by Dennis Dalman
The annual “Joetown Rocks” concert featuring the The Killer Vees and other performers will kick off the annual two-day Fourth of July celebration in downtown St. Joseph.
The free concert will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Gates for seating will open at 5 p.m. After the concert, at 10:15 p.m., a fireworks display sponsored by Bernick’s will be visible in the downtown area, including from the concert site just east of the St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Students from St. Joseph Catholic School will open the show by singing some songs. At 6:15 p.m., an all-women band dubbed Miss Darling Jane will take the stage. At 7:15 Quinn Sullivan and his band will perform. A performer since age 11, the Massachusetts-born Sullivan has performed in famous venues worldwide, including Madison Square Garden and the Montreux (Switzerland) Jazz Festival. He has also performed on many TV programs, including the Ellen Degeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
At 8:45 p.m. The Killer Vees with guest star Edan Everly will entertain the audience with songs old and new. Everly is the son of Don Everly of the late great duo The Everly Brothers (Don and Phil) The core members of The Killer Vees are descendents of the late rock legend and hitmaker Bobby Vee, who put down strong roots in St. Joseph and the surrounding area many years ago. The core of The Killers Vees are Bobby Vee’s sons Jeff and Tommy Velline; a nephew, Matt Velline; and Vee’s grandson, Bennett Velline. Matt Velline’s wife, Julie, also sings in the band.
Others in the band include Brian C. Peters on steel guitar, Kale Reed on fiddle and Alex Green on vocals.
The Killer Vees were formed in 2008 by Tommy, Jeff, Matt and Julie. Vee’s sons had been performing backup off and on for years for musical giants like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney and for their own father, Bobby. The Vellines were instrumental in starting the Joetown Rocks event in St. Joseph 16 years ago, a tradition that continues with this concert.
July 4 events
At 10 a.m., the big parade will start off the Fourth of July celebration on main street with marching bands, dancers, novelty acts, floats, clowns, tossed candy, and more. The parade is sponsored by the St. Joseph Lions Club.
After the parade, at about 11 am., celebrants will gather on or near the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic Church for food, refreshments, fun games, a candy stand and bingo. A band named Stearns County Dirt will perform starting at 11:30 a.m.
At 1:30 p.m., the annual quilt auction will take place inside the church, with 24 queen-size quilts, several lap quilts, 13 baby quilts and one wall hanging. They were all hand-made by the St. Joseph Parish Quilt Group. To get a preview of each quilt, go to the following website: www.churchstjoseph.org
Other options in St. Joseph for the Fourth of July celebration include the following:
For children, there will be many game and activities, including a merry-go-round, face painting and a mini-train ride.
Chances for a raffle drawing with more than 100 prizes can be purchased at the Information Stand, located right in front of the church. The drawing will take place at 3:30 p.m. inside the Parish Center, which is attached to the church. Winners do not need to be present. They can be notified they won via mail as long as complete mailing information is written down on the raffle tickets after purchasing them.
Commemorative Joetown Rocks T-shirts can be purchased at the Information Stand beside the church and also to the right of the Sunday night concert stage.
The Country Store in the Parish Center will offer for sale new and used household items.
A “Linen and Things Stand” inside the Parish Center will have available new hand-crafted items that include wood crafts, greeting cards and items that are knitted, crocheted, stitched or embroidered – such things as towels, doilies and table runners.
There will also be a Ring Toss game with prizes and a Cake Walk featuring homemade cakes as prizes.
Throughout the day food-and-refreshment stands on the church grounds will feature Joeburgers, pizza, cheese curds, mini-donuts and hot dogs. A Mexican Stand will offer foods like tacos, nachos, chips-and-salsa.
The St. Joseph Parish Festival is one of the oldest in the nation. The first one took place in 1906 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parish’s founding in 1856.
That 1906 festival was organized to help raise money to buy as Schwalbach clock for the church’s tower. To this day, 116 years later, the festival remains the church’s largest annual fundraiser.
The Joetown Rocks concert event began in 2006 as part of the parish’s 150th anniversary, with a concert by Bobby Vee, Family and Friends. Joetown Rocks draws an estimated 18,000 people each year from as far away as Canada and England.
The Parish Fourth of July Festival attracts an estimated 20,000 people to the celebration.