With fall now in full swing, the Granite Falls Kiwanis Popcorn Stand wrapped-up another successful season. The stand, which has been in operation since 1919, is run by the Granite Falls chapter of Kiwanis International. Proceeds are used to support community projects that serve the needs of local children.

According to Kiwanis fundraising chairman Les Bergquist, the 2017 season was particularly successful. Bergquist reported that popcorn sales increased 25% from the prior year, and noted that a larger number of first-time patrons visited the popcorn stand.

In total, 5,441 large tubs of popcorn and 5,375 small tubs were sold to hungry customers. The popcorn stand also sold 4,281 cups of 1919 Root Beer. This works out to 1,750 pounds of popcorn, 621 pounds of butter, and 359 pounds of coconut oil -- a truly impressive season!

The popcorn stand was also highlighted in a number of media outlets. In February , Pioneer Public Television featured the popcorn stand in a Postcard segment. Then in May, WCCO showcased the stand in a Finding Minnesota news piece. “The exposure from both media productions were a significant factor toward the ever increasing popularity of the Popcorn Stand,” Bergquist concluded.

The popcorn stand also hosted volunteers from United Way Southwest during the last weekend of September. The net revenues were then donated to United Way.

The 2017 season also marks the retirement of the old popper from permanent use. The popper has been in operation since 2003, during which it successfully popped an estimated 9.5 tons of popcorn. “The failure of the popper in mid-season would be devastating,” explained Bergquist, “not only to the operations of the Popcorn Stand but also to the good folks who look forward to their evening treats.”

A new popper will take its place starting next season. The new popper is a donation from Todd Leyse and Andrea Leyse Doop of Adam’s Pest Control in memory of their father, and former Granite Falls resident, Harold Leyse.

Kiwanis members are already looking forward to the 2018 season. Preparations usually begin two months prior to the May 1, 2018 season opener (which Bergquist calls an “unofficial Granite Falls Rite of Spring”). The popcorn stand will also be one year closer to its centennial celebration, which happens in 2019.

While popcorn lovers from all over will have to wait another winter, Bergquist believes that it will be well worth the wait. He says he is already looking forward to that “time of the year when customers from all over Minnesota come out of their dens hungry for the best real dairy butter topped popcorn available....anywhere.”