Cereal Day for United Way 2018

Patrons wait to get their $1 bags or boxes of cereal at the annual Cereal Day for United Way on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds. 

TREMONTON — What did you do to start your Saturday morning?

Did you sleep in? Did you make a breakfast of eggs and sausage? Maybe you did neither.

For hundreds of people around northern Utah, the brisk Saturday morning was spent in a long line at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds, waiting for their chance to snag multiple bags of cereal at a small cost.

Saturday marked the 10th year of the annual Cereal Day for United Way, which featured thousands of bags and boxes of Malt-O-Meal brand hot and cold cereal being sold for just $1 each. Doors were opened around 7 a.m., with each person in attendance being limited to buying 50 items.

Most attendees buy as many packages as they can, and the large stock of cereal is typically gone within two hours or so, according to Erin McMahon, one of the event’s organizers.

McMahon, a corporate engagement manager for the United Way of Northern Utah, said all the proceeds go toward funding the many programs the local United Way has to offer. This includes preparing children to learn, helping kids succeed in school and supporting families in need.

Her first year at the event, McMahon spent most of the day before preparing for the event and could be seen at the event Saturday handing out order forms to patrons in line.

“I’ve never seen so much cereal in my life,” she said.

The long waiting line stretched around several buildings at the fairgrounds, full of people donning heavy coats, blankets and winter hats. A few bold souls wore shorts and short-sleeve T-shirts while waiting in line.

Once they braved the cold and neared the front of the line, patrons filled out order forms and collected their spoils in the supply room. The palates of cereal inside were often times taller than the volunteers deconstructing them for customers.

For some, the Saturday morning event started long before the sun came up. The first people in line to get their fill of cereal arrived at the fairgrounds at 7 p.m. Friday and spent the night camping out in line.

The yearly sale has been going on for the past decade, according to Mark Suchan, manager for the Post Consumer Brands plant in Tremonton. He said there are roughly 18,000 boxes or bags of cereal that were sold Saturday morning.

“It’s the Black Friday of cereal,” Suchan said.

Suchan was one of dozens of plant workers, Boy Scouts and other local volunteers moving boxes, stacking bags and making the event possible. He said the Tremonton plant doesn’t quite make all the products offered at the sale, and the supply is the result of efforts from other Post Consumer Brands plants around the country.

Suchan said he’s proud to be a part of the Tremonton community and support the local United Way.

Ben Soholt, a Mantua resident, made the trip north with his family to take advantage of the once-a-year deal. He said Saturday was his first time at the sale and he was looking forward to getting a six-month supply of cereal.

Soholt, wearing a winter coat with his hands firmly in his pockets, joked that the cold October weather could be worse.

“At least it’s not Minnesota,” he said.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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