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If you have been to McAuliffe’s Pub, 3700 Meachem Rd., you know that everyone there knows everyone. And the owner, J.J McAuliffe, is heavily involved in the community. Even if you haven’t seen him around, he’s the backbone behind the events you attend. 

Blank-fest, a fundraising event, created by Ken Rowell in New York over 20 years ago, made its way to Racine nearly 14 years ago. The event is typically held at McAuliffe’s Pub, but due to the COVID19 crisis, it will be held virtually this year. The event will be held on Ron Purtee’s Youtube page.

On Saturday, May 16, 2020, at 5:45 pm the Livestream event will begin. The performances will start at 6 pm. 

Local personality, writer, and comedian, Ron Purtee wears many hats and one of them being a Blankfest organizer. Ron couldn’t resist the opportunity to get involved in collecting necessary items for the homeless. 

What is Blank-fest

Blank-fest of Wisconsin is an event where the public is invited to donate a blanket at the door to gain admission to a series of musical acts at McAuliffe’s. This year will look a little different for the event, but the mission is still the same. 

“At the end of the day, I take care of my disabled mom, so I know how important it is to do this virtually. We know that it is important to keep Racine safe, but still give back to those in need at HALO,” says Purtee.

In the years prior, this event would require a blanket, toiletry item, or a $10 donation. But this year, only monetary donations will be accepted. These funds will directly benefit HALO Inc Racine.

What to expect at Blank-fest 

Musical artists such as William Elliott Whitmore, Conan Neutron, Dave Arcari, K9 Kev, Tim Midyett, and more will perform via Youtube Livestream. Listeners will have the ability to hear from several acts and have the chance to donate to HALO in Racine. Musicians donate their time to perform, from the comfort of their home, and viewers will have the opportunity to give back to their community with the click of a couple of buttons. 

If you’d like to donate after the event, you are still able to do so. If you visit haloinc.org, in the top right corner, you will see a “Donate” icon. When you click this icon, you will be able to enter your information and donation amount. They ask that you mention “Blankfest” in the prompt so that the finances can be appropriately organized. 

Blankfest organizer, Ron Purtee says, “it is important that Racine is involved in the event. At the end of the day, we are all we have. We are not a big city, we are not a major metropolitan area, and if you can’t help your neighbor, then what’s the point? We all see the divide, but we must be in this together. Blankfest brings us together; we are what we have.” 

To view the event, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/ronpurtee

Blankfest is an event that continually keeps giving. When the event is over, the impact is still directly helping those in our Racine community who are facing the hardship of homelessness.  



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