Annual Mikefest set for Sunday

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A nine-band benefit event in the memory of Michael A. Minix will be held at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater this Sunday.
The event, which is simply called "Mikefest," is put on by the Grateful Optimist Club.
The club, named after Minix's favorite band, the Grateful Dead, was founded after Minix's death last year to ensure his four children, Malena, Grant, Michael and Chelsea, would never have to worry about the financial obligations of higher education, said Tom Majerek, who is one of 25 people behind the event.
All proceeds from the event, which starts at noon and goes until 10 p.m., goes to a fund that will help pay for Minix's children's education.
Majerek, however, said the club is also looking into creating a local Minix education scholarship as well.
Minix, who was an environmental driller and loved his children, was 35 years old when he passed away after being electrocuted in a work-related accident.
He was born in South Bend, Ind., in 1966, but grew up in Niles in a loving family.
Majerek said the club, after discussing what would be a good way to honor Minix, decided to put on a music event because Minix loved music and had such an open mind for different kinds of music.
That's why blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock and hard rock bands will perform at the event.
Last year's event raised $10,000, which came from sponsors, donations and people who purchased tickets at the event, Majerek said.
This year only the main band is charging a fee to come and play, he said.
Majerek hopes this year's event, which features The Elwood Splinters Blues Band, who is fronted by "Old Harv," a local blues legend who hosts a blues show on WVPE, a South Bend, Ind.-based radio station, will draw a good crowd.
Two tents will be up in front of the amphitheater to shade for the sun and keep the rain out.
Majerek encourages people to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets, but discourages people from bringing alcohol.
With money raised during last year's event, the Grateful Optimist Club has purchased a swinging bench that has been installed at Riverfront Park, facing the home where Minix lived.
Majerek said the club is also plans putting up a memorial in the park in Minix's name.
In between "Mikefest", Majerek said the club also does other things to raise money for Minix's children.
Although the event is in honor of Minix and raises money for his childrens education, Majerek also said its a great event for Niles.
Tickets are available at the event.
Event Schedule:
Noon – Jim Leach Trio
1 p.m. – Wood N' Nickel
2 p.m. – The Peppertones
3 p.m. – Bunny's Brother
4 p.m. – Boogiefoot
5 p.m. – Soul Shaker
6 p.m. – Fiddlin' Roger Osborne
7 p.m. – 23
8 p.m. – The Elwood Splinters Blues Band.

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