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'Music in the Park' huge success as trail fundraiser

 

August 5, 2019



By P.J. GLISSON

news@yourdailyglobe.com

Wakefield — A Saturday evening “Music in the Park” event was a huge success next to Wakefield’s Sunday Lake, thanks to a light-hearted crowd of folks who enjoyed each other’s company, along with a live band and balmy temperatures.

The Wakefield Chamber of Commerce sponsored the four-hour affair in Eddy Park as a fundraiser for the town’s Split Rock Trails that are just east of the park in the former Fink location.

The band Flashback was stationed inside of the John Siira Pavilion, on the east side of the park, where full tables of listeners also had access to food and beverages.

Meanwhile, additional attendees spilled out on all sides of the pavilion, wandering with kids and pets or lounging in lawn chairs.

“This is a nice way to spend a beautiful evening,” said Heidi Johns, who was there with her friend, Christian Schaefer. They are both from Cincinnati, Ohio, but Johns still has family in this region.

Carol Miller of Wakefield echoed that sentiment and added, “I like the music!”

Jim Engel, of the Split Rock Trails Association, announced to the crowd that SRTA members’ intent was not only to raise funds for their trails.

“We want people to spend some time here in Wakefield, spend some money, and maybe spend a couple nights in the park,” he said of tourists who use the trails.

Afterward, he explained to the Daily Globe that SRTA now has more than three miles of trails, but said the goal is to improve the quality of existing trails while also adding more trail miles.

“Our general goal is one mile of quality trail per year,” he added. “The long goal is 10 miles in 10 years.”

How the funds will be appropriated

Toward that end, Engel said most of the money collected from the fundraiser would go for equipment rental. He said SRTA member Rod Ritter knows how to operate the needed equipment, but noted that it would be necessary to rent excavation machinery.

On display in the pavilion was a large poster board that included a Wakefield map showing where to find the SRTA trails, along with a map of the trail routes and photos of trail views in various seasons.

The trails, which were created in just the past few years, have been used for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing.

A few different SRTA members reflected on the fundraiser in Sunday phone calls.

“The best takeaway for me was to see the community support,” said Rod Ritter, who sold 50-50 tickets during the event, which he summed up as “very rewarding.”

Ritter commended the efforts of fellow members Liz and Neil Londo and Bob Blaskowski. Moreover, he and Engel both emphasized that Loraine Mussatti had been the “catalyst” of the affair.

“We’ve always wanted to have more music in the park,” said Mussatti, who described the result as a “team event.”

Help occurred even in unexpected ways. Mussatti said the pavilion’s kitchen door had jammed earlier in the day, and campground host Jim Favero volunteered his labor to fix it, while chamber member Ric Olson offered a new doorknob that he happened to have in his garage.

All SRTA members expressed appreciation to the members of Flashback, who donated their time to provide well-received classic rock music during most of the evening.

Recipients of three different 50-50 draws were Jim Berg, Mike Zeckovich and Rocky Bachand, all of Wakefield, who each won up to $100.

SRTA raised funds during the evening from the 50-50 sales, as well as from the sale of beer and wine.

In addition, members of Wakefield’s VFW Post 9084 sold refreshments during the event as a means of raising funds for their own needs, but Mussatti said they were kindly donating 25% of their profits to SRTA.

Although total collections were not yet tabulated on Sunday, Engel said, “It was a tremendous success, no matter what goes into our kitty. It exceeded our expectations.”

Mussatti also concluded, “We’re hoping to start a trend and do this on the first Saturday of every August.”

 
 

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