By Bob Balgemann


Variety is the key word when it comes to describing the upcoming Machesney Park Family Festival.

Whether it’s music, activities or food, the third annual celebration has something for most everyone.

All this will unfold from 1 to 10 p.m. July 23 at various locations in front of the Machesney Towne Center, formerly the Machesney Park Mall, on North Second Street.

Actually, carnival rides will get a head start by being open starting at 11 a.m. They’ll also be around July 21-22, between 5 and 10 p.m.

But the day is mostly about music, which will kick off at 1 p.m. and continue until almost 9 p.m.

Epiphany, out of Rockford and formed in 2004 by Mike and Vicky Gartner, is an award-winning Christian band that will play from 6:40 until 7:30 p.m.

Vicky Gartner, the lead singer, said their group evolved from the start of contemporary worship services at Calvary Lutheran Church. Its purpose is “to bring God into the life of others through music and community service.”

The band has received five consecutive Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) awards as the best in the Christian Artist category. With that came membership in the local Hall of Fame.

Members of the band, in their 40s, are active in different Rockford-area churches. The group isn’t based in one particular church, Vicky Gardner said, in an effort to show the bigger picture of Christianity.

Performers play the accoustical guitar, electric guitar, keyboard and bass guitar.

Epiphany’s website contains links to a number of Rockford-area churches including GPS Faith, Grace United Methodist, St. Paul Lutheran, Alpine Lutheran, Hilltop Ministry, Grace Lutheran and Royal Oak Christian. Also on the website are links to the Alpine Kiwanis Club and GiGi’s Playhouse, an educational and activities center off North Second Street for people of all ages who are Down Syndrome.

Sheltered Picks will conclude the day, playing from 7:45 until 8:45 p.m.

This is a three-member band made up of Trevor Tauch, lead guitarist; Colin Adams, drums and back-up vocals; and Nathan Tauch, lead vocals and bass. It was formed in 2009 by Trevor and Nathan Tauch, with Colin joining them in 2015. The group plays a variety of music, such as classic rock, jazz, funk and progressive.

The band’s first album, “Dawn of the Pick,” was released in January 2016.

Like Epiphany, Shattered Pick has won a RAMI award, for Youth Charity Jam in 2013.

Other musicians performing during the afternoon of July 23 are the leadoff group, Gateway Performing Arts, with a variety show; Southern Outkasts, 1950s and ’60s oldies with country rock; and Gina Meeks, contemporary music.

The talent show will begin at 2:20 p.m. and will last about one hour and 40 minutes. Right after that there will be a canine demonstration by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.

One recent addition was a return by county animal control with some of its animals.

All entertainment will be on the stage provided by the Rockford Park District. Other sponsors of the festival are Trickie Enterprises, Ruby-10-Machesney, North Park Public Water District, Rock River Disposal and Friends of Machesney Park.

Admission is free.


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