An annual music festival that supports area pregnancy care centers has expanded its hours and changed its day in hopes of raising more money to support the cause.
Bluegrass on Beshear: Pickin' Life Music Fest is an outdoor event at Jeff and Laura Mills Smith's home at 307 Island Cove Lane on Lake Beshear near Dawson Springs. This year's fundraiser will be on Saturday, Oct. 12, from noon to 7 p.m. Grounds open at 11 a.m.
Bluegrass on Beshear started in 2014 by the Smiths.
With support from two Knights of Columbus councils based in Princeton (including Dawson Springs) and in Hopkinsville, organizers defray event costs upfront so 100 percent of the money made that day will go to three pregnancy care centers. Knights of Columbus is an organization of Catholic men who serve the community in a variety of ways, including volunteerism and fundraising.
The Knights provide food and help with parking.
Neighbors would allow the use of their golf carts and other vehicles to bring guests' chairs and coolers to the event from the parking area.
Admission and parking is free. The event raises money through the sale of food, T-shirts and other items, sponsors, donors and raffle sales.
The first band to take the stage is Bluegrass Revival at noon. Classy and Grassy, with the Singleton boys, will follow at 1 p.m. The Bright Life Farms Choir is next an hour later.
Justamere Bluegrass Band will precede the Waterfront country band at 3 and 4:15, respectively. Mike Thomas and Friends southern rock group will finish up the music set, which starts at 5:30.
The event has been expanded by two hours to allow more time for the bands to play.
In addition, the Crittenden County Class of 1979 will have its reunion at Bluegrass on Beshear.
In its first year, the event raised about $2,500. The fourth year, the Smiths were happy to donate more than $10,000 to the care centers: Alpha in Hopkinsville, Door of Hope in Madisonville and H.O.P.E. Clinics in Benton and Eddyville. Last year, the total raised was more than $14,000.
The Smiths are reaching for more money this year. All of the proceeds, every penny, Laura Smith said, goes directly to the centers.
Guests can purchase food, drinks, hats, T-shirts, wristbands, baked goods, as well as rent kayaks and canoes.
Guests should bring lawn chairs and are welcome to bring coolers.
Prizes will be raffled off. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Stays at Green Turtle Bay and Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park are up for grabs as well as various gift cards, UK football tickets, furniture and many other items. Only 500 tickets will be sold. Winners do not have to be present to win. The prizes available are worth more than $3,000 total.
The event will go on rain or shine and will end with a jam session with the musicians.
In the past, money raised from the event went to help the H.O.P.E. Clinic open a branch in Eddyville and helped purchase an ultrasound machine. Alpha used the money to go toward the purchase of a mobile ultrasound vehicle. Alpha now has an ultrasound inside its clinic.
Each pregnancy care center has registered nurses on staff as well as a doctor, counselors and a board of directors. The centers don't receive state funding, but must meet state requirements to keep doors open.
The centers offer healing classes, which Laura describes as confidential, loving and faith-based, for men and women whose decisions may have haunted them.
Services are free and material needs for life with a baby are accepted. Clients must attend sessions with mentors to earn baby bucks, which can then be spent on items needed to help care for a baby.
The centers have seen significant growth in the last year.
"Which tells me there's a need," Jeff Smith said. "Abortion rates are down and the client list keeps growing."
Businesses in the Princeton/Eddyville/Marion area that sponsor this events are: Green Turtle Bay Resort, First Southern National Bank, Farmer's Bank of Marion, Pagliai's Pizza, Cozy Living Interior and Boutique, McDonald's, Jill Giordano Attny at Law, Akridge Farm Supply, Food Giant, Oasis Southwest Grill, KY Dam Village State Resort Park and Venture River Water Park.