Limited Tickets Available for Beach Ball May 6

One item available on the Beach Ball live auction will be this live edge wooden bench, valued at $550. The soft maple bench, handmade and donated by Kurt Johnson, is six-feet long and sealed with an exterior oil finish so it can be used either inside or out. In addition to the bench, Johnson also has donated three bags board games for the live auction — one each for Iowa and Iowa State fans, and one to be custom-made based on the desire of the winning bidder.

By Susan Thompson

Ticket sales and table sponsorships have been strong for the 2nd annual Friends of Lake Panorama Beach Ball, which will be held Saturday, May 6. About 40 tickets remain for this fun evening at Lake Panorama National, with all proceeds supporting new sports courts at Boulder Beach. So far, 29 tables have attracted sponsors, but not all are filled. So there are limited opportunities for groups of eight, six or four to be seated together at a sponsored table. There also is space for one additional sponsored table.

Tickets are $40 each. Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so the $100 table sponsorships and $20 per ticket are tax-deductible contributions. The other half of each ticket purchase goes to the LPN. The value of items donated for the auctions and raffle also could be tax deductible.

Friends is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The first Beach Ball in May 2016 raised nearly $24,000, which helped Friends reach its $80,000 goal for a new playground at Sunset Beach.

Now the Friends goal is to raise at least $50,000 for the sports courts. So far, more than $27,000 has been donated for this project. Once Friends raises $50,000, the LPA has committed $50,000. An anonymous donor has pledged another $25,000 for a dedicated basketball court. Another successful Beach Ball should make installation of new sports courts possible this year. 

In keeping with The Beach Ball concept, casual attire is encouraged. All tables will be decorated with a different theme. The fundraiser will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour and time to view decorated tables, purchase raffle tickets, and place bids on silent auction items. There will be a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., featuring roast pork loin with mushroom gravy, cheesy au gratin potatoes, sautéed green beans, dinner salad and bread.

Desserts donated by volunteers will be available on a silent auction table. Bidding for the desserts will end as the buffet begins, so winning bidders can pick up their desserts to share at their table. 

Dinner will be followed by a live auction. Some live auction items are a four-ticket package to the Iowa Speedway June 24 NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250; basketball signed by Steve Prohm, Iowa State men’s basketball coach; Iowa and Iowa State bags board games; a custom-made bags game of choice; handmade wooden bench; Iowa and Iowa State cast iron skillets; Lake Panorama National stay-and-play package; and an LPN pool party.

A wide variety of gift baskets and gift certificates will be on the silent auction and raffle tables. Some other items up for grabs will be a pickleball set and book on pickleball fundamentals; a monthly box of fresh garden produce through the summer; framed prints; two wren houses; potted plants; a two-hour pontoon boat ride; youth skiing lessons; two coin sets; handmade quilt; golf lessons; vintage pottery; and much more.

Another option for donors will be a “Build-A-Court” board where various items needed for the sports courts will be posted, along with the price. Donors will pluck a card from the board and pay for the items that evening. These will include such things as nets, anchor posts, basketball hoops, benches, fencing, or perhaps half of a bench or net.  

Those who donate via the “Build-A-Court” opportunity won’t actually be buying the item they choose. This money will simply be additional financial support for the sports courts, and is a good way to show the various components needed to complete this project. It also will give those who aren’t winning bidders the opportunity to help. All donors of $500 or more will be recognized on a permanent sign near the sports courts. 

A new system for tracking sales and donations will be implemented at this year’s Beach Ball. Ticket holders will receive a number specific to them at registration, and can use that number throughout the evening to purchase raffle tickets, place auction bids, buy Beach Ball bottomless beer cups, and purchase items from the “Build-A-Court” board. This will allow patrons to pay for everything with one transaction at the end of the evening. Only cash and checks can be accepted, no credit cards.  

Donations still are needed for the dessert table, raffle and auctions. Anyone interested in sponsoring the final table, purchasing tickets, or donating an item can email Or call Susan Thompson at 641-755-4382 or 515-240-6536.

The main sports court structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickleball lines. These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed.

Those who can’t participate in the Beach Ball still can help make the sports courts a reality. Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Donations also can be made electronically on the website.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

More details about Friends of Lake Panorama, current donors, the sports courts project, and ways to donate are available online at