The Valparaiso community gathered on Sunday for an afternoon filled with music, friends and fun. More importantly, they came together for a cause. The Livin’ It Up Music Festival raised money for Special Olympics of Porter County.
The festival was held at Zao Island for the second consecutive year. John King, a Porter County Special Olympics Board Member, said that he was pleased with the turnout.
“My daughter has special needs,” King said. “My wife and I started this six years ago as a way for my daughter to get more involved socially. We sold a lot of tickets in advance, and I am really happy about that.”
Ryan Wright, owner of Zao Island, said last year’s festival brought in $10,000 for Special Olympics. He expected an even bigger crowd this time around because of Zao’s marketing efforts.
“To run a good business, you have to do things for goodwill,” Wright said. “That is good marketing. Those things make good impressions, and that is one of the main reasons I enjoy putting on this event.”
Ripley Street Music of Homewood, Illinois, was featured on the docket. The band covered the Beatles and Rolling Stones as part of the “British Invasion” theme created by King. Ken Williams, lead singer of Ripley Street, found it tough to contain his enthusiasm.
“This event is truly a gift,” Williams said. “You look at what everybody puts into this day, and it is just an amazing experience.”
Charlotte Vanderbuck-Friedlund enjoyed the event from the comfort of her lawn chair. She lauded the event’s promotion.
“I love music,” she said. “This is a great way to give back to the Special Olympics and children with special needs. And who doesn’t love the British Invasion?”