Annual community celebration connecting local youth with music returns to Blue Water Area

Since 2015, Lake Bonisteel Music Association (LBMA) has been furthering its mission of educating youth and connecting them to music. As the Blue Chili Grass Festival enters its eleventh year, this weekend LBMA will be awarding three students the Gary Sargent Memorial Music Scholarship Fund.

Josh Raynard, President of LBMA, explained that the Gary Sargent Memorial Music Scholarship Fund partners with Guitar Center, providing 12 weeks of private music lessons and funding for an instrument or accessories of their choice.

“If you go to lessons once a week for a half hour, that’s where you get your guidance, but that’s not where you learn to play guitar,” Raynard says. “Learning to play guitar is that time you put in the weeks between the lessons, so we’re going to give them money to be able to spend on an instrument.”



New this year, LBMA is also going to award a scholarship to two school bands. School bands oftentimes rely on parents and fundraisers that the band administers to provide uniforms, instruments, or special trips to take their students on. By providing funding to school bands, Raynard feels it would allow the students to have the adequate supplies and tools they need to perform at their best. Port Huron Northern High School and Capac High School are the candidates so far for two $500 scholarships.

The Blue Chili Grass Festival returns on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Goodells County Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is a $5 gate entry to hear music live from The Gasoline Gypsies, Black Jake & The Carnies, Mike Ward: Psychosongs, Poor Player, Speedo, Kate Hinote Trio, Syd Burnham, Carl Henry, Noble Hobo, One Tuesday Morning, and Dean Barnett.

During the festival, LBMA will be hosting its chili cookoff. For $2, guests can sample chili from six different restaurants and rank them by their favorite. Local favorites such as Moe’s Corner Deli, Smoky Jim’s BBQ, What The Fry, Club 21, Smoke On the Water BBQ & Catering, and Cheap Charlie’s will be showcasing their best chilis. 

“Most of them do a traditional ground beef chili with beans, green pepper, and onions, but we’ve had a fruit chili that had pineapple and other fruits mixed into it,” Raynard says. “We leave it up to them.”

The top three winners will be awarded cash prizes and the first-place winner will also receive a customized, two-foot-tall trophy as well.

For more information about sponsorships, donations, and the event, visit facebook.com/LakeBonisteelMusic.

Read more articles by Danielle Patrick.

Danielle Patrick is a Chesterfield resident who finds passion in writing about the Port Huron community. In addition to her work with The Keel, she is also a freelancer for Epicenter Mt. Pleasant. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Central Michigan University and is pursuing her master’s degree in poetry at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow her on Instagram @_daniellepatrick_.