Park concert to benefit fire victims

Five bands, community in tune for Sept. 20 fundraiser
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Ann Rivero calls it the spirit of Auburn at work. It’s a willingness to pitch in to help others during a crisis and it will be evident in a big way Sept. 20 when service groups, businesses and concerned residents come together for Benefit in the Park, Rivero said. “More than ‘What can I do?’ everybody is asking ‘What else can I do?’” Rivero, Auburn Chamber of Commerce president, said Friday. Benefit in the Park is a gargantuan logistical task featuring six bands and an outdoor Regional Park venue. It will be held from noon to 7 p.m. less than a month after the 49 Fire in North Auburn. The chamber, the Auburn Recreation District and Community 1st Bank are among the leaders in organizing an event intended to put as much money in the hands of needy fire victims and as little as possible into overhead costs. “Auburn is such a diverse community but it’s also close-knit,” Rivero said. “This is what Auburn is about — the spirit of coming together to help with victims of disaster.” The event is free to all — but with the goal in mind of showing community support for the hundreds left without a home because of the fire. Sixty-three residences were destroyed Aug. 30 in a blaze that swept though both commercial and residential areas. Scott Holbrook, a recreation district board member and benefit organizer, said it’s important to keep in mind that all the money from the event will stay local. Any donations or proceeds will be turned over to a newly created Auburn Disaster Relief Fund that has been established at Community 1st Bank and to be administered by a volunteer advisory board of local leaders. Steve Galyardt, bank vice president-manager, said the fund — bolstered by $3,200 from a Placer High fund raiser last week — is approaching $4,000. “We’re hoping people will bring money — at least $10 each and hopefully more — to contribute to the fund,” Holbrook said. All three of the city’s Rotary clubs will be selling food during the event to raise even more money. In one instance, State Farm insurance agent Ralph Smith has agreed to underwrite the Gold Country Rotary’s hot-dog and hamburger costs. As well as the outdoor amphitheater, the recreation district is supplying the stage while the sound system is also being donated. Boy Scouts will provide cleanup while passing donation buckets around. A climbing wall business will be there at no cost. Five bands have volunteered to provide the music. The Stardust Cowboys and Halie O’Ryan were early volunteers for the Regional Park fest. They’ve since been joined by Who tribute band Who Dunnit, blues-based rockers Strictly for Kicks, Sacramento fusion band Mind X Trio and Roseville duo Eclipse. “Even the port-a-potties are being provided free for the event,” Holbrook said. Fire victims will be given wristbands to ensure they can enjoy a free meal. “It’s a chance to let them know that the community cares but most importantly, provides an opportunity to escape for awhile,” Holbrook said. Gus Thomson can be reached at or comment at ---------- Benefit in the Park What: Fundraiser for 49 Fire victims When: Noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 Where: Regional Park, Richardson Drive, North Auburn What: Five bands, food, tributes to 49 Fire recovery efforts