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Jason Hart, left, is president of The Sunshine Center. He’s joined by board member Ann Morse, center, and executive director Mary Cook at the center on Steele Street. They are preparing for Saturday’s Capital City Blues and River Festival, the major fundraiser for the center. (Photo by Philip Case)

The sounds of blues, tinkling glasses, conversation and the cacophony of nature emanating from the trees along the river will all combine beautifully Saturday, Aug. 17, to raise much-needed funds for something not quite so beautiful in our community — abuse in a variety of ways.

The annual Capital City Blues and River Festival is set for 5:30-10 p.m. at the Ward Oates Amphitheater on the Kentucky River behind the Kentucky Bar Association and Liberty Hall. All proceeds will benefit The Sunshine Center.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at all WesBanco locations, online at www.thesunshinecenter.org, at the gate or from Sunshine Center board members. Tickets are $20 per person in advance, $25 at the gate or $250 for a table of eight.

Barbecue and fixin’s will be provided by Wendell Thomas of the Fall City Smokers. Beverages are available from Sig Luscher Brewery, there’s a silent auction, table decorating contest and door prizes. WesBanco is the primary sponsor with a broad range of other local businesses pitching in.

Mary Cook is the executive director of the Sunshine Center, which provides a variety of services to families including a safe house for women and children and a location for supervised visits for children with the non-custodial parent.

She’s been in the position a little more than two months, but is excited about beginning her career helping prepare for the Sunshine Center’s major fundraiser that incorporates services once offered by the Family Abuse Services Inc. (FASI).

The Sunshine Center, in addition to offering a place of supervised visits, provides parenting classes taught by certified professionals and victim therapy for adults and children. A variety of other services are available to those who are victims of domestic violence.

Jason Hart is in his second — and final — year as president of the Sunshine Center board. Some funding comes through grants, but he emphasizes the importance of proceeds from the annual Blues and River Festival to make ends meet.

Thomas donates 100% of the proceeds from the sale of his barbecue to the cause and Sig Luscher donates a portion of sales receipts.

Performing this year

Robbie Bartlett and Tullie Brae will be headlining this year’s Festival ticket.

Bartlett has been performing in Louisville-area nightclubs since 1982. According to the release about her, she started at age four and developed a strong foundation in rhythm and blues and jazz. “Her talent and strong sense of musical direction is electric and engaging.”

You can read more about Bartlett at http://www.robbiebartett.com/

Brae is a “… soulful blues singer and multi-instrumentalist (who) credits her gift to her roots in gospel music, like so many great soul singers before her.”

Brae began singing in the church where her father was the preacher. She played piano, drums, bass and guitar and assumed the role of choir director.

“Her artistic reputation grew with the gospel community which led to touring professionally with gospel groups,” a release said. “Not only are Tullie’s influences steeped in gospel music, while traveling and performing she was influenced by the sounds of blues, soul, country and rock ‘n’ roll.” Find out more about her at www.tulliebrae.com/home.html

Ann Morse is a member of the Sunshine Center board and has been associated with FASI in a variety of ways for many years. She underscores the importance of the Festival for the ongoing work to aid families and children.

For more information about the work of The Sunshine Center, visit www.thesunshinecenter.org. The center is located at 212 Steele St.

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