Feature Story                                                                                                        Sunday August 5, 2012


A Fistful of Music

Party in the Park lovers saddle up for some rootin' tootin' fun

Staff/Voice photos


Country music star Kenny Hess hit the stage Friday at Central Community Park.

f it's Friday, this must be Chilliwack. Once again residents were treated to an entertaining evening at the Coast Capital Saving Party in the Park Western Night featuring country music stars and crowd favourites Kenny Hess, Brent Lee and John Ellis.

The weather was excellent and the skeeters all but gave up the ghost, which made for a lot of happy wranglers and cowpokes.

The three main country acts on the Star 98.3/SONiC 107.5 Entertainment Stage have all performed at bigger venues in front of bigger crowds, backing bigger stars, but there's something about Chilliwack and their fans here they just couldn't say no to.

Honourary sheriff and city street cleaner Harold Zinke, aka 'Mayor of Downtown Chilliwack", was celebrating his 50th birthday on Friday, so staff from the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) presented him with a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Sharon Gaetz, an oversized birthday card signed by dozens of residents and also a cake that he graciously shared with all his park pawdnuhs.

John Ellis along with Brian Wilson on the standup bass played old country blues standards like Nadine, followed by crooner guitarist Brent Lee and Ramblin' Ricky, also on stand up bass, performing classic originals like My Hometown and Blue Skies. In other songs, if you closed your eyes, you would have thought Johnny Cash was on stage with Lee's rendition of Folsom Prison Blues.

Later on, Kenny Hess rolled out some of his top hits to a lip-syncing audience.

Earlier on Friday, Kathy Funk, DBIA executive director, dropped by the 98.3 Star FM morning show to speak with host Scott Riley about the park party saying she loves country music and can't wait to hear John Ellis, Brent Lee and one of her personal favourites, Kenny Hess.

"I have his CD's and I enjoy his music," Funk said of Hess.

John Ellis was a crowd favourite at Party in the Park Western Night Friday.

Funk asked people to get into the spirit and mosey on down wearing cowboy hats, adding that there will be prizes for some people who come dressed up in regalia.

"We love people who come dressed up in their cowboy gear," she said.

Party in the Park is a free community event for Chilliwack residents who want to enjoy live entertainment, a variety of culinary delights on Mill Street in the Food Fair and shopping kiosks on Wellington in the Night Market.

According to Funk, the events cost approximately $10,000 per night to put on.

"We couldn't do it without our fantastic sponsors and there's a whole lot of what I call the unsung heroes behind the scenes that we don't always necessarily hear about, their dollar sponsorship, but they give a lot of hours up of labour besides all our great volunteers.

"People like Griffon Security, A&D Flagging. We've got to close these big roads down and they just donate all of the thousands of dollars worth of help. O'Connor's, the towing company, just in case we have somebody parked in our venue, and Valley Tank and Container."

"Henderson's gives us the storage, it's fantastic. Go Audio throws in a lot of extra gear, and Keystone Church does cookies for the kids every single week, they decorate great cookies. Kiwanis Club is out there setting up the waste diversions, EZ Rent It with all the tables and chairs so we can sit and watch that big screen."

"They want to give back and really be community partners. We just have wonderful people in Chilliwack, not only volunteering, but giving a lot of their resources," she said.

"Coast Capital, Royal LePage, Sears, Star FM, Sonic, Safeway, Prime Signs. Lots of amazing corporate help with this event."

Souvenir tee shirts, water bottles and wristbands by donation are on sale at the BIA tent. For parents who haven't been to the park with their kids, there are plenty of activities for them with bounce castles, face painting, mini golf, potting plants to take home, decorating cookies to name a few.

Central Community Park is located at Victoria Ave. and Young Rd and the fun kicks off with the market at 4 P.M. followed by stage acts at 5 P.M.

Next week's theme on Friday August 10th is Murray Honda Super Hero Night. Opening the evening's entertainment will be Lisa Adrianne followed by a performance by Myles Bigelow. Kadabra featuring Dave Martone will complete the evening's music on the Star 98.3/SONiC 107.5 Entertainment Stage.

New this year is live streaming for those who can't make it to the park on Friday, they can watch all the entertainment on stage via UStream courtesy of Wayne Price and Virtual Broadcast Network at www.downtownchilliwack.com.

Related Links

Kenny Hess www.kennyhess.com

Brent Lee www.noteable.net/Music/BrentLeeBand.html

John Ellis www.johnmacarthurellis.ca

See more photos below.

Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice


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