Complex Friday evening after a short parade. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

June 21 is not just the first day of summer, it is also Leo Adler Day. Adler was a community and business leader who died nine years ago and left his fortune to fund scholarships for local students and provide grants for community programs throughout Eastern Oregon. Marlyn Norquist, who oversees the Adler account, said that over $10 million has been awarded since 1995.

Bob Evans said he volunteered to coordinate the second annual Leo Adler Day because he did not want the Baker community to take Adler's donations for granted. He wanted the community to honor "someone who really made a difference" and "touched so many people." Evans said Adler would like the celebration if he was still alive "especially if there is baseball."

Leo Adler Day starts at 5:30 p.m. with a parade from the Baker City Fire Department, down Maine Street to the Adler House Museum. Evans said everyone is welcome to join in the parade, but it is primarily for people or organizations that have received assistance from Adler funds.

At 6:30 the Baker Fire Department will serve free Oregon Country Beef hotdogs at the Baker Sports Complex and the Baker County Ambassadors will serve pie. The BHS cheerleaders will run a dunk tank.

Live music starts at 7 p.m. and includes the Baker Elks Drum and Bugle Corps, Jeff Sizer and Friends and Jimmy Lloyd Rea.

Pee-Wee, Little League and girls softball players up through the ASA level can participate in the Home Run Derby at 7:30 p.m. on one of the Little League fields. A Slam Dunk contest on lowered baskets will be held at the same time in the central plaza of the complex.

Evans said prizes will include baseballs signed by World Series baseball player Joe Rudi, T shirts, swim passes and water bottles.

A fireworks display will end the event at dusk.

Evans said the event is intended to give community members a chance to reflect on Adler's generosity. "It's a chance to take some time to appreciate it, acknowledge it and have some fun with it," he said.

Evans would like the day of celebration to help the Baker community think of Adler's donations as a helping hand and not a hand out and to remind people to "...make a difference in their community by giving what they can of themselves because that's what Leo did."