Sixth year of KNCO/Kane’s Penny Pitch

PENNY PITCHING HAS BEEN around for ages. Though the coins have changed, the game was played by the Ancient Greeks.

Some historians contend this game was part of the first ancient olympics and led to the idea of a Gold Medal.

San Francisco is home to one of the most famous penny pitching events, held in June at MoMo’s restaurant near the Giant’s ballpark. Originally at the landmark Washington Square Bar & Grill or “Washbag” in North Beach, the 36-year event has raised more than $1 million for St. Anthony’s Dining Room to help the poor and homeless.

The Gold County is creating its own penny-pitching tradition, the KNCO/Kane’s Penny Pitch at Kane’s Family Restaurant in downtown Grass Valley. Now in its sixth year, the fun begins Saturday, July 20, at Kanes.

“The annual penny pitch is an event designed to provide an entertaining afternoon for individuals, groups, businesses and for friends and family of all ages,” says Joe Hevia, a founder and executive director. Joe is a veteran salesman at locally owned and operated Nevada County Broadcasters Inc. (KNCO-830AM and STAR 94FM).

The event is on the patio and sidewalk in front of Kane’s. The restaurant offers draft beer, barbeque hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and sides, along with live music and a raffle.

For the second year in a row, proceeds will go to the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition. The group offers crisis counseling to victims of domestic violence; provides shelter and safe-housing; food, clothing and transportation; and support groups. It also offers legal services and children’s services.

This year, the Coalition has a new executive director, Gayle Guest-Brown. Gayle was recently honored as a “Northern California Exceptional Woman of Color” by Sacramento’s Cultural Hub Magazine.

The Penny Pitch fundraiser attracts regulars including John Kane, owner of Kane’s Restaurant; Frank Cooney, who owns Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro along with his wife, Susan Purdy and Susan’s daughter, Angie; Darlene Mariani-Hevia; and Tom and Judy O’Toole.

In the game, contestants pitch pennies against a wall, and the closest to the wall wins. A “leaner,” equivalent to a hole-in-one in golf, occurs when a pitched penny winds up leaning against the wall— requiring some real finesse. “Grab some pennies and let the fun begin,” says Tom.

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