A fall festival fundraiser to support local veterans takes place Oct. 26 at the Gordon ballpark. It will include a raffle, bake sale, kids games, costume judging and more. Proceeds from the event will go to the Douglas County Soldiers and Sailors Fund, which assists veterans with basic needs such as rent, food, transportation, utilities and emergency situations.

Spearheading the event is Northwood High School senior Alli Gouge. The 17-year-old is passionate about the festival, her senior exit project.

“I could have chosen an easier project,” she said. “But it wouldn’t have meant as much to me as this does.”

Gouge’s grandfather, Bernie Bergman, is a Vietnam veteran. Vets do everything for our rights to freedom, she said, yet they don’t always receive the care they should.

“It’s very near and dear to my heart to see that especially veterans get the right care that they need,” Gouge said.

She learned about the county relief fund from her grandmother, Douglas County Supervisor Mary Lou Bergman. The two met with Veterans Service Officer Brian Erickson before Gouge started work on the fundraiser.

“She presented me with the overview of her project and I was surprised and impressed at the detail, thought and organization she had put into this event,” Erickson said. “It is refreshing for me to experience firsthand the pure sincerity of this young ladies desire to support veterans in our community and her way of telling each and every member of our military both past and present, ‘Thank you for your service.’”

The teen has been hanging posters from Superior to Spooner, approaching businesses for donations, circulating information on Facebook and sending home fliers with fellow students. She has no set fundraising goal.

“As much as I can get,” Gouge said. “I want this to be endless.”

The Fall Festival begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 26 with craft vendors, food and refreshments for sale, a basket raffle, bake sale and face painting. Kids games take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A bean bag tournament is set for 2 p.m. The cost is $50 per two person team. Gouge hopes to register 16 teams for the double-elimination tournament.

The day will end with a trunk-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. and costume judging at 7 p.m.

“I have very high hopes that it will be. I have plastered posters from Spooner to Gordon and I am hoping that the word gets out.

“These veterans fight for our country and it’s very important that they get the care that’s needed,” she said.

Volunteers are needed, and there is room for more craft vendors to participate. To volunteer, snag a vendor spot or sign up for the bean bag tournament, call 715-817-8877 or email alexus_gouge@northwoodk12wi.com.

Senior exit projects

The Northwood School website includes a list of senior exit projects for the Class of 2020, from coordinating a bass fishing tournament, blood drive or road cleanup to building a 3D printer from scratch or raising funds for the Humane Society of Douglas County, Circle of Hope and school music department.

To date, the Class of 2020's projects have poured more than $3,300 into the community.