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Downtown Rotary Blues for Food takes place June 14

Although there's no admission fee, organizers do ask for donations to the Sudbury Food Bank. Over the years, Downtown Rotary Blues for Food has brought in 57 tonnes of food and more than $250,000.
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Bluez Brotherz members Joliet Jake Blues and Elwood Blues — a.k.a. Rod Bazinet and Vic Theriault — are gearing up for their yearly performance at Downtown Rotary Blues for Food. Photo by Arron Pickard.
Although there's no admission fee, organizers do ask for donations to the Sudbury Food Bank. Over the years, Downtown Rotary Blues for Food has brought in 57 tonnes of food and more than $250,000.

“It gives us an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than us,” said Bazinet. “I think that's important. No one person or organization can save people. I think it's a community. We have to do our little part.”

Downtown Sudbury Executive Director Maureen Luoma said she's be hard-pressed to imagine Blues for Food without the Bluez Brotherz.

“They get the crowd going, they're a lot of fun, they're high energy,” she said. “I don't know how they do it, especially when Blues for Food is on a hot day.”

Seven of the eight acts at the 24th annual blues event — including the Bluez Brotherz — are local.

The one out-of-town act is Sabrina Weeks and Mike Hilliard, who hail from British Columbia and Toronto, respectively. They're the winners of a 2012 Maple Blues Award.

“They seem to have some great credentials, so we're looking forward to them participating,” Luoma said.

Downtown Rotary Blues for Food also features children's activities, including a performance by magician The Amazing Rene, demonstrations by Sudbury Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Academy and free wagon rides.

The event makes sure the food bank's shelves are full during the summer, when many people forget to donate, said Sudbury Food Bank Executive Director Dan Xilon.

“It fills the coffers right away,” he said.

Because Downtown Sudbury only has a staff of three, it couldn't put on the event without the help of the Sudbury Rotary Club, Luoma said.

Rick Van Oort, who heads up Rotary's festival committee, said the cause is important.

“We decided that we would make Blues for Food happen and we'd stick with it, because it really does help,” he said. “We're raising a lot of food and a lot of money for the hungry.”

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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