Fox Valley events give charities a boost

Rock 4 Wishes concert - Kasey Steinbrinck post-crescent article
Rock for Wishes

Written for The Post-Crescent March 25, 2010

A trio of entertainment events taking place this weekend will allow you to have fun and feel good about yourself at the same time. If you want to rock, tempt your taste buds or laugh the day away, you can do it while supporting important local causes.

Rock for Wishes

The Make-a-Wish Foundation will get a helping hand from seven local bands playing a benefit concert at The Wave Ballroom in Grand Chute this Saturday.

Rock for Wishes got its start three years ago when members of the band Hindsight approached Brad Christenson about helping to organize an event that would allow local musicians to give back to the community.

“Make-a-Wish was kind of skeptical that first year,” Christenson admits. But Rock for Wishes has been successful. The event raised more than $8,000 last year, and there are high hopes for 2010.

“We think we’re going to have an even better year than last year,” Christenson said.

Those who arrange and perform in the fundraiser each year found out how their hard work has made a difference. Money raised in 2009 helped build a gazebo for a boy with a rare skin condition who was unable to leave his home.

“It still felt like he was going outside but he was able to protect himself from the sun and wind,” Christenson said.

Christenson thinks Rock for Wishes has a solid musical lineup this year with Wavelength opening things up at 4:40 p.m. and the bands Verona Grove, Lesson Learned and Half Empty taking the stage between 10 p.m. and 1:40 a.m. Since it is an all-ages show, there will be games and entertainment for children starting at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at The Wave and are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Visit http://www.rockforwishes.org for more information.

Flanagan’s Beer and Wine Festival

This Saturday marks the 20th year that Appleton business owner Pat Flanagan has hosted a beer and wine tasting in the Fox Valley. With more than 100 brews and dozens of wines to sample, the event is sure to present even the most sophisticated palette with something new to savor.

“You walk in the door and it’s like a kid in a candy store for beer and wine lovers,” Flanagan said.

The festival started after Flanagan’s father passed away in 1990. Jim Flanagan used to hold a St. Patrick’s Day parade around this time every year. Instead, Pat decided to hold a beer and wine festival each spring to honor his father.

In the past, Flanagan chose a few charities to help. Now he distributes funds raised at the festival throughout the year because of the number of requests for assistance he receives.

A few of the charities the event has benefited include March of Dimes, United Way and Habitat for Humanity. The festival’s Web site indicates more than $800,000 has been distributed to 37 non-profit organizations over the past 20 years.

Flanagan says if you want to learn more about beer and wine, there’s no method more effective than tasting it for yourself. As owner of Flanagan’s Wine Review and Flanagan’s Stop and Shop liquor store on College Avenue in Appleton, he knows a thing or two about the products.

“I learned more from tasting the wine in two months than I did in two years reading beer and wine magazines,” Flanagan said.

There will be brewery and winery representatives available to answer questions along with people from area cheese factories. You can find out what cheese pairs best with certain beers and wines. New at the festival this year is a gourmet soda section with designated drivers in mind.

Flanagan’s Beer and Wine Festival takes place at Grand Meridian, 2621 N. Oneida St., Appleton, from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Visit http://www.flanagansbeerfest.com for more information.

28-Hour Marathon of Comedy

Starting Friday at 7:30 p.m., the folks at ComedyCity in De Pere will try to keep the laughs going for more than an entire day. It’s all to benefit The Angel Fund and Families of Children with Cancer.

ComedyCity co-operations manager John Egan said some members of the improv troupe take shifts while others try to last the event’s full 28 hours.

“It’s just a constant adrenaline rush; you don’t realize it,” Egan said. “It comes kind of natural to most of us.”

Last year the event raised more than $5,000. “But our overall goal is a million dollars,” Egan joked.

Some members of ComedyCity will collect pledges for every hour they can continue to perform. Money also will be raised through a raffle that includes Milwaukee Brewers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers tickets as well as autographed Green Bay Packers items.

“Actually, we’ve got a Brett Favre jersey this year. We’ll see how that one goes,” Egan said.

You can purchase raffle tickets by visiting http://www.comedycityonline.com or buy them at the event. ComedyCity will hold its usual 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. shows as part of the 28-hour Comedy Marathon. It all takes place inside their new home at The Sports Corner, 500 Grant St., De Pere. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Egan said these performances will actually be theme shows. Look for ComedyCity’s version of March Madness, “Survivor” and “The Apprentice.”

Admission is free if you stop by any other time during the marathon, but you are asked to make a donation or purchase raffle tickets.

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