St. Jude Benefit Concert returns to downtown McAlester

·2 min read

Sep. 2—An annual concert series benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is coming back to downtown McAlester.

The St. Jude Children's Hospital Benefit Concert moved last year to downtown McAlester and is set to return Sept. 10 at the old Ice House parking lot.

"We kind of made it an all-day event so people could casually walk in and listen, stay as long as they want to," said organizer Robby VanVekoven. "And we encourage people to bring their lawn chairs and just come enjoy the show."

VanVekoven said the event kicks off at 1 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Ice House parking lot, at the corner of Fifth Street and Choctaw Avenue with some of the best local bands playing all day.

Chili's previously hosted the fundraiser for nearly a decade before scaling it back two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event returned in full scale last year and moved to the downtown location to accommodate the crowd that organizers said continued to grow throughout the years.

"It just continues to grow," VanVekoven said, adding Choctaw Avenue will be blocked off around the Ice House and Spaceship Earth Coffee to make room for the concerts and a cornhole tournament hosted by the Dirt Baggers.

VanVekoven said bands will perform throughout the day and into the evening as singer and songwriter Mike McClure is set to play a solo show at Spaceship Earth Coffee at 8 p.m. that night.

He said Angel's Diner will cater a biergarten, Vicars Powersports will help blocked the road, and several food vendors will be available at the event.

"All proceeds go to St. Jude — which we know St. Jude takes no money from parents that have ill, cancer-stricken children," VanVekoven said. "There's no better organization as far as giving support to families that have that need so we want to do our part."

Donations to St. Jude can be made at the event. VanVekoven said the local group donates roughly $10,000 to $25,000 each year to St. Jude through funds raised at the annual concert and a golf tournament.

The charity golf tournament is set this year for Sept. 17 at Arrowhead Golf Course. Anyone can register for the tournament by calling Candace Watkins at 918-429-8013.

Artists booked for the Sept. 10 concert include:

—Will Huckabee/Robby V— An acoustic song swap from 1-to-1:45 p.m.

—RosCo and the Heads — 2-to-2:45 p.m.

—Joe Disilvestro — 3-to-3:45 p.m.

—Gerald and the Thirds — 4-to-4:45 p.m.

—Washroom Moose — 5-to-5:45 p.m.

—TJ Wicks — 6-to-6:45 p.m.

—Lonnie Lay — 7-to-7:45 p.m.

—Blue Zebra with Chris Morris — 8 p.m.-to-???

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com.