By Neale Gulley
The Tonawanda News
A fundraiser this weekend will feature a serious roster of Western New York musical talent, and though free of charge, is aimed at helping City of Tonawanda officials defray costs to rebuild the city’s Clinton Park Gazebo.
The challenge the city faces is in coming up with around $80,000 to rebuild the well-known meeting place, which collapsed during renovations last October, injuring two city workers.
The project to rebuild and re-dedicate a new gazebo will involve taxpayers in any event, as the city is self-insured and must head up the project. Money raised during Saturday’s concert will help defray those costs.
But, John White, chairman of the 10-person committee throwing Saturday’s party, said “the idea is to have a good time doing it.”
As a result, some of the area’s best musical talent, including the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame’s All Star Revue, with Ron Rocco, Michael Hund, Doug Yeomans and Ken Wilczak will perform for free from 1 to 6 p.m. July 30, at the band shell behind City Hall on the shores of the Niagara River.
Those are just some of about 15 to 20 musicians scheduled to play.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook for this thing. It’s been great,” White said. “It snowballs, it’s catchy. People want to see it rebuilt, they want it to happen.”
The American Legion Post 264 will handle beer, pop and water while the city will provide food concessions, including hot dogs, sausage, popcorn and other fare.
At least 30 volunteers are also donating their time to make the fundraiser a truly beneficial community event, both in its value to those in attendance, and the community at large, many of whom White said desperately want to see the gazebo return.
“People say ‘I was married there,’ or ‘hey I played guitar there once,’ ” White said. “They miss it being a part of the city and people want to restore it.”
To that end, the fundraiser committee capitalized on an offer by the All Star Revue and other musicians of a top caliber, who will perform a non-stop program including acoustic, blues rock and more.
“They’re coming with some of the best talent Buffalo has to offer,” White said of scheduling the mostly daytime event. “We want it family oriented but the music should draw the young folks as well.”
And of course, there will be a 50/50 raffle.
Aside from money raised through concessions, organizers are hoping businesses and individuals can pitch in on a variety of sponsorship levels earning them various space in a brochure to distributed when a new gazebo is unveiled.
Full page listings are $500, half page, $250, a business card sized ad is $100 and individual names will be listed for $5 a pop.
Donations from the community at large can be sent for any amount to the American Legion Post 264, c/o Gazebo, P.O. Box 66, Tonawanda, N.Y., 14150.
“We’re going to use the day of the event to push the donation stuff,” he said.
For more information on Saturday’s event, call White at 998-4497.