Eight grade Blue team beats Dowagiac

Published 7:46 am Saturday, November 13, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - An annual benefit concert in memory of Michael A. Minix is moving out of the park and into the heartland.
Organizers of "Mikefest," a benefit concert which was held at the Riverfront Amphitheater the past two years, will hold this year's event at Heartland Music Hall, 222 S. Michigan St., in South Bend, Ind.
Tickets will be available at the door for $10.00.
The seven-band show is put on by the Grateful Optimist Club of Niles. The club, named after Minix's favorite band, the Grateful Dead, was founded after his death in 2002 to ensure his four children, Malena, Grant, Michael and Chelsea, would never have to worry money for higher education.
All proceeds from the event, which starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 3 a.m., go to a fund that will pay for Minix's children's education, Tom Majerek said.
The first two concerts raised approximately $15,000 for the scholarship fund, with much of the money coming from sponsors, donations, and ticket sales.
With money raised during the first Mikefest, the Grateful Optimist Club had purchased a swinging bench at Riverfront Park, which faces the home where Minix lived.
This year's event will also raise money through a 50-50 raffle drawing.
Majerek said the decision to move the event to a new location was influenced by last year's weather, which saw lower than expected attendance due to rain on the day it was held.
Another reason for the move was to make it more accessible to more of the Michiana area, Majerek said.
The event was held in September in the past, but the Grateful Optimist Club decided it would be more fitting to hold the concert in November, the month Minix was born in, Majerek added.
The event also starts later in the evening than past shows. Majerek said the change would make the concert easier to attend for people who may have plans for the evening.
Minix, who was an environmental driller, was 35-years-old when he passed away after being electrocuted in a work-related accident in 2002.
He was born in South Bend, Ind., in 1966, but grew up in Niles. Majerek met Minix at a Grateful Dead concert in Indianapolis in 1991.
The club decided to put on a music event as a way to remember Minix' life because he loved music and had such an open mind for different kinds of music.
The seven bands playing the show offer an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, rock, bluegrass, and blues.
Many of the bands playing have either played at previous Mikefests, or contain band members who knew Minix well.
The headlining band this year, Soul Shaker, played at the 2003 event. The Fiddlin' Roger Osborne Bluesgrass Band has played at both previous events and will play this year as well.
Majerek also said the event acts as a reunion of sorts for friends and family of Minix who haven't seen each other or some time.