Manchester prepares for Salmon Bake

John Winslow remembers the year the Friends of the Manchester Library (FOML) auctioned off wooden trunks to raise money. They were made from wood taken from the chicken coop that once occupied the site where the building sits today.

The money FOML raised that year did more than just help maintain the library’s operational budget. Selling chicken-coop trunks help immortalize the facility’s storied past.

Winslow admits no other single event does that better than the library’s annual salmon bake fundraiser.

The group will hold the 38th annual Salmon Bake and Book Sale on Sunday, on June 18, Father’s Day, at the library.

“This is the singular community building event of the year,”” Winslow saids. “It’s important for everyone to get together and renew old acquaintances — but on a simple kind of level.”

Every year, Port Orchard’s Bob Bow invites his grown sons and daughters out from California and around the state to celebrate Father’s Day in Manchester fashion — by grilling salmon.

At about 9 a.m., the Bow family stokes up the grills outside the Manchester Library and by noon the smell of salmon drifts on air. The event, co-sponsored by several local businesses, will feature fresh salmon, cole slaw, baked beans and garlic bread, available for $10 for adults and $7 for children.

It goes until 5 p.m.

More than 50 volunteers are expected to serve out more than 600 meals. Giant cookies also will be available for $1 each.

Operation of the Manchester Library is funded by donations and fundraiser money, with Kitsap Regional Library providing staff and materials. In 2006, the operational budget for the building and support programs is about $19,000.

But citing the library’s annual circulation growth rate of 7 percent, FOML officials say the facility soon will be inadequate to meet the demands of the greater South Kitsap area.

For that reason, Winslow said proceeds from this year’s Salmon Bake will be devoted to a future building fund.

FOML, in cooperation with the Manchester Community Council, is looking into building an expanded multi-purpose community center and library to serve both Manchester and the surrounding areas.

In preliminary discussions, plans have included expanding meeting facilities for larger groups and private gatherings, expanding areas for visual and performing arts presentations, as well as creating a small historical museum and outdoor spaces for children’s learning and community activities.

“I’m a real big believer in education, and anything we can do to encourage the residents of Kitsap County, we will,” Winslow said.

There also are plans for accommodations for recreational users of Mosquito Fleet Trail.

Winslow said the last expansion to the library was in 1994 when the meeting room section was added. But the current meeting space allows for meetings with a seating capacity of 37 or less. There are several nonprofit organizations that have expressed interest in using the library if more space was available.

Winslow had no time frame for expansion, but said he hoped another successful Salmon Bake would kick things off right.

“We’re early in the planning process, but the first thing you have to do is build up your war chest,” he said. “That helps you pay for things you have to do along the process.”

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