By Jim Hagerty
Hot Fest for Hospice will be Sunday, July 25, at Sinnissippi Park. The event, which was named Best New Festival in 2006, will feature live music and an Iron-Chef salsa contest by a series of teams. The festival is hosted by Concerts for Charity.
Prizes will be awarded in six salsa-making categories and teams will be judged by festival-goers and a panel of celebrity judges.
This year, Hot Fest is dedicated to Doug Furze, co-founder of Concerts for Charity, who passed away last year.
Furze, who lost his mother to cancer, teamed up with Dom Sawchuk, who lost his wife, and Mike Coulahan in 2003 to form the organization. Concerts for Charity has hosted several charitable concerts and donates its proceeds to charities and schools. Proceeds from Hot Fest go to benefit hospice care providers in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle and Stephenson counties.
The festival was formerly held in the Waterworks parking lot and Davis Park. It was moved to Sinnissippi Park to honor Furze’s vision.
“Doug enjoyed live music and he loved Rockford,” Sawchuk said. “Before his passing in December of 2009, he had a vision of holding the Hot Fest salsa and music festival in Sinnissippi Park for all of the Rockford community.”
Live music begins at noon while the salsa-making contest will heat up throughout the day. The festival wraps at 9 p.m. after winners in the salsa categories, including Best Hot, Best Mild, People’s Choice and Best of the Fest, are announced.
“This is a fun, family-oriented event, featuring great food and the best salsa this side of the border,” Sawchuk added.
Music includes performances by Double L and Mustangs, Michael Banks, Fresh Hot Fritters, Dead Cells and Catfish and the Electric Eels.
Admission is free.
More information about Hot Fest for Hospice can be obtained by calling Sawchuk at (815) 621-4477 or following the event on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=109126002464451&ref=ts).
From the July 21-27, 2010 issue