As the Midnight Sun festivities begin, children will be setting up stalls all over Nome this Saturday, June 18 to sell drinks and baked goods in a new event called Mizuktata, which means “Let’s drink juice!” in Inupiaq.
Mizuktata is inspired by Lemonade Day, which had become a tradition over the past decade. Alice Bioff, who had helped organize Lemonade Day in the past, said it was “a great educational opportunity for young people in the area.”
The non-profit organization Lemonade Day National was established in Houston in 2007 to help children 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 hosted the event regionally.
Bioff had already started planning for the event this year when she discovered that the Alaska Small Business Development Center had not purchased the statewide license for Lemonade Day due to issues. cost and capacity. But two Nome moms, Krystal Hensley and Renee Joyce, have 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 God, I want to step in and help support it!” said Hensley, who had been on the program since 2011 with her now-teenage daughter. “I didn’t want it to go away.”
With the help of one of Nome Elementary School’s Iñupiaq immersion teachers, Maddy Alvanna-Stimpfle, they came up with the name Mizuktata. Hensley and Joyce hosted a financial planning workshop open to the public last week. About 10 children participated, and each received notebooks and piggy banks for their lemonade stands.
When The nugget of Nome checked with Hensley and Joyce five days before the event, a dozen stalls were already registered. Organizers don’t have a specific sponsor, but businesses and community organizations have helped support Mizuktata. Kawerak donated $1,000 for prizes and food for the party that will follow Saturday’s sale, Hanson’s donated a bike and cash for prizes, Bonanza Express donated bikes, Bering Tea and Trihn’s Coffee and Floral donated gift cards.
Organizers said a map of booths will be posted across the city on Saturday so Nomeites know where to go to support the city’s smaller aspiring business owners. They will also be hosting a party for Mizuktata attendees at Old St. Joe’s that night at 5 p.m.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” Joyce said. “I really hope the weather is nice.”