Without an official Lemonade Day, Nomeites will drink juice
As Midnight Sun festivities get underway, kids will set up stands throughout Nome this Saturday, June 18 to sell beverages and baked goods as part of a new event called Mizuktata, which means “Let’s drink juice!” in Iñupiaq.
Mizuktata is inspired by Lemonade Day, which had become a tradition over the last decade. Alice Bioff, who had been involved in organizing Lemonade Day in the past, said it was “an amazing educational opportunity for the youth in the region.”
The nonprofit Lemonade Day National was created in Houston in 2007 to help kids learn about entrepreneurship and running a business. The organization charges licensing fees to use its programming materials. Alaska had been participating in the program since 2011, and Kawerak organized the event regionally.
Bioff had already started preparing for the event this year when she found out the Alaska Small Business Development Center had not purchased the statewide license for Lemonade Day due to costs and capacity issues. But two Nome moms, Krystal Hensley and Renee Joyce, stepped up to organize a new event.
“When I found out the state was no longer going to fund the lemonade program, I was like, oh my gosh, I want to step up and help support it!” said Hensley, who had been participating in the program since 2011 with her daughter, now a teenager. “I didn't want to see that go away.”
With help from one of Nome Elementary School’s Iñupiaq immersion teachers, Maddy Alvanna-Stimpfle, they came up with the name Mizuktata. Hensley and Joyce organized a financial planning workshop last week that was open to the public. About 10 kids participated, and each received workbooks and money boxes for their lemonade stands.
When The Nome Nugget checked in with Hensley and Joyce five days before the event, a dozen stands were already registered. The organizers don’t have a specific sponsor, but community businesses and organizations chipped in to support Mizuktata. Kawerak donated $1,000 towards prizes and food for the party to follow Saturday’s sale, Hanson's donated a bike and money towards prizes, Bonanza Express donated bikes, Bering Tea and Trihn’s Coffee and Floral donated gift cards.
The organizers said a map of the stands would be posted around town on Saturday so Nomeites know where to go to support the town’s smallest aspiring business owners. They’ll also host a party for Mizuktata participants at Old St. Joe’s that evening at 5 p.m.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” said Joyce. “I really hope it’s sunny.”