Festival gives aid to domestic violence victims

By Emily Patton Published:

For more than nine years, Sherry Harrod was a victim of domestic violence.

And now, she is a survivor.

Harrod didn’t go anywhere for help, not even her family. When she finally reached her “breaking point,” she decided it was time to leave the situation for good.

Today, Harrod doesn’t want other women to go through the same abuse that she once did. Since January, she has chaired the Franklin County Council on Family Abuse, which serves the needs of domestic violence victims like her and builds awareness of domestic violence, elder abuse and child abuse throughout the community.

“We want people to know they can survive and overcome this,” Harrod said. “People need to understand this is going on in their community. This could be your sister, aunt or even brother. It can be anyone from any walk of life. There is a need out there for people who think there is nowhere to turn.”

The organization, which was started in 1993 by then Franklin County Judge Executive Bob Arnold, can’t run without donations or fundraisers, like the Capital City Blues and River Festival presented by Farmers Bank.

The outdoor concert is the Council’s primary fundraiser and generates about “a third of its yearly budget of $32,000,” Harrod said.

“Without it, our services would be cut drastically.”

This year’s Capital City Blues and River Festival presented by Farmers Bank is Saturday, Aug. 11 from 4-10 p.m. at the Ward Oates Amphitheater behind the Kentucky Bar Association.

The festival will feature award winning blues sensation Johnny Rawls, world traveling Louisville blues band the King Bees, and Frankfort’s own Here for the Party Band.

Rene True, chair of the Blues and River Festival, said he wants those attending from the community to know that they can provide a “significant contribution.”

“We want everyone to have a good time, but we want people to understand the entire registration fee goes to the Family Council’s cause,” he said. “The overhead costs have already been paid, so their admission fee is going directly to the Council.”

Four years ago, when the festival was formerly “Picnic in the Park,” Laura Leigh Goins said they saw a decline in revenue.

“Like anything that goes on for years, people got tired of it,” said Goins, who has worked actively with both the festival and Council. “We already had a great concert series at the Old Capitol and we needed to come up with something different. We wanted something that made people want to come, even if it wasn’t just for the cause. And we created a magical event.”

When blues were added, Goins said the turnaround was immediately evident and now, it has been tailored for the community to enjoy.

Tickets for the event are also available at the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist & Convention Commission, any Farmers Bank location, the Capital Plaza Hotel, or online at www.capitalcitybluesfestival.eventbrite.com.

Preferred seating tables for eight people with dinner are $350 and $250 without dinner. General admission tickets are available for $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. Dinner provided by the Bistro 241 can be added for $15.

As the festival approaches, Harrod hopes to send a message to those who attend.

“We really want to get the word out that we exist,” Harrod said. “There is a way and we can provide help. We are there to help them in anyway we can.”

To donate to the Council on Family Abuse or to serve as a volunteer, visit www.fccofa.org or call 502-229-6116. For more information on the Blues and River Festival and the Franklin County Council on Family Abuse, tune into Channel 10 on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 8:30 a.m.

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