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Weather dampens concert’s profits


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Rain played a bit of an encore at Saturday’s Our Hospice of South Central Indiana’s fundraising concert, leaving organizers temporarily short of their fundraising goal.

The 28th annual event, featuring ex-Styx leader Dennis DeYoung as headliner, generated about $67,000 in net income for the nonprofit agency, which is based in Columbus and serves advanced-illness patients and their families in 15 Indiana counties.

Our Hospice each year works to gain $100,000 in net proceeds from the concert, said Laura Hurt, president of the 34-year-old organization.

 

The three previous concerts either were moved indoors, canceled or aborted because of rain or severe weather. Each time, Our Hospice worked to make up the financial shortfall to fund its programs ranging from medical care to spiritual support.

More than 600 light blue, souvenir T-shirts, priced at $15 and $18, remain to be sold, said Sheryl Tracey, Our Hospice’s manager of resource development.

Other concert income comes from the sale of items such as cookies and glow necklaces, as well as about $67,000 in sponsorships, said Phil Bush, the organization’s director of business operations.

Hurt said heavy rains earlier Saturday and the continued threat of rain even after the concert began limited the crowd to one-third to one-half of its normal size for the annual Labor Day weekend event. She said organizers estimated about 5,000 people attended.

Hurt said she was grateful for all of the attendees.

“We were very, very pleased with the support of our community,” Hurt said, adding that she was heartened to see people setting up chairs as early as 10 — in the pouring rain at Columbus’ Mill Race Park.

“That was an encouragement to us to stay the course and wait it out,” she said.

Because there was no lightning, organizers never seriously considered canceling, Hurt said.

“We knew the bands could safely play in a light, misty rain,” Hurt said. “We were certainly not going to put anyone in danger. But we needed to break this spell.”

Hurt said Our Hospice is open to additional fundraisers, something that various groups organized last year to make up for a shortfall of about $50,000. But she added that fundraising ideas should be cleared first with the agency.

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