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Anyone that has been to McAuliffe’s Pub, 3700 Meachem Rd., knows how well the patrons know each other; “newbies” quickly become friends. The pub has always fostered a real sense of community. And the owner, JJ McAuliffe, is heavily involved in the community. Even if you haven’t seen him around, he’s the backbone behind the events that are so faithfully attended. 

Ron Purtee, local personality, writer and comedian, wears many hats; one is that of a BlankFest organizer. Ron couldn’t resist the opportunity to get involved in collecting necessary items to provide for the homeless.

BlankFest, a fundraising event created by Ken Rowell in New York over 20 years ago, made its way to Racine nearly 14 years ago. Last year, the event was held virtually on Ron Purtee’s Youtube page. Together, McAuliffe and Purtee will cohost the in-person event this year.

BlankFest organizers are happy to be back in person. Purtee says, “it’s only going to get colder. People need to be warm and there is a huge need for it this year.” Donations will provide items needed at local homeless shelters.

BlankFest in Wisconsin

This event is the best of both worlds: you get to listen to great music while supporting a good cause. So what is BlankFest Wisconsin? This twofold event invites the public to donate new and gently-used blankets at the door as the admission fee to a series of musical acts at McAuliffe’s. You can also bring toiletries to gain entry. These donations will help keep local shelters stocked during the cold Wisconsin winters.

Whether people aren’t able to attend, or maybe they want to donate even more, donations will be accepted even after BlankFest ends. Simply visit HALO, Inc.’s donation page online. Be sure to mention “Blankfest” in the prompt for the donations and finances to be appropriately organized. 

BlankFest Perfomances

Friday, Dec. 10

Doors open at 7 p.m., followed by music at 8 p.m.

Friday’s lineup will be EchoPoint, Scarlet Curve, and Bascom Hill.

Saturday, Dec. 11

Doors open at 7 p.m., followed by music at 8 p.m.

Saturday’s lineup will be Dead Finger, Terminus Victor, and No Hero’s.

Sunday Dec. 12

From 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Jim McVeigh’s Open Irish Session will play and finish out the weekend of concerts.

Vaccines Required

To gain entry to BlankFest, you must be vaccinated. Please bring your vaccination records to show at the door. “We are taking all the precautions,” said Purtee with regard to COVID safety.

Holidays in Racine County

Like stories about the holidays? Read more on the Racine County Eye


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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