By Louise Scott, Gary Crusader
The weekend of July 30th in the City of Gary will be one to remember as the Summer Madness Concert kicks off the Annual West Side All School Alumni Weekend. It will definitely draw hundreds of people back home to Gary, not only for the outstanding entertainment that will be featured, but also for the highly anticipated West Side events.
The Summer Madness Concert sponsored and promoted by Sharon Chambers of State Farm Insurance in partnership with radio station 106.3 FM and Metro PCS have all endorsed full support of the concert to enable its complete success. It will take place in the U.S. Steel Yard, the home of the Gary South Shore RailCats baseball team beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Scheduled to perform and make this event a success will be legendary groups Cameo, The BarKays, Rodney Trotter, an original with the group Parliament and the Funkadelics, who will do a tribute to Parliament with Trotter actually landing the Mother Ship in the U.S. Steel Yard. According to Chambers, this event will bridge the gap between communities in the Chicagoland area, Porter County and Lake County.
Tickets to the event are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. They can be purchased at the U.S. Steel Yard, Billco. Barbershop, Big Daddy’s BBQ or State Farm Insurance, located at 5275 Broadway in Gary.
Following the concert people will continue to enjoy the weekend as West Side’s All School Alumni Fundraiser will kick-off with its annual dance at the Genesis Convention Center, and the biggest event of the weekend—the annual picnic at Brunswick Park on Sunday.
Toni Hall, a member of West Side’s Class of 1977, had over 700 classmates. Hall said her class, along with the school’s other classes are holding this fundraiser in an attempt to give back to the school and help its current students. She said some of the things the alumni want to help with are athletic uniforms, books, supplies, repairing the school’s track and anything else that will help.
She said, “We are trying to help in some kind of way to bring positive things to the city and help the vendors. The concert at the U.S. Steel Yard will put people to work. All of the classes are asking that people go to the concert first and then support the dance and the picnic.”
According to Hall people will be coming home to Gary for this weekend from as far away as Las Vegas, California, Maryland, Virginia, as well as Indianapolis. Hall said she will definitely be attending because for one it gives her a chance to see former classmates that she wouldn’t see any other time and secondly, because it helps the school by giving back. She said, “I enjoy the West Side Weekend. People get to see their family and friends at an event that West Side has been doing for some 15 years. It is something positive to do in the area.”
The dance will be held from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The cost is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The picnic is free and people are welcomed to bring their own food. She said, “This all alumni weekend is the biggest thing that happens during the summer in Gary and we all should support it.”
Brian Lyter, general manager of the Gary South Shore RailCats said the Summer Madness Concert and the number of people they are expecting will be tremendous for the city of Gary. Lyter hopes that it will allow the stadium to do more concerts in the future.
He said, “We hold over 6,000 seats in the stadium and all of the concessions will be open. We are excited to partner with Sharon Chambers and look forward to a great concert. This will be my first concert since I’ve been working at the stadium, so I know I’ll enjoy it.”