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2017 Blue Ridge Fest Charity Fundraiser Brings Oldies Music, Classic Cars, and Good Times
Recently Retired Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative Employee Alan Blackmon is honored during Blue Ridge Fest.
Music by Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Contours, Jim Quick and the Coastline, and The Flashbacks
By Karen Brewer

                
Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

At the 2017 Blue Ridge Fest, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative President and CEO Charles Dalton and Communications Manager Terry Ballenger showed appreciation to Alan Blackmon, who recently retired from Blue Ridge Electric due to illness. 
"He chaired our employee group that ran this festival when we started the festival 20 years ago," said Dalton. "This gentleman chaired the committee and really directed all of the activities of our employees. Alan Blackmon had to retire. He had a liver transplant. He’s back up and running. We're so proud of Alan."  Below, read the article on Blue Ridge Fest and view more than 150 photos, including of the classic car cruise-in, attendees enjoying the event, and musical groups The Flashbacks, Jim Quick and the Coastline, The Contours, and Little Anthony and the Imperials.


            The 20th annual Blue Ridge Fest, held at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative's equipment facility in Pickens, South Carolina the evening of Friday, April 28, 2017, brought good times with hundreds of classic cars in the Upstate's largest classic car cruise-in, oldies and beach music by headline acts, food and non-alcoholic beverages, and a chance to win $10,000 or $5,000 or $2,000 -- all for a great cause, to raise money to benefit 12 local charities in the four counties that Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative services.
             In addition, longtime Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative employee Alan Blackmon, who recently retired due to having had a liver transplant, was honored at the Blue Ridge Fest by President and CEO Charles Dalton and Communications Manager Terry Ballenger, who gave him a plaque and publicly acknowledged his assistance in planning the Fest for nearly two decades. Dalton also introduced two guests, who came on stage and congratulated Blackmon. "He chaired our employee group that ran this festival when we started the festival 20 years ago," Dalton said of Blackmon. "This gentleman chaired the committee and really directed all of the activities of our employees. Alan Blackmon had to retire. He had a liver transplant. He's back up and running. We're so proud of Alan. I have a couple of special guests that I want to join Alan on the stage right now. Senator Lindsey Graham wants to congratulate you, Alan, and Supreme Court Justice John Kittredge wants to congratulate you, Alan. These two special guests are here to help us celebrate Alan Blackmon. Alan, thank you so much. This is a tribute to you."


Slideshow photographs below of President and CEO Charles Dalton, Terry Ballenger, Alan Blackmon, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Justice John Kittredge by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

            Dalton welcomed and thanked the crowd of thousands for their attendance and for supporting the Blue Ridge Fest, and he also thanked and recognized all of the sponsors who donated to the Blue Ridge Fest, which gives all net proceeds to local charitable organizations. "It's good to see everybody," he said. "Another great crowd. I hope you're having fun. Thank you for being here, and thank you for supporting all of the charities this money goes for. We could not do it without some sponsors we have had for many years, and we have a group of sponsors, I think five, that have been with us 20 consecutive years. This is the 20th year. We want to recognize those folks."
            


Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Jeff Bright ('Dr. Jazzy Jeff', a d.j. from WFBS Sunny 107.9 FM in Oconee County) served as Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 Blue Ridge Fest. He noted that, through the years since Blue Ridge Fest's beginning, $2.2 million has been donated to local charities.

Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative President and CEO Charles Dalton thanked the crowd and thanked the sponsors for supporting the Blue Ridge Fest, which benefits local charities.


        
          Some of the sponsors came to the stage as Dalton called out the names of their companies, and he presented each of them with a Blue Ridge Fest plaque.
          Jeff Bright ('Dr. Jazzy Jeff') from WFBC Sunny 107.9 FM radio in Oconee County, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 Blue Ridge Fest, noted that, in the past 19 years, $2.2 million has been donated from Blue Ridge Fest proceeds to charities in Pickens, Oconee, Anderson, and Greenville Counties.


Slideshow photographs below of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative President and CEO Charles Dalton, Communications Manager Terry Ballenger, and Blue Ridge Fest sponsors by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine



               The 12 charities benefitting from the 2017 Blue Ridge Fest are: Anderson Interfaith Ministries, Collins Children's Home, Dot's Kitchen of Westminster, Feed a Hungry Child, Helping Hands of Clemson, Hidden Treasure Christian School, Meals on Wheels Anderson, North Greenville Crisis Ministry, Oconee Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Ripple of One, The Dream Center of Pickens County, and United Christian Ministries.



Slideshow photographs below of folks enjoying the 2017 Blue Ridge Fest by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

            Since Blue Ridge Fest began in 1998, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative employees have volunteered their time each year by setting up for the Fest, selling concessions and raffle tickets, directing traffic and parking, and cleaning up afterward. The donation of their time and effort saves Blue Ridge money, resulting in more profit and proceeds available for the charities.



Slideshow photographs below by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Slideshow photographs below of classic cars at the Blue Ridge Fest Cruise-In by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

               Four musical groups provided entertainment for the evening:  The headliners Little Anthony and the Imperials (whose 1958 debut single "Tears On My Pillow" sold more than 1 million copies), The Contours (one of Motown's first acts, signed in 1960, who had Motown's first million-seller in "Do You Love Me?"), Jim Quick and the Coastline (who have toured the Southeast since 1992) , and The Flashbacks (a local group from Easley who sing and play oldies).




Slideshow photographs below of The Flashbacks by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Slideshow photographs below of Jim Quick and the Coastline by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Slideshow photographs below of The Contours by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Slideshow photographs below of Little Anthony and the Imperials by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine