When it comes to lemonade, Mayor Rob Robinson is a purist.

“I’m looking for the taste of lemons,” he said. “I prefer my lemonade to be more on the tart, dry end and not too sweet.”

Robinson was joined by five other VIP judges who lent their taste buds to Lemonade Day’s Best Tasting Lemonade Contest at Purser Park on Saturday.

As he made his rounds sampling 11 different types of lemonade, Robinson was impressed by the effort put forth by the young entrepreneurs.

“There was a fantastic gamut of lemonade put out by these kids,” Robinson said. “This was about kids being kids and kids doing kids’ things. Kids need to be kids when they are young, because you don’t get another chance.”

Among the budding business leaders, one lemonade stood out from the others.

Lily Cranford, 10, decided to separate herself from her competition by punching up her flavor profile, taking inspiration from when she lived abroad in Germany.

Her creation replaced sugar with a fresh raspberry-infused simple syrup and tapioca pearls.

“I wanted to set up a stand to make some money to help my mom pay the bills so my dad doesn’t have to leave us to work,” she said about her dad who works as a contractor in Afghanistan.

Gill siblings, Ian, 5, Kyle, 6 and Emma Rose, 9, served up a tropical-inspired lemonade, which in addition to the traditional lemonade base included mango, guava, pineapple and papaya juices.

The siblings will donate their Lemonade Day proceeds to the McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White in Temple, because their older sister, Kayla, 11, is a patient there.

Despite all the twists taken on the iconic summertime refreshment, Jayvion Wilkins, 9, kept his simple, focusing on the perfect ratio of tart to sweet, ultimately garnering the day’s top honors for his “Aloha Lemonade.”

“It was made with aloha and I squeezed all the lemons myself,” he said, holding his $100 H-E-B gift card to be used to buy supplies for his stand.

Judges for the event included: Mayor Dan Corbin of Killeen; Councilwoman Cheryl Meredith of Copperas Cove; Fort Hood National Bank President Terry Tuggle; and H-E-B Store Director Max Campbell.

“The Best Tasting Lemonade Contest is held every year, and is one of three contests designed to reward the hard work of local young entrepreneurs,” said Amanda Stephens, Lemonade Day city director. “After Lemonade Day, participants can submit entries for the Best Stand and Most Successful Business contests.”

Lemonade Day is a free, communitywide program that is part of a national initiative dedicated to teaching children how to start, own and operate their own businesses through the simple and time-honored act of building and running a lemonade stand.

Aspiring entrepreneurs will hit the streets of Central Texas showcasing their first business — a lemonade stand — on Sunday.

Go to http://forthood.lemonadeday.org.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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