Heartland Alaska Juneau will hold Juneau Country Music Opry & Dance, a benefit concert for United Way of Southeast Alaska at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Aug. 7. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for a barbecue "Pick-nik." The performance starts at 2:30 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m.
"The concert is Juneau's first 'real country music' extravaganza," said DiAnne Slater of Heartland Alaska Juneau and organizer of the benefit. "It will be sure to please every country music fan and will hopefully create some new ones too."
The proceeds from the Juneau Country Music Opry & Dance will benefit United Way's community efforts to coordinate year-round out-of-school time activities for children of all ages.
Nashville artist Johnny Patton, who ranks at number 18 on the country music radio charts, will headline at the event. He has played around the country with a number of country music stars such as Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Patton may be best known for his songs "Keepin' Country Alive" and "Lovers Purple Heart." Opening the evening show will be local favorites the Zahasky family's Alaska String Band. In addition, Juneau's spirited country music impersonators will put on a Grand Ol' Opry style performance from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The audience will witness Juneau's version of Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn and George Strait among others.
The performance will allow for dancing and a jam session following Patton's performance. There will be a no-host bar in the evening and during the day there will be a country music "Pick-nik" of barbeque ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, corn bread and coleslaw for sale. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and online at www.jahc.org. Prices include VIP tables for four at $75 per seat, premium front row seats at $50 and $25 for general admission.
A fundraising silent auction will also be held from 1-7:30 p.m. Items include a statue of Juneau's Founding Fathers by R.D. Robinson with a starting bid of $25,000.
"We appreciate the hard work done by DiAnne Slater, Heartland Alaska and the committee to make this event successful," said Brenda Hewitt, CEO of United Way of Southeast Alaska. "This community has been so supportive of helping kids and we know that Juneau has an exceptionally high number of latchkey kids. In a research study by Mertens, Flowers and Mulhull entitled 'Should Middle School Children Be Left Alone After School?' they note that kids left more than a few hours alone often develop risky behaviors and are at increased risk of depression. Current programs are only reaching a third of the kids on average. It is an issue we need to work on as a community and so we are grateful for the potential funding we will receive from this benefit concert. We hope everyone will come out and make this a truly great event."