KNCO/Kane’s annual Penny Pitch on June 18

THE ANNUAL PENNY PITCH AT SAN Francisco’s Washington Square Bar & Grill, or the “Washbag,” has been a famous fundraiser for decades. Now in its 33rd year, the event has moved to MoMo’s restaurant, just across from the Giants’ ballpark.

The “pitch,” started in North Beach by late restaurateur Ed Moose, drew big crowds and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for St. Anthony’s to help the city’s poor and homeless citizens.

Now, thanks to the enterprise of San Francisco native and restaurateur John Kane, KNCO representative Joe Hevia and others, a penny pitch competition is becoming a tradition in Nevada County.

The 4th Annual KNCO/Kane’s Penny Pitch for the benefit of United Way of Nevada County is Saturday, June 18, at Kane’s Restaurant in Grass Valley. “It’s the best fun you’ll have with friends and family for a great cause,” says John. “Kids have a blast, and no experience is needed.”

“It reminds me of when I was a kid,” adds Hevia, a regular at the North Beach penny pitch, along with Kane, locals Tom and Judy O’Toole and others. Longtime San Franciscan Frank Cooney of Tofanelli’s Bistro, just up the street, also joins them at the KNCO/Kane’s event.

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 finesse.

Kane’s will provide $3 draft beer; $5 barbecued hamburgers or chicken breast with coleslaw and chips; $3 hot dogs with slaw and chips; and $1 sodas and bottled water. A $3 “Penny Pitch Delight” cocktail (rum and fruit juices) will be offered too. The entry fee is $10 per person.

Last year, the event raised nearly $8,000 for United Way of Nevada County, said Executive Director Megan Timpany.

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