NORWICH – While the heavy fog and cooler temperatures of recent Chenango mornings try their hardest to imply that summer is long gone, one last summer event says otherwise.
The 2nd annual Catholic Charities Bands, Brews and Barbecue is set to send summer off with a bang, being the last official event of the season.
Organizers for the event have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the fundraising event that has the potential to serve thousands right here in Chenango County.
“We're really focusing on fine-tuning this year's event,” said Catholic Charities of Chenango County (CCCC) Executive Director Robin Beckwith, who is overseeing and organizing the event with the help of CCCC staffer Katie Chaffee.
Bands, Brew and BBQ is all set to begin Saturday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Chenango County Fairgrounds, and is slated to continue until 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 pre-sale and can be purchased at Garf's, The Norwich Family YMCA, M&T Bank, Hummel's Office Supply and at the Catholic Charities office located on O'Hara Drive. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate for $25.
“The goal is to bring the younger crowd out and make them aware of the persistence and prevalence of both poverty and homelessness within Chenango county,” Beckwith said. “An overwhelming number of community members are typically unaware of the homeless population and those with hunger insecurities throughout the county, sadly because many of Chenango's homeless do not fit the stereotypical mold of a homeless person. Many of these people are among the working poor and go to work everyday to do the best they can for their families.”
Keeping the event's vendors and musicians locally sourced was also a focal point for Beckwith and Chaffee. The duo reached out again to Terry Potter and Millennia Entertainment of New Berlin assistance in booking acts.
As an added surprise, Potter – a member of the popular local group “Red Light District” – will likewise get the group back together for the event. The alternative and modern rock group that had a solid following in the late ‘90s and early 2000s re-band on special occasions to relive the limelight.
Entertainment the likes of Kaitlyn Jackson, Tumbleweed Highway, Seek the Lion, The Beadle Brothers, and finally Bruce Beadle and his Mystic Moon Dance Band will take the stage throughout the day.
Bruce Beadle and his Mystic Moon Dance headlined another CCCC charity in March of 2014 as they played to a full house at the Martin W. Kappel Theatre for the “Chenango has Talent” show. The group continues to gain rave reviews for their unique Van Morrison sound.
With the impressive entertainment lineup in tow, it may be easy to overlook the food element of the event. The scent of BBQ from local vendors such as Tuller's, Ozzie's Brisket BBQ Grill, Hot Rod BBQ and Gilligans Island/Scott Burlison will be wafting throughout the venue.
New for this year will also be the addition of some local home brewing representatives.
The Half-Tapped Brew Club based out of Norwich will have an informative booth highlighting the process of home-brewed beers. Craft Brewer Matt Quinn will field questions and explain the necessities of the craft while brewing one of his delicious concoctions on-site.
In addition to a section of beers that one might expect, Beckwith notes that there will also be an array of both hard and soft apple ciders and wines.
“With all the excitement of the entertainment and food that we've planned for the event, at the end of the day this is a fundraiser for our Roots and Wings program,” said Beckwith.
Roots and Wings located at 34 Berry Street in the City of Norwich continues to see record numbers in terms of families that they service.
In 2013 6,166 families sought assistance from Roots and Wings as opposed to 2012 which saw just over 5,300.
“When I started in 2009, the pantry was serving around 350 families per month,” said CCCC’s Gary Quarella “The numbers in 2014 were consistently over 600 families per month,” he added
According to Quarella, the economy in the Chenango communities “Just aren't catching up as quickly as they are in other communities,” he said. “I don't want people to think that these citizens in need are a bunch of bums or unmotivated. Here in Chenango County, these working poor families don't want to come to us but we're their last resort.”
All proceeds from Saturday's event are raised for Roots and Wings, and the event serves as the single largest funding source for the program.
For more information on services offered though CCCC or Roots and Wings, visit ccofcc.com or call 334-8244.