Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chamber to fill De Soto with blues and BBQ

June 14, 2007

Having tapped into an appetite for blues and barbecue last fall, the De Soto Chamber of Commerce is offering a bigger second helping.

The second annual De Soto Chamber of Commerce Blues and Barbecue will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Zimmerman's Kill Creek Farm.

Last September, the Chamber revamped its traditional musical fund-raiser, making blues the musical centerpiece of the event and barbecue the food draw. It proved popular with the event raising $5,000 for the Chamber.

The Chamber is expanding on that success by adding an hour to the evening and a third band, said Chamber President David Moore. And it appears the community is responding.

"Ticket sales are going great," Moore said. "It sounds like we've got a good buzz going."

Chamber director Sara Ritter said. Chamber members have pitched in to make the event a draw for all. The support includes a host of items for the silent and live auctions, which last year accounted for $3,000 of the money raised.

"I'm still getting things as we speak," Ritter said Monday. "There are a lot of baskets full of all kinds of goodies. Our businesses have really come together to make this a fun event."

Auction items include a Jayhawk lawn rock, rounds of golf and a Richard Petty driving experience.

Ritter said member underwriters helped transform the event into a much more family-centered affair including a children's area with inflatable playgrounds, the balloon-twisting and face-painting clown LuLu Bell, and photo opportunities from Jennie Wheat of Wheat Photography.

Wheat Photography and Kiddie Korner Day Care also will monitor a fenced play area so parents can enjoy the music, Ritter said.

Returning to the event will be the Jimmy Nickelsen Band, which again will feature Kansas City Jazz Hall of Fame vocalist Cotton Candy.

In addition, two other bands will provide a range of blues music that should appeal to a broad audience, Moore said. The Big Three is an all-acoustical set and The Grand Marquis provide a more jazz-orientated swing-style performance, he said.

Chamber member Oklahoma Joe's BBQ will provide the food. Adult tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Children's tickets are $5 for those 6 to 12 with those younger than 6 will be admitted free.

Also coming to the event is Connie Crash, of 90.1 FM's Tuesday Soul Fixin' Blues Show, Ritter said.

The enlarged event is just a prelude for when the Chamber's blues and barbecue merges with the barbecue contest the Chamber is taking over from Darrel Zimmerman.

"We'll have a multi-day event we hope to make a tradition in De Soto," Moore said. "We'll probably move the combined event back to October at the new riverfront park the city plans to develop.

"We're excited about it. We want to attract more people to De Soto and give them a reason to live here. And help businesses by bringing more people to town."

The De Soto City Council will view plans drawn by Doug Pickert for the Kaw Riverfront Park at its June 21 meeting.

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