Parkapalooza - Breaking Down the Barriers

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 643   By: Robert E Martin

23rd August, 2007     0

When D decided to evolve into a non-profit foundation two years ago with the admirable goals of assisting musicians in need and strengthening musical education in the schools, one of the keynote events they embarked upon was an all-day free music festival known as Parkapalooza.

This year the 3rd annual Parkapalooza Festival will be held on Sunday, September 9th at the Sanford Lake Park from noon until 10:00 PM, featuring live music on the beach with such noted artists as Chromatic Effect, Jedi Mind Trip, Steel Wheels, Smokin' Joe, The Sinclairs Band, Three Penny Revue and Empty Pockets.

With major sponsorship from Farm Bureau Insurance, this year D-Street has teamed up with Wheelz 104.5 and Midland County Parks & Recreation to fashion an even bigger and broader event, all focused on raising funds for the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan, which provides programs and services to help people with disabilities build the skills they need to live independently.

The genesis for Parkapalooza began when Midland County Parks employee Ed Kerns and his staff expressed interest in developing a program in order to thank people for supporting the park and improve on attendance for Park Appreciation Day, which is a day when the park grants free admission.

"Dstreet Entertainment was just reorganizing as a non-profit and looking to develop a program that would allow the Foundation to gain some community recognition and long term sustainability through an annual fundraiser," explains Dave Dauer, co-founder of the D Street Entertainment Foundation.

Since the inception of Parkapalooza, attendance has nearly doubled from the first to second years, and Dave says he wouldn't be surprised if that happened again this year.

"We expect to draw about 5,000 people to the park on Sunday, September 9th for this Free Family Event called 'On the Beach'. Plus we have some great new features in addition to the Sand-sculpting Contest, Kids Coral and our Free Music Festival. This year we'll be showing a movie at the end of the night on a huge wide screen TV and have special guests Louie E. Loon and Sammy Spirit in attendance."

When asked what the most challenging component is to bringing an event of this magnitude together, Dave points to the fundraising aspect.

"Finding generous donors like Farm Bureau Insurance is not easy," he reflects. "Without all of our sponsors this event would simply not be possible. It's easy to organize a festival and bring in great entertainment when it's free to the public, but it's not easy to find a way to pay for it all.  All of the local musicians donate their time and talent for us. However, every other aspect of this event has an expense associated with it, from the stage to the sound, park labor, insurance, and marketing."

With the help of the Sanford Eagles Club, Dave says that the for the first two years of the Festival D-Street has been able to raise over $6,000 to help support Adopt A Child Smile.
"This year's event is being entirely funded by sponsors and we are really hoping to gain more support from attending the event," adds Dave. "Of course the event is free, but we are really hoping that if people enjoy it they consider making a donation to help us keep it going in the future."

When it comes to determining the entertainment line-up, all decisions are determined by a vote of the Board of Directors from the D-Street Foundation. "We really don't have tons of bands knocking on our doors to play for free, but we do try to recruit new talent for the show every year.

If bands are interested in getting involved with D-Street and playing Parkapalooza, they really need to get involved with our organization and make sure they submit a request to play the event sometime in February or March of each year."

"Sanford Lake Park and Disability Network are both recipients of a grant from the State of Michigan called Access to Recreation," concludes Dave. "New features they will be adding include a spray park, boating ramp improvements to allow ease in use for people with disabilities, a new sidewalk along the beach, all of these are great projects being celebrated during this event."

"We might even draw in some local and regional government celebrities for the celebration. Wouldn't it be nice to have our Governor visit Sanford, Michigan? Politics aside, we would love to see her come and enjoy some great entertainment!"


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