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story.lead_photo.caption News Tribune fileFred Sandbothe, left, dances with Ruth Withers during the 2019 Blue in the Park fundraiser for the MO Blues Association at Memorial Park.

The MO Blues Association is cooking up its annual Blues in the Park fundraiser from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Park Pavilion.

MO Blues President Becky Fredrickson said she is looking forward to welcoming bands from across Missouri, some of whom the blues society has brought in for other events — and she is hoping for cooler weather. There will be free food with donations accepted toward the Blues in the Schools program, a program educating children about the origins and continued relevance of blues music in the classroom.

The event will feature music from three performers, including GrajMahal, Joe Lewis and Buddha Blue. Fredrickson said all three groups bring strong blues talent, and Buddha Blue is "a joy to listen to."

"(The bands are) talented; they're local; they're just really good," she said.

There will also be a raffle for an acoustic guitar and amp, and a dish familiar to last year's event attendees — BBQ sundaes — which consist of pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and a pickle in a cup. Food will be served at the pavilion, and guests are welcome to sit at the provided seating or bring a lawn chair to spread out. They encourage visitors to maintain social distancing and comply with Cole County recommendations for COVID-19 safety.

MO Blues is hoping to raise $2,500 for the Blues in the Schools program from the event, with Fredrickson saying last year's funds provided programming for eight schools in two days. She said it's valuable as many students may have never heard blues music, and it exposes them to a truly American style of music.

"The kids love it, and it plants a seed," Fredrickson said.

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