"I don't need or want a boss," Cole Larocca said Wednesday.

"I want to be the boss," Cole said.

And that's the entrepreneurial experience fostered by the annual Lemonade Day in Casper on June 24.

Cole was among dozens of other kids and their parents who gathered on the second floor patio of the Hilltop National Bank for the kick-off day for the event.

During the next seven weeks, the program will encourage more kids to participate by registering, collecting bright yellow backpacks, and building their lemonade stands.

All in the name of business.

"It's a program for financial literacy," said Hilltop Bank employee Tara Bigalke, who helped participants register.

Besides Hilltop Bank, other sponsors include Sutherlands home improvement store, Curb Appeal Painting, Honda of Casper, Farmers Insurance, and Townsquare Media (the parent company of K2 Radio News).

Cole Larocca, a student at Dean Morgan Junior High School, had participated in similar events where his family had lived, but not here.

He and his friends hope to raise enough money to buy tickets to the Comic Con weekend in Casper the same weekend. "Tickets are cheap, costumes are expensive," he said.

Speaking of costumes, Captain America (played by Matt Stairs) from The Marvel Universe and Princess Belle (played by E'Lanae Medford) from "Beauty and the Beast" entertained the kids. They belong to the local Dream Upon a Princess fantasy group.

Captain America posed in his fighter stance mostly with the boys, and Princess Belle gave hugs mostly with the girls.

Sutherlands home improvement store is a major sponsor, and it will host a contest on June 17 from 10 a.m. to noon for participants to bring their lemonade stand to its parking lot at 4015 CY Ave., store manager Harlen Robinson said.

Every participant receives a free movie pass, and the first- and second-best entries will win an Amazon Fire Tablet, Robinson said.

In the mean time, Sutherlands will give free pallets to anyone interested in building a lemonade stand, he said.

And in that mean time, Tara Bigalke said parents and their children who were not able to register on Wednesday will be able to do so and pick up their yellow backpacks at Hilltop's main branch at 300 Country Club Road, the Downtown Branch at 111 S. Durbin St., and the Mountain Plaza Office at 4085 CY Ave.

Lemonade Day Kick-Off. 5/3/23

Lemonade Day Kick-Off. 5/3/23

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