Updated Thu, Jul 17, 2014 11:00 am
A music festival with a purpose will again spring up in Logan on Saturday, Aug. 2, aimed at raising funds and awareness of the homeless in Hocking County.
In its second year, Inspirefest is a music festival and much more. Activities range from motorcycle runs to fire spinning.
New to the festival this year is a cardboard city, an opportunity for people to experience a hint of how the homeless live.
Levi Brown, 17, will be a senior at Logan High School this year. He started the festival and serves as Inspirefest’s chairman.
“I just wanted to do something for the community,” he said. “I think it’s the community’s job to take care of each other.”
He was 15 when he captured the idea of helping homeless people with a music festival. Although he had never worked with homeless people before, he had seen some people close to him in a less-than-suitable financial situation.
According to his mother, Connie Brown, Levi has always wanted to help people in some way. In early 2013, when she saw an Hocking Hills Inspire Shelter meeting announced, she asked if Levi would like to go to the meeting. They did and have attended ever since.
“The goal of Inspirefest is to raise funds to build and maintain an emergency shelter for the homeless,” Connie said.
Emily House is a five-bed emergency shelter with an active waiting list. Members of HHIS would like to acquire a permanent shelter.
With homeless individuals and families in mind, proceeds from various festival events will benefit the shelter.
Ebenezer Baptist Church of Logan will host a tent with free activities for kids, in addition to a bouncy house. Ralph’s Ice Cream, of Rockbridge, has donated ice cream; all proceeds will go to the HHIS.
Hocking County Auditor Ken Wilson will host a corn hole tournament at 3 p.m., complete with trophies.
Josh Anzalone, a fire performer from Dragonheart Fire Spinning, of Rockbridge, will perform fire arts at the festival.
This year’s festival features three motorcycle events. The Hocking Valley Motorcycle Club will host a poker run, called “Ride for the Roof,” at Spring and Main streets. The run will begin and end at Inspirefest. The first 50 participants to sign up will receive a free t-shirt. Participants may sing up from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Awards and door prizes will be presented at 6 p.m. More information is available at www.hockingvalleymc.com.
There also will be an Adventure Ride through the Hocking Hills countryside, with door prizes and awards. Signups last from 8 to 10 a.m. Email Chuck at KTM513@gmail.com for more information.
A motorcycle cruise-in will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with registration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants are urged to dress up or bring mascots or pictures to spruce up their entry and compete for the people’s choice awards at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Jane Meese at email@example.com or 740-385-3499.
In addition to the Cardboard City Saturday night in Worthington Park, the festival will include an RV camp-out.
Tickets will be for sale, to accompany drawings for prizes throughout the festival.
Various organizations have been invited to set up a table at the event, on “resource row,” to provide information for the community and, especially, for people in need.
Connie noted that last year’s festival was “a small event,” with one stage and no more than eight performers; yet the gathering raised over $6,000. She anticipates more this year.
This year, 16 bands are slated for two stages. Connie expects more than 1,000 people to attend. “It’s exploded this year in size and community involvement, so we have high hopes,” Connie said.
This year’s Inspirefest commemorates Susan Burgess, who founded the HHIS. “It was her dream to have a shelter to help the homeless,” Connie said. Burgess passed away on Feb. 4 of this year, but her legacy continues.
How can Hocking County residents help the homeless? Levi suggested attending HHIS meetings, held at 9 a.m. the first Saturday of each month at the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan.
“Come to the Inspirefest and donate, donate, donate,” Connie said.
Over 20 volunteers serve on the festival committee. “A great group of people,” Connie said. Some organize various events, others handle advertising. Some prepare the kids’ section, others serve on the band committee. “They’re very dedicated people.”
Last year’s festival happened on Aug. 23. Three days later, committee members started working on this year’s event.
Inspirefest t-shirts will be for sale at the festival.
The festival receives grant money from CGI of Athens and the Hocking Hills Tourism Association.
The Inspirefest website shows pictures from last year and lists this year’s events. “We want to drive home the message that you can have fun and be proactive at the same time,” the front page says. “Help us help others by improving our community and rocking to the beat of a happy drummer!”
The public may contact the festival committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at Inspirefest.org.