This Sunday is a good day to listen to some music, eat some food, and give back to local organizations surrounding Rochester.

Bluegrass gospel worship and pancake brunch

Do you enjoy bluegrass, worship, and pancake breakfasts? The Douglas United Methodist Church fundraiser on Sunday will feature all three.

The 9 a.m. service will see the Clay Hess bluegrass band performing gospel music.

Admission to a pancake brunch following the service will raise funds to pay off the loan for an accessibility ramp.

In 2015, the church turned 100 years old, and that is when members of the church started raising money for a ramp. Many members have been attending the church for generations and much of the congregation is 80 years or older, according to board member Nancy Busch.

“The stairs from the sanctuary to the basement were pretty steep, wouldn’t have passed any regulations,” Busch said.

Members fundraised through meals, silent auctions and a bazaar, raising almost half of the $40,000 for materials. A loan was taken out to cover the remaining $25,000 and the ramp was completed in 2017.

The new indoor ramp now enables people who have trouble navigating the stairs to access the basement and easily enter the sanctuary.

“Now anyone can get to our church and come and join any event they want to and be able. We even have one person who comes with his motorized scooter down our ramp,” Busch said.

This will be the third time that a bluegrass group has performed during service at the church preceding a breakfast fundraiser. Church member and Loy Show Barn co-owner Becky Schlegel brings in bands that perform at the country music venue.


Outdoor afternoon county and rock concert

Pack a picnic and head out to watch Branded perform a benefit concert from noon until 2 p.m. for Zollman Zoo in Oxbow Park. The band will take the stage at Berne Wood-Fired Pizza.

Branded band member Michael Hardwick saw photos of Zollman Zoo animals standing in a foot of water after heavy rains in June. He has an appreciation for the zoo, and came up with the idea of performing a free concert and collecting donations.

“Everybody had some sort of connection to the zoo or the park out there,” Hardwick said.

Hardwick, who lives in Mantorville, has taken his kids to the zoo multiple times to see the animals.

The band’s lead singer, Kasey Kucker, participates in a running group that frequently runs on the trails at Oxbow.

“The zoo is just really like this little gem in Olmsted county,” Hardwick said.

The band presented their idea to staff at Berne Wood-Fired Pizza, who along with Zwingli United Church of Christ, agreed to host the concert.

The funds raised at the event will be donated to Zollman Zoo to help with the cost of any damages to the zoo or the park from the flooding earlier in the summer.

While the event will be hosted at Berne Wood-Fired Pizza, no pizza will be sold at the event. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to pack their own food and drink to enjoy while listening to the country and rock music performed by Branded.

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Sara was the 2019 summer intern in the Post-Bulletin newsroom. She is a student at the University of Missouri, where she studies journalism. She plans to graduate in 2021.