The Hamburg Area Arts Alliance honored local musicians during a one-day music festival that also supported a Hamburg girl, 9, raising funds to hike the Appalachian Trail for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Food, music and fun” brought Our Town Foundation members Carolyn and Gene Bonkoski of Orwigsburg out to Hamburg Hoopla at the Hamburg’s State Street Square on June 23.
“This is fun and relaxing and it’s local. We didn’t have to drive 25 or 45 miles to have a picnic with some music,” said Carolyn.
Organized by the Alliance, a subsidiary of Hamburg’s non-profit community development organization Our Town Foundation, the event was held to raise recognition for the many Hamburg area musicians who perform or have performed in the past. The Alliance was formed in 2006 to support and showcase local artists and to advance the awareness of arts in the community.
“I’m really happy that this is happening. The Arts Alliance has mostly been visual artists but we wanted to reach out and include musicians,” said Martha Ressler, Tilden Township artist and board member of the Arts Alliance.
All of the participating members were offered free membership to the Arts Alliance for their time of performing at the event, said Ressler.
“We want to do more things like this and combine art and music,” said Ressler, who had a booth set up with her fabric art along side her husband Jay’s photography. “We’re just really happy that it happened and came together.”
“Hope people gain an appreciation of the music, an appreciation for the performing arts because a lot of time we focus on the visual arts when you think of artists and we really like to support the performing artists,” said OTF Executive Director Deena Kershner. “We hope the public realizes that they’re an important part of the arts scene.”
Funds raised from food and beer sales benefit the Hamburg Arts Alliance.
“For the first year, it was a really good turn out musician wise,” said OTF Executive Director Deena Kershner. “This event was to honor local musicians and to help Alexandria in her journey. Overall, any dollar raised is great.”
Hamburg Hoopla also supported Alexandria Amadoro, 9, Hamburg, who will hike the entire Appalachian Trail to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Alexandria’s Chinese Auction raised a total of $1,272.50 at the Hamburg Hoopla to benefit St. Jude.
Starting March 2019, Alexandria plans to thru-hike the AT from Georgia to Maine with a goal of raising $3,100,000 for the hospital. St. Jude set up a fundraising page for Alexandria with 100 percent of all money raised going to the hospital.
During the Hamburg Hoopla, Cabela’s announced that the store will donate all of their hiking equipment in an offer to their official outfitter.
“Thank you very much everyone for coming out and supporting Alexandria,” said her father, Eddie, who will hike with her. “It’s amazing what she wants to do. She’s truly a miracle and such a blessing in our lives.”
To Alexandria, he said, “I love you so much and I’m so proud of you, Alexandria.”
“Thank you for helping her to reach her goal to help these children of St. Jude,” said her mother, Amy.
“We are all so proud of you, Alexandria,” said John Bailey, music coordinator for Hamburg Hoopla.
Live music rocked State Street Square all day, starting at noon with acoustic guitar players to start slow and then moving into bands performing rock and roll, Blues, Country and everything in between.
“One of the guys came all the way from Baltimore just to play this show. Now we’ve got Country band Generation Gap playing and after this we’ve got a band playing all original music called Somebody’s Circus, a father and son and a drummer. It’s kind of new wave rock and roll,” said Bailey. “Then, we’ve got my band, Hambone, because that’s what they used to call me when I played Nashville. And then we’re just going to be doing rock and roll to just take the show out.”
Bailey said the purpose of the event was to honor bands who have played in the local area or are from the local area.
“Everyone here has played around Hamburg for years or is from Hamburg and this is kind of a gift to them,” said Bailey. “Thanks to Deena, we pulled this together and Hamburg Arts Alliance and Our Town Foundation have been really supportive of this. Without them, we could not have done it.”
Bailey hopes the public understands that this event also is partially for Alexandria.
“Go, Alexandria, Go!”
For more information about Alexandria’s fundraising thru-hike, visit https://goalexandriago.org/. Follow Alexandria on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoAlexandriaGo.