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Cheeseburger in Paradise returns to Lansing at new venue

Fox Pointe plays new home to longtime charitable event

By Carrie Steinweg

LANSING, Ill. (August 23, 2022) – The weather may have deterred a huge crowd, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of those who came out on Saturday night for the return of the Cheeseburger in Paradise event that has been on hiatus for a couple years.

Cheeseburger in Paradise history

The outdoor summer fundraising event was started over 20 years ago by a group of friends who were regulars at the Knights of Columbus and was hugely popular, packing the pavilion and area behind the hall.

Proceeds from the event went to make improvements to the Knights of Columbus building and grounds. One year, enough was raised to pay for new bar stools. Another year the proceeds went to pay for utilities. Other projects followed — new televisions, a beer garden, bathroom renovations.

A tradition lives on

After a pandemic pause, the event moved this year to Fox Pointe with the usual fare — cheeseburgers — with Ace Catering and Gino’s Banquets preparing the food. A portion of ticket sales went to the Cheeseburger in Paradise charity fund, which goes toward helping those in need locally.

“It supports a good cause and keeps a Lansing tradition going. It all started with just a group of friends who put it together,” said Ray Kosinski, owner of Ace Catering. “When it started out, they were helping the Knights of Columbus out to help it stay open. They decided to do any outdoor party to help.”

Along with part of the ticket sales going to the cause, the planning committee also did a 50/50 raffle and had a drawing for gift baskets that included donations from Meats by Linz and the Knights of Columbus.

Cheeseburger in Paradise
Somebody Yell Fritz! was the opening band on Saturday night. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

His sister, Kim Kosinski, explained that the proceeds in recent years have gone toward helping domestic violence shelter Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse (formerly South Suburban Family Shelter), and to fulfill Christmas wishes via Catholic Charities. About 25 people make up the Cheeseburger In Paradise group that plans and executes the fundraiser.

Some members of the planning committee and the catering crew paused for a photo during the night. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Saturday’s event

Cindy Barnes is a Lansing resident who attended Saturday’s event with friends. She said she’s a regular of the Fox Pointe Wednesday night concert series. “We live in Lansing and come to Fox Pointe most Wednesdays,” she said. “I think the fundraising part of this is great and we aways want to contribute to the community.”

Cheeseburger in Paradise
From left: Cindy Barnes, Sherie McCrory, Kurt Popovich, Tiffany Popovich and Craig Popovich stay dry at a table under the pavilion as they listen to the Jimmy Buffett tribute band Gone 2 Paradise at Saturday’s event. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Lansing resident Julie Venem said she was “excited to see them combine the event with a good cause. How nice that we can enjoy friends and also contribute to help those who can’t help themselves.”

Rain sprinkled on the crowd as the night began with gates opening at 5 p.m. and the band Somebody Yell Fritz! opening, followed by the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Gone 2 Paradise.

Gone 2 Paradise — a Jimmy Buffet tribute band — was the headline band on Saturday night. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Kurt Popovich was dressed for occasion in Crocs’ Classic Margaritaville clogs that were created in partnership with the Jimmy Buffet restaurant. He bought them on a trip to Las Vegas and the Cheeseburger in Paradise event was the perfect time to break them in.

Kurt Popovich was dressed appropriately for the Jimmy Buffet theme with some special Crocs. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Cindy Bogucki was one of several volunteers who manned a raffle table where photos were also displayed of some of their past charitable efforts. “Money raised in the raffle helps to pay for holiday shopping for kids in need and those affected by domestic violence,” she explained.

Money for families, domestic violence survivors

According to Bogucki, the total raised between entry tickets, the 50/50 drawing and raffle was just under $1,000. “We do various fundraisers throughout the year all with the same goal of raising enough money to buy Christmas gifts for local area needy kids and food and household supplies for local domestic violence organizations.”

A group of friends that are part of the Cheeseburger in Paradise fundraising group gathered for a From left: Duke Reed, Rick Shomer, Donna Wuehter, Sandra Bogucki, Cindy Bogucki, and Dee Handcock. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Those interested in making a donation to the cause can send an email to [email protected].

The next concerts at Fox Pointe are BBI on August 24, and Maggie Speaks on August 31

Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg is a freelance writer, photographer, author, and food and travel blogger who has lived in Lansing for 27 years. She most enjoys writing about food, people, history, and baseball. Her favorite Lansing Journal articles that she has written are: "Lan Oak Lanes attracts film crew," "Why Millennials are choosing Lansing," "Curtis Granderson returns home to give back," "The Cubs, the World Series, fandom, and family," and "Lansing's One Trick Pony Brewery: a craft beer oasis."