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Catfish concert: rocking out to improve the community

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Don’t let anyone tell you that rock n’ roll isn’t good for the community.

One night of bright lights and amplifiers can go a long way toward some big-time, long-term improvements. It’s been proven time and again by the Greenville Lions Club and it appears the winning formula will bring familiar results by the end of Saturday night.

The two-night Greenville Catfish Extravaganza begins on Friday and will feature its signature concert on Saturday night. Loverboy will open the show at 6 p.m. Collective Soul takes the stage at 8 p.m. before 3 Doors Down headlines at 10 p.m. 

“It doesn’t go into the pockets of a concert promoter,” said Jeff Ihde, president of the Greenville Lions Club. “All the proceeds go right back into our community — a good portion goes into the park.” 

The concert is in large part the reason why Lions Park has become one of the finest in the Fox Valley. 

Proceeds have gone to construction of its buildings and pavilions. Money raised this year will go toward improvements including tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

The events have given back in less visible ways. They build up their participants.

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, for instance, take on the clean-up duties, and in return, the Lions Club pays for their membership dues. 

As community service organizations, most Lions Clubs have their own signature fundraisers. Manawa, for instance, has its rodeo. 

“I would think ours is fairly unique,” Ihde said.

It brings forth a truth that likely doesn’t exist outside the Fox Valley: if you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of major concert promotion, join your Lions Club.

The challenge begins in matching band availability to the date — and ensuring the available bands would play nice on the same lineup.

Club members have become masters of logistics as the event has grown. They were already at work at the park on Monday.

“It’s a massive amount of work and takes a small army of volunteers,” Ihde said.

All of those hours come to a head starting Friday with community night, which will feature the namesake Great Greenville Catfish Races. The night will also feature children’s activities and fireworks — and more live music. HASband will play from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ask Your Mother will take the stage at 8 p.m.

It’s a great weekend for the community that’s just as much an investment into the community.

It’s shaping up to be another excellent night according to the two most important forecasts.

“Ticket sales are going crazy right now and the weather forecast is looking good,” Ihde said.

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