Popcorn Wagon

Event details

  • Friday | May 27, 2022 to Monday | September 5, 2022
  • 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Village Park N87W16749 Garfield Dr, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

The 2021 Popcorn season was one of extreme transition.  Ultimately it was a transition to what portends to be some incredibly successful future years in the newly revised Village Park.  However, some good things were left behind the Piggly Wiggly parking lot as well.

First the numbers for the almost the full year (3 more nights with the beer garden remain).

2021 2020
Total sales: $23,900 $17,000
Total cost of sales: $4,900 $3,000
Net revenue: $18,980 $14,000

The 2020 expenses weren’t readily available and hence an estimate was done.  In 2021 the kettle corn sales vastly increased and hence the cost of sales was much higher this year. Kettle corn has a cost of $3.50 for each $6.00 bag, so costs are higher in 2021 proportionately.

Getting into the weekly totals, one week was way ahead of the rest.  Kathy Matthiessen was lucky enough to select the week of July 11th for her week.  It included the Love Monkey’s concert ($1024), Lavender Fest ($1250) and 5 Card Stud concert ($550) all in the same week. Kathy’s total was about $3200 for the week, an all time record.  While the sales sort of fell in her lap, she (and Al) worked incredibly hard at some of those events.  The top sales totals were as follows:

Kathy Matthiessen $3,200 see details above
Barb Schmit $2,770 Milw Symphony, Patio Players patriotic review
Jason Husslein $2,203 Schools week
Linda Tetting $1,919 2 concerts plus Art in the Park
Meg Latus $1,715 Milw Tool concert
Terry Fitzsimmons $1,505 Kids from Wisc, Sat afternoon event in the park


Other weeks ranged from $483 (things were slow in the middle of Aug plus rain) to $1250, with all but two being in the $950 – $1250 range.

Another shout out that is notable as it was due to the individual’s effort, not a big event in the park, Scott Walter, principal of Riverside School.  During “schools week” he sold $654 in one night, a record for the schools week which has a lot of great history.

As far as the move to the park, the numbers speak for themselves.  However, it wasn’t as simple as it seems.  The first 3 weeks the wagon was located in the corner of the parking lot next to Appleton Avenue so people would see us there.  Sales during those initial 2 weeks (the 3rd week was schools which isn’t comparable) were actually considerably better than non-event weeks after the wagon was moved up in the park.  And the prior year sales were also considerably better than weeks that had no special events in them.  Typical daily sales were often well under $100 compared to $120 – $140 at the Pig.  Many long-time dedicated customers fell by the wayside.  That was a likely outcome however, and the upside in the park is incredible.  We made some new regular customers, and also have the future of the park to look forward to.  As the features, specifically the children’s area that our club is helping to make possible, come into use, many more people will be routinely visiting the park and stopping for popcorn.  And as new events get added, that too will enhance sales opportunities.

A huge thank you goes out the popcorn captains that organize and schedule the teams. Some in particular got a real baptism this year with the special event nights, with the popper going full speed for the entire night and extra staff needed (them).   Also, a special thanks to the people that worked the most nights, far and away that was Ann Freudenthal and Fred Blanke, but also kudos to John Yusko and Carol Schulties who volunteered for Memorial Fest, Lavender Fest and took on the team captain duties for the final week of the season.  One other noteworthy worker, someone I hadn’t seen in the wagon this much before, but he was really hard at it this year, Rick Kohl, and he has one more night coming up in Oct.  Not to mention all the support for the wagon that he gave all summer as we searched for helpers, etc.  A super leader.  And thanks to everyone that worked.

The numbers say it all.

~ Larry Podolske


Proceeds from popcorn wagon sales go towards the many programs support by the Club. Optimist Clubs are focused entirely on support youth programs like the Fishing Derby, Post Prom, college scholarships, essay and speaking competitions and most visible, the Independence Day Parade, along with many contributions to youth organizations.

Popcorn Wagon Chair: Larry Podolske

Popcorn Wagon Co-chair: Tim Newman