Diamonds and denim gala

Storms couldn’t stop the Liberty gala

John Johnson, left, Carol Johnson, Armond Canestraro, and Donna Canestraro, right, are seen at the Liberty ARC third annual Denim and Diomonds BBQ and Country Concert. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

AMSTERDAM — Liberty’s third annual fundraising event known as the Denim and Diamonds BBQ and Country Concert was a big hit despite the thunderstorms.

All proceeds from the event are going toward purchasing mechanical lifts for three area programs to help improve the quality of life of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We’re raising money for three portable mechanical lifts for three of our program areas,” said Sharon Holbrook-Ryan, director of public relations and development.

Those three program areas include the Mohawk Day Hab in Canajoharie, its Article 16 clinic on campus at 43 Liberty Dr., Amsterdam and one private residence.

The portable mechanical lifts will give those who have disabilities the opportunity to access these facilities with greater ease.

Sylvia Swift participates in the cork pull at Liberty ARC's Denim and Diamond BBQ and Country Concert on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“Folks who aren’t able to go out in the community, do day trips or even have a vacation, this will enable them to go have those opportunities and their staff be able to better support them and situations,” Holbrook-Ryan said. “It also helps the staff with less physical strains, so it’s better care all around, better support and a better quality of life.”

Holbrook-Ryan said a better quality of life is something Liberty is committed to.

She said one of the locations getting the lifts had asked for the lift saying it was something they needed.

The first year of the fundraising event, all proceeds went toward a community center playground located on the Liberty ARC campus.

“That was a combination of a need from community people [who have] young children who are yet coming to our program — parents saying there aren’t any playgrounds around in the area in Amsterdam that are accessible to children — and having something for the folks that we support.”

Matt Schufelt and Jen Steele perform at Liberty ARC's Denim and Diamonds fundraising event on Saturday. The country band Skeeter Creek performed after. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

All the proceeds from the second annual fundraising event went to creating a traveling theater program.

That program supports several things such as a variety show, bell choir and more.

“We do a lot of creative [events] here and [the traveling theater program] is to support those and bring it out to the community,” Holbrook-Ryan said.

Saturday’s event included live music from Matt Schufelt and Jen Steele, and Skeeter Creek.

“It’s Skeeter Creek’s second time back with us. They’re great supporters of ours to help raise money,” Holbrook-Ryan said.

There was also a cork pull to raise additional funds raffling off wines and liquor. Each person donated $20 and pulled a cork with a number on it that corresponded with one of the items displayed. Each person was guaranteed a bottle of wine or liquor.

All items were donated from local companies such as Black Bear, Wine and Spirits, Route 30 Wine and Liquor and the Winner’s Circle.

“A lot of folks in the community really gave back,” Holbrook-Ryan said.

Also at the event were ice cream desserts donated from Gillette Creamery, craft beer donated from Wolf Hollow and a chicken barbecue from Ed’s Dugout.

“We have a great support from businesses,” Holbrook said. “We really tried to keep it local and support our local businesses as well.”

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