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September 27, 2013

Benefit to feature beer, BBQ, live music

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — With a name like “Bands, Brew & BBQ,” Saturday’s benefit for Catholic Charities of Chenango County promises to be a rockin’ good time. 

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Chenango County Fairgrounds in Norwich will be the site of live music, food, crafts and beer tastings. 

Representing the “brew” will be regional brewers such as Saranac, Magic Hat, Adirondack, Lake Placid and Bacchus. The “BBQ” will be dished up by Lupo’s of Binghamton, Ozzie’s Beef and Brisket, Holy Smoke BBQ of Mahopac, Tuller’s and Scott Burlison. 

And the bands will play throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. with Mike O’Connor and the Eric Porter Experience and concluding with the Journey tribute band Scarab, who are playing a sold-out show at the Turning Stone Resort Casino on Friday night. The lineup also includes Mike Davis, Brian Golden, Suspicious Hats, the Horsehoe Lounge Playboys and Beadle Brothers. 

Fun as Saturday’s events may be, Catholic Charities Executive Director Robin Beckwith said they have a serious aim. 

“It’s going to be really good food, good entertainment, and it’s our step out to start to inform (people) about the local issues,” Beckwith said Thursday. “I think that this is a really neat way to engage people in a festive time and get them involved.”

The idea for Bands Brew & BBQ came about as Beckwith sought a way to connect her organization, which she joined as executive director in 2011, with young people. 

“We really are just trying to attract a younger audience so that they can become more informed about the problems we’re having in the region,” Beckwith said. 

According to a media release from Catholic Charities, the fundraiser will support its Roots and Wings food pantry, which has seen increased levels of need in recent years. 

Last year alone, according to Catholic Charities reported statistics, the local pantry helped 5,339 households and 17,273 family members receive emergency food assistance. Beckwith said that hundreds of people use the program each week. 

Tickets for the event are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, with proceeds going to Roots and Wings. Children younger than 16 can attend free with an adult. A beer garden will serve beer and wine in addition to the beer tastings. 

Beckwith said that, while she didn’t have specific sales figures, tickets have been “going quickly” so far this week. 

“We’re hoping to get about 1,000 people,” Beckwith said, noting that she has already booked the event for next year in hopes of turning it into an annual fall tradition. 

“We’re looking to see a great turnout,” Beckwith said. “And it’s supposed to be beautiful weather. It should be a lot of fun.”