The bash of the summer

The Davidson County Band jams at the 2018 Community Street Bash. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

At the end of summer each year, the patch of street between the Dartford Mill Pond and Town Square is blocked off and a large white tent is set up for a free community event.

The third-annual Green Lake Community Street Bash will take place Saturday, Aug. 31 from 6 to 10 p.m., with funds raised from the event benefitting local non-profits.

Food vendors in attendance will be Thunderboss Bar and Grill, Stack Farm Food Co., La Playita Taco Truck and Hog Father’s Catering.

Pedestrians line up to order from the La Playita taco truck at a previous street bash. submitted photo

The event also will have two cash bars, where patrons may purchase beverages inside the tent.

The Chicago-based Davidson County Band will blend rock and country music when they take the stage at 7 p.m.

The band has played at the Community Street Bash since the event’s inception.

The party was created by philanthropists Mike and Jill Havey to support the projects of  the local American Legion Post, Green Lake Association and Green Lake Renewal through free-will donations.

“Originally, my wife and I were going to have a band come up and play for a private party,” event sponsor Mike Havey said of the initial Community Street Bash. “We thought, “Why not let the whole community enjoy it?’”

According to Town Square Marketing Manager Jorge Gutierrez, the event since its inception has become a popular end-of-summer tradition in downtown Green Lake.

“I think it helps build up the community because you have all of these paid events in the summer, but it’s important to have these free events for the people who can’t participate in the paid events,” Gutierrez said.

Havey noted folks going to the event aren’t pressured to donate and that benefitting the local organizations is an added bonus for attendees.

“All of the proceeds go to those local organizations,” Havey said. “My wife and I underwrite the whole thing — the band, the drinks, everything is paid for.”

He noted the event continues to grow each year, estimating about 600 people attended the inaugural street bash and about 800 patrons came to last year’s party.

Havey believes the event brings the community together for a night of music, food, drinks and, most importantly, fun.

“I can’t tell you the number of people who have come up to us and said, ‘Thank you for doing this; we feel like we aren’t included in some of the things on the lake,’” Havey said.

The event is free each year to ensure anyone, regardless of income, can come and enjoy live music by the water.

“This is a very inclusive party,” Havey said.

The event not only serves as a celebration of community, but also of the work done by local non-profits.

“All of the non-profits in Green Lake are great causes and they need money,” Havey said. “All of these entities do great work and deserve more money than their budgets will allow. The more people come and the more people spend money, the more these groups will benefit.”

In order to throw the party each year, the Haveys are responsible for reserving the tent and the band months in advance.

“In the summer time, bands are in demand and there’s only so many Saturdays in the summer,” Havey said. “Same with the tents; it’s kind of prime wedding season and outdoor event season.”

For Havey, seeing the community come together each year and seeing folks enjoy the street bash makes it all worthwhile.

“I think that’s what’s most rewarding,” Havey said. “Seeing everybody have a good time.”