Saturday’s HarvestFest will celebrate three musicians and kick off the Open Door Cafe outdoor stage

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Three local musicians who have died in the past seven years will be commemorated on Saturday when a new outdoor stage at Open Door Café is dedicated to their memory.

Harvestfest, an outdoor concert, will take place on Saturday, October 15 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. During the event, the stage will be dedicated to the memory of Dennis Reynolds, George Fisher and Thomas Hunter. In lieu of the admission fee, attendees are invited to donate in one of two ways: a donation of $8 or more to fund subsidized meals at the Open Door Cafe or a donation of 16 oz. jars of peanut butter to distribute to school children in the K-12 area who receive weekend meals from HOPE packs.

During the evening, food and drink, including wine and beer, will be available for purchase. Open Door Café will sell a special menu, Seven Dogs Brewery will provide beer and Iron Heart Winery will offer wine for sale. Food, which you can purchase tokens for in advance and on the night of the event, includes a basket of roast chicken, a basket of bratwurst, artisan pretzels, cookies, a children’s meal, apple crisps , popcorn and more.

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Mike Pugh, director of food operations for HOPE, Inc., which owns and operates the Pay What You Can cafe, said the idea of ​​an outdoor cafe scene has been in the works for a few years.

“We decided that building a music scene would be a great way to sponsor events primarily for coffee and to have free events but sell food as a fundraiser for coffee,” Pugh said. .

According to Pugh, the inaugural event was planned by local residents Rusty and Susan Jones to honor Reynolds, Fisher and Hunter.

“They were kind enough to donate to build the stage for the good of the community and to be able to partner with HOPE and the Open Door Café so that we can provide entertainment for the community and at the same time , partner with coffee for coffee fundraising,” Pugh said. “It is an excellent idea.”

Pugh said the cafe hopes to sponsor events throughout the year on the outdoor stage — musical events, plays and more — to help raise funds for the cafe.

According to the HarvestFest website, Saturday’s inaugural jam session will feature various musicians who played with, were friends with or were influenced by the lives of Reynolds, Fisher and Hunter.

“Here in the mountains, our heritage is wrapped in the songs and music born on porches and backyards, traditionally shared person to person and played by ear. Our ancestors played a variety of instruments string and percussion instruments as well as common household items that are easy to move to their neighbour’s porch.The new outdoor stage at the Open Door Café pays homage to this history and heritage, both in its design and use. Resembling a porch, the stage will host live, outdoor musical performances in support of our Zero Hunger and Housing First mission,” the website reads.

Rusty Jones said Reynolds, Fisher and Hunter were all his “beloved friends”.

“Dennis and Thomas were two of the finest musicians and most creative souls I have ever known. They loved playing with other musicians and like most musicians they usually played for free. George was the constant musical companion who loved going to all kinds of music festivals, venues and private gatherings to see and enjoy others playing. They were all generous people who loved doing good things for others more than anything,” he said. he declares.

“As I lost each of these friends, I knew I had to do something special to thank them for all the joy they had given me and continue to give me and so many others. “said Jones, adding that with the consent and help of friends and family, he hosted two major celebrations of life: GeorgeFest in 2015 and ThomasFest in 2016.

“Dennis passed away during the worst of the COVID times, so having a similar event wasn’t possible at the time, and I’ve been planning to do something just as special for him ever since,” Jones said.

In the email, Jones shared memories of her friends.

“I still remember a very special day when Dennis and I went to his house and played for a large family and friends gathered on the porch of his mother’s house. People came from all over the area to sit with us. We sang and played all day. Dennis and I always called SylvatusFest that day so technically I was able to have my DennisFest under the best of circumstances, playing with and enjoying the time with him and his family,” Jones wrote.

“The running joke with George was that he would show up at your house without warning with errands, tell you ‘he’ had invited a group of ‘our’ friends over, and ‘we’ were having a barbecue and a musical jam that night . Thomas was somewhat infamous for showing up and “singing for his supper”, and if you ever encountered him playing anywhere, he always invited you to join him.

Jones said the obvious way to honor his friends was to carry forward their legacy of love for others and to build a stage where musicians can gather to play and nurture the souls of those who come to Open Door Café. to share the simple communion of eating. together.

HarvestFest invites everyone to eat, drink, play and listen to great live music, and share stories about Reynolds, Fisher and Hunter.

For more information about HarvestFest, to purchase tokens for food and beverages, or to donate to Open Door Café, visit the HarvestFest website at www.wytheharvestfest.com

To reach journalist Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 573, or email [email protected]

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