A fundraiser is quintupling in size this year, with the sponsor bringing in five times the local bands and expanding the hours to benefit local slowpitch softball.
This year, the annual street party benefit held by 15 West, in its 15th year, will start earlier and have five local bands, with the cover charge going to the Havre Men’s Slowpitch Softball Association.
15 West owner Lisa Morrell said she had been to similar events that have more bands, so she and her staff members decided to expand their event.
“We just thought it would be fun, ” Morrell said.
John Gertson, president of the Havre slowpitch association, said the money is part of an ongoing effort to improve the softball complex, located just south of town where 5th Avenue turns into Beaver Creek Highway.
“There’s lots more we want to do up there, ” Gertson said.
He said interest in the association has grown substantially in the last five years, after a period of decline. The men’s league is growing, a co-ed section has been brought back, the complex is being used by Montana State University-Northern for intramural softball, and major improvements have been made at the complex itself.
The success in revitalizing the association shows — this year the Taco John’s team took fourth place at the state tournament in Great Falls.
Work already completed at the complex includes replacing an old, worn-out irrigation system, putting in new grass and gravel, erecting 1,200 feet of new fence, and refurbishing and re-opening the restrooms and concessions stand.
The next project the association is focusing on is installing a playground for use by children from the families participating in or watching the games, Gertson said. The money from the 15 West benefit probably will be earmarked for that.
Morrell said the annual event has benefited many organizations over the last few years, with a recent focus on the softball association. Other organizations helped have included the Havre Youth Baseball Association and the Havre Youth Hockey Association.
The street party will be held in the parking lot west of 15 West, which is fenced off for the event. The barbecue and music is set to start at 9 a. m. Saturday.
The bands slated to perform are: Blind Luck, classic rock; Borderline, also classic rock; Shades of Blue, blues rock; Milk River Band, country and country rock; and Plowed Under, country and old rock.
The order in which the bands play will be set through a random draw.
Proceeds from the $3 door charge to enter the event will be donated to the slowpitch association.
Morrell said designated drivers will be available to take people home from the street party, and TownHouse Inns of Havre is offering discounted rates for people coming for the benefit.
“Just mention the 15 West outdoor party, ” she said.