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Music fest to aid park

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

LEESBURG -- You'd think that, after her more than yearlong quest to make the Butterfly Kisses special needs play park a reality, Traci Henry would take a little down time to let her accomplishment sink in.

But you'd be wrong.

Just a couple of weeks after rounding up a team of volunteers to put the playground equipment that she'd purchased using money from a Pepsi Refresh grant in place, Henry and Leesburg City Councilwoman Rhonda Futch have put together a musical fundraiser to keep the Butterfly Kisses momentum going.

Four local country music artists and a number of sponsors are the key elements in Saturday's Kinchafoonee Days Country Music

Festival, which will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 106 Second St. in Leesburg, adjacent to the play park.

"Our plan all along has been to keep going with this project," said Henry, who spearheaded an online campaign to win a $50,000 grant from softdrink maker Pepsi to build a park equipped for children with special needs. "We're officially a nonprift now with 501 (c)(3) status, and we've already raised an additional $3,000 to improve the park.

"We'll use any money we raise to put in more rubberized mulch, to build a shelter and picnic tables, to paint a mural on the concession stand and to buy more equipment."

For $5, music fans will have an opportunity to support the Butterfly Kisses park and hear four of the best local country artists perform. Hwy 55, featuring Cody Smith, will kick the day of music off at 5 p.m., and he will be followed by Landis Frier at 6 p.m., Phillip Phillips at 7 p.m. and Jodi Mann at 8 p.m.

"All of these musicians usually play for a set price, but they're doing this show on faith," Futch, a telecommunications executive, said.

"Four dollars from each ticket sold will go to the play park, and the other dollar will go into a pool for the artists.

"There had been talk in the community about doing something like this for a while, and it just seemed like a natural fit to get Traci and Butterfly Kisses involved. Hers is a cause everyone can get behind and support."

Attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy food supplied by vendors such as San Joe's Mexican Restaurant, The Trojan Smokehouse, Mamma's Pizza and Backyard Dogs.

Sound equipment and technology for the event is being provided by the LeVee, and other sponsors include Matrix, Pressley Electric, SafeAire, Buffalo Rock Pepsi, Giving Back Ministries, Veolia ES, Party Jumps of Albany, Exchange Club of Albany, Quality Wrecker and the Lee County High School ROTC program.

Gates for Kinchafoonee Days will open at 4 p.m. For more information, call (229) 317-2250.

"The (Butterfly Kisses) playground was a gift to our community and brought our community together," Futch said. "From the (Pepsi Refresh) text-to-vote contest to the community build to this fundraiser to help finish the playground, it's all been about giving."