The strains of the Kelley Family’s acoustic guitar and fiddle wafted from the Kroc Center’s banquet hall Saturday to the patio, where the Duke family enjoyed a lunch of Sconyers barbecue sandwiches and potato chips.
Lenny, Mylene and daughter Heather Duke have attended the Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold Music Festival every year to support their friend Eubanks and Lynndale Inc., which helps adults with developmental disabilities.
“We feel like it’s a good cause,” Lenny Duke said.
Heather, 13, and her best friend, Rachel Stanton, 11, said they love the music and the food.
Fifteen regional acts from genres ranging from bluegrass to gospel to barbershop entertained the audience while they danced, socialized and placed bids on silent auction items, including some made by participants at Lynndale.
Eubanks became acquainted with Lynndale and its mission when she and her band played a Christmas party there in 2007.
“We had the best time,” she said. “We were wanting to start up an annual event like a music festival. We wanted it to benefit some sort of organization. After that Christmas party it was like, that’s the one we want to benefit right there.”
They’ve been presenting the festival and raising money for Lynndale since 2008. Last year, they raised about $6,000, Executive Director Veronica Nipper said.
She said the money is used for a variety of extracurricular activities and items that the organization can’t otherwise afford, such as Braille materials, music, art materials and outings.
“Overall, it helps us to enhance and offer opportunities to do things that they may not get a chance to do at home,” she said.
Eubanks said the amount the festival has been able to raise has lessened since the first years, as the economy has worsened. Nipper said the first year brought in about $10,000.
In the beginning, Eubanks said she was able to book national acts such as Mike Compton, who played mandolin on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and Charlotte Ritchie, a Southern gospel vocalist who regularly performs on Gaither programs.
Lately, most of the artists have been regional, but they usually play to a packed house, Eubanks said.
“You’ve got the bluegrass, gospel, Celtic, Appalachian music, rock and roll music – old rock ’n’ roll,” she said.
Eubanks wants the festival to shine a light on Lynndale.
“They are so important to this community, not just for the people with developmental disabilities, but also for their families,” she said.