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Clarence rocks through a stormy weekend

About 2,500 people came out last weekend to enjoy the blues of Rock the Barn.
With the storms that hit last weekend, Rock the Barn still went on, and it was another successful year for the event.

The clouds rolled in on Friday with strong winds, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. In the past, Rock the Barn has taken place on a Friday and Saturday, but this year, the days were shifted to Saturday and Sunday.

Paul Stephen, co-founder of the event, said they picked a great year to switch the days. Had the event been held on Friday, it might have been a total washout.

The storm hit just as the Rock the Barn committee was setting up and getting ready for the upcoming concerts.

Stephen said they “got lucky not hosting it on Friday,” and that the only damage done was that a tent had tipped over.

Despite the possibility of muddy ground, about 2,500 people came out to enjoy the weekend of blues and BBQ, supporting the Meals on Wheels that delivers to seniors in Clarence, Newstead and Akron.

“We had a very successful day. All the kids had fun and the parents had fun with a weekend of blues,” said Stephen.

He emphasized that the money raised stays right here and goes right back to many Clarence residents.

Stephen estimates that the funds raised are more than $40,000 and could even reach $50,000. This means that in the past nine years, the event has raised about $300,000 for the local Meals on Wheels.

Many local restaurants sold food at the event and a kid’s tent had been set up for children to enjoy. There were several activities, such as face painting and the creation of a mural. The mural was presented to Meals on Wheels, as it is every year.

Designated Drivers of Buffalo sat at the exit of the concert area. The service offered transportation for those who may have had too much to drink and felt it would be unsafe to drive home. Also in attendance were representatives from Meals on Wheels and volunteers from the Clarence Youth Bureau.

With the change of days, this year’s Rock the Barn was a bit of an experiment. Stephen added that Saturday’s turnout was a huge success and that more people came out on Saturday than on Sunday.

Planning for next year’s Rock the Barn will begin in October. Stephen said he is unsure whether the event will take place again on a Saturday and Sunday or if they’ll go back to the original days.

Next year will be the 10-year anniversary of Rock the Barn and he added that the event will be bigger than past years.

“It was exciting this year and next year, it’s going to be even more exciting because it’s the 10-year anniversary,” he said.


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