AAA - Midland County

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Midland, MI 48640-5194

Phone: (989) 832-6785

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Parkapalooza: Summer's Swan Song
Published: August 25, 2008

A newly renovated Midland County park will be the site of a free daylong musical extravaganza on Sunday, September 7, as some of Mid-Michigan's finest musical acts headline Parkapalooza on the shores of Sanford Lake. The band lineup, featuring the likes of Empty Canvas, Smokin' Joe Rock, Steel Wheels and other noted groups is the "most diverse we've had in the four years of the event," says Ed Kerns, one of the lead organizers of Parkapalooza. "We have great entertainment bands and we have great musical bands. From jazz, funk, and country, to rock n' roll, we have something for everyone."

Empty Canvas kicks-off the show at Sanford Lake Park at 11:30 a.m. with a unique blend of visual arts and music. During this opening act, front man Mike McMath will create a commemorative painting that the group has agreed to donate to the event's Silent Auction. Following Empty Canvas will be Chromatic Effect (jazz), Magnum (Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Rock), Smokin' Joe Rock (Rock), The Sinclairs (Retro Rock), Steel Wheels (Country), Screaming Casanovas (Rock), and Banana Convention (Rock). Jerkwater Town Boys (Rock) will take the stage from 8 to 9 p.m. to conclude the show.

Music is certainly the main attraction of the day but there are plenty of other family-friendly activities planned as well. These include kids games, a Guitar Hero tournament, a climbing wall, a 60' inflatable obstacle course and teams competing for cash prizes in sand sculpting. A new spray playground, a centerpiece of a $1-million Sanford Lake Improvement Project that was completed earlier this summer, will also be available.  Obscured amid all the excitement surrounding the concert in the park, that last year attracted over 5,000 people, is that Parkapalooza is a way for Midland County to thank the community for supporting its parks.

 "We open the gates for free that day at Sanford Lake Park," says Kim Haller, Midland County Parks & Recreation Director. "It's our Parks Appreciation Day and a perfect opportunity for the public to come out, enjoy the show and look at our new improvements. Hopefully once they see the park and what it has to offer, they'll come back."

 Parkapalooza's sand sculpting contest from noon to 3 p.m. will feature teams from the Saginaw Spirits and Great Lakes Loons but you don't have to be a local sports celebrity to participate.  Phone Midland County parks at (989) 832-6874 or go to for registration information.

 Food vendors, including the park's in-house concessionaire, will also be on site for the event.  Sponsors include Farm Bureau Insurance, Midland County Parks & Recreation, Dstreet Entertainment Foundation, WHNN, F.P Horak, and WILZ. Proceeds from t-shirt sales, sponsorships and other avenues at the charity event are returned to the community though the musical arts-promoting efforts of Dstreet, a non-profit organization. As in past years, a local organization has been identified to receive a donation. This year's beneficiary will be the The Safe and Sound Child Advocacy Center of Midland County.  The concert schedule for the 4th annual Parkapalooza is as follows:


  • Empty Canvas 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Chromatic Effect 1:15 to 2 p.m.
  • Magnum 2:15 to 3 p.m.
  • Smokin' Joe Rock 3:15 to 4 p.m.
  • The Sinclairs Band 4:15 to 5 p.m.
  • Steel Wheels 5:15 to 6 p.m.
  • Screaming Casanovas 6:15 to 7 p.m.
  • Banana Convention 7:15 to 8 p.m.
  • Jerkwater Town Boys 8:15 to 9 p.m.

 For further information, phone (989) 832-6875.

Parkapalooza: summer's swan song on the shores of Sanford Lake Park

A sand sculpting contest is one of Parkapalooza's many fun activities
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