Wet weather didn't keep people away or even dampen the mood in Oak Park Saturday.
The third annual Rock the Leaves drew a crowd to the park with its rock and acoustic music from noon to night fall.
Thomas Kinney and Brandon Kvame, both heavy metal enthusiasts, hardly noticed the mist in the air given their excitement that the long-awaited event had finally arrived. Kvame was prepared with a camera to capture highlights for his My Space page.
Jill Schramm/MDN •
Jazmine Wolff performs at Rock the Leaves.
Although they came specifically to hear the metal bands in the varied music lineup, they arrived at noon with the intention of spending all day.
"We chill. We hang out with friends," Kvame said.
The event wasn't just about having fun, though. The goal was to generate donations for the North Dakota Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of a Minot girl with leukemia. For privacy reasons, the girl has chosen to remain anonymous.
This is the first year that Rock the Leaves has worked with Make-A-Wish. Event promoter Dan Hansen of Red Beard Productions said the association with a well-known foundation should help boost the event, although Rock the Leaves is getting a strong reputation of its own, both with fans and with the bands.
"It's kind of getting where people are asking me to do it rather than me asking them to do it," he said of booking the entertainment.
The event drew about 500 people and raised $6,000 last year, and Hansen was looking to increase those numbers this year.
The average cost of a wish is $6,000, said Molly Hofker, director of community relations for North Dakota Make-A-Wish Foundation in Fargo.
The foundation welcomes individuals, organizations or businesses to sponsor a child through a fundraising event. Fundraisers are recognized in the foundation's publications and on its Web site and may be included in send-off parties for the children.
"Anybody can do it. They just have to contact us," Hofker said.
The fundraising agreement form is on the Web site at (www.northdakota.wish.org).
"Every penny that is raised stays in North Dakota," Hofker said.
The foundation also accepts non-specific donations to use to assist with its wish-granting program. In addition, volunteers are needed. The foundation relies on volunteers to meet with families to discuss wishes when children are referred to the program.
Parents, guardians, medical providers or children themselves can make referrals. Children must be between ages 2 1/2 and 17 and have a progressive, degenerative or malignant disease as documented by a treating physician.
North Dakota Make-A-Wish averages about 30 granted wishes a year. Since the inception of the state chapter in 1985, more than 530 wishes have been granted.
Rock the Leaves is continuing to raise money for Make-A-Wish today when the event continues in Williston. Bands scheduled to perform include All The Right Moves, Midnight Sun, Stay Out Late, Hyland, Bright Light Parade, Pilot For Kite and Carly Ann. The event runs from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Rock the Leaves in Minot featured The Watson Band, In Defense of a Marionette, Saving the Falling, Black River, Stay Out Late, Pilot for Kite, First Class Failure, The Morning Red, Blacksmith, Bright Light, Surtsey, The Suit, Hyland, Carly Ann, Joe Burckhard and Jazmine Wolff.
Billed as a family event, Rock the Leaves featured children's games, a bouncing cage, a dunking booth, free food, T-shirt sales and raffles. It drew people of all ages.
Mark Grindy of Minot came to hear his son, Wyatt, 17, a guitarist with Black River, perform. Wyatt's grandparents and other family members also came.
Watching his son perform was a new experience, Grindy said.
"He plays all the time at home," he said. "I've never heard him play in front of people before."
The venue also was the biggest for the young Minot band.
"They are excited," Grindy said.
Hansen indicated Rock the Leaves enthusiasts can look forward to more events in the future.
Red Beard Productions is looking to become a nonprofit organization to be able to accept donations to support charitable causes.
An account has been set up at Prairie Federal Credit Union for people who may not have been able to attend Saturday's event but still would like to donate to the Make-A-Wish fund for the Minot girl. People can send gifts to "Rock the Leaves" at Prairie Federal Credit Union, 1430 S. Broadway, Minot, N.D. 58701.
Video from the event will be posted on the Web at (www.rocktheleaves.com).