PAXINOS - The Coal Crackers Club will celebrate its 10th anniversary with its annual spring luncheon later this month, with WNEP-TV's Mike Stevens as guest speaker.

The informal organization started as a monthly gathering of about 20 friends. Its popularity grew quickly, and the luncheons - held each spring, summer and fall - now attract as many as 300 people to each. Mike and Joan Muskey, a Coal Township couple who are among the founders, said the success of the group can be credited to its informal nature. There are no dues, no officers - just a lot of fun.

Local folks as well as "coal crackers" from hours away attend the luncheons, which involve a meal, a guest speaker, awarding of prizes and a few announcements. They typically last about 2 1/2 hours.

Each spring and fall, the gatherings are held at Masser's Banquet Hall. The 10th anniversary event will be held there at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28.

The summer luncheon is held at Knoebel's Amusement Resort, Elysburg.

The Muskeys noted that a former local couple who now live in Arizona scheduled their vacation back home around the Coal Crackers Club's fall luncheon each year.

They stress that while some see the group as solely a Shamokin-Coal Township organization, it isn't. They welcome more involvement from those in the Kulpmont-Mount Carmel areas, Schuylkill County and other areas of the anthracite region.

To reserve a spot for the April luncheon, send a check for $14.50 per person to Coal Crackers Club, P.O. Box. 68, Shamokin 17872. Deadline is April 18.