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Want to give back? Bring extra change to Sunday’s music fest

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By: Tony Hazarian, Journal publisher
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Scott Holbrook can’t keep from smilin’. The Auburn Recreation District board member, whose “keep smilin’” valediction signs off most of his letters and conversations, is thrilled the community has stepped up to help him organize “Benefit in the Park,” a fundraiser for the victims of the devastating 49 Fire. “It’s a chance to let (those affected) know that the community cares, but most importantly, provides an opportunity to escape for a while,” Holbrook told the Journal. This Sunday, three weeks after flames roared through North Auburn neighborhoods, a handful of bands and a number of community organizations will donate their time, talents and cooking skills for the all-day concert at Regional Park. The event begins at noon and should wrap up by 7 p.m. Activities are being added daily, but the lineup includes six bands ranging from funk and blues to classic rock. Bounce houses and a climbing wall will entertain the kids, and Auburn’s three Rotary clubs will keep the grills roaring with tri-tip, chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers, cooled off with refreshing root beer floats. Entertainment this good would cost you a small fortune at a fair or a music festival, but “Benefit in the Park” won’t cost you a dime to get in. Patterned after ARD’s successful – and free – “Party in the Park” each June, Sunday’s event will draw on the generosity of Auburn-area residents. Between bands and at opportune moments in the music, dignitaries will take the stage to share stories of teamwork and heroism during the fire, which destroyed or damaged 63 homes and several businesses the afternoon of Aug. 30. During these interludes, Boy Scouts and other volunteers will roam the crowd with buckets and boots, asking concert attendees to fill them with cash. All donated money, as well as net sales from all food and activity vendors, will go straight to the Auburn Disaster Relief Fund, in care of Community 1st Bank. Holbrook and other event organizers hope to net an average of $10 from each concert attendee. If the benefit draws a “Party in the Park” crowd of 2,000 to 3,000, the benefit could generate $20,000 to $30,000 for local fire victims. That’s a chunk of change, but let’s aim higher. A full day of music and food at a summer festival such as BBQ & Blues or Coloma Blues Live easily runs $30 to $50 per person. And this cause couldn’t be more local, as every dime raised will remain in the Auburn community, serving people who have endured and given back to the community in many ways. So, set aside your football viewing on Sunday afternoon and come out to Regional Park for a great afternoon of music and community caring. Bring your lawn chairs, sunscreen and water, and stash a few extra bills in your wallet or purse. When the bucket comes around, give as generously as you can. Auburn is special because of people like you, and we’ll all get back a lot more when we give a little extra. barbecue planned for friday Speaking of Rotary, the Auburn (Downtown) Rotary Club will have the grills a blazin’ Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. Virgil Traynor’s chicken, tri-tip and ribs will be the centerpiece of the club’s annual “Spirit of Auburn BBQ.” The barbecue is the club’s marquee fundraiser, with proceeds supporting scholarships, Boy Scouts, Peace for Families, PlacerArts Council, Little League, Project Auburn and other local organizations. Drinks start pouring at 5 p.m., with dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 13 and younger. If you haven’t had Virgil’s grub before, you’re in for a treat. You can keep work off that barbecue belly and support Seniors First at the second annual Gold Country Volleyball Classic on Saturday at the Regional Park. Organized by Leadership Auburn grad and local attorney Ralph Laird, the casual-but-competitive tournament serves up a bunch of fun – and last year raised several thousand dollars for The Gathering Inn. The Auburn Journal will field a team again this year, and we’re out for redemption after finishing third a year ago. Actually, we have no idea how we’ll do, but after engaging in some enthusiastic trash talk with Gathering Inn director Suzi deFosset, I’m confident that we’ll be able to hold our own verbally, if not athletically. ------------------------------- 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