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From Zoostock to Locstock: Cancer society has new fundraiser

  • Joe Krushinsky, a volunteer at Zoostock in Lansford and who is active in the American Cancer Society, holds up poster stating changes for Zoostock in 2019. It will be moved to the Lehighton Outdoor Center (LOC) at 123 Lehigh Drive, Lehighton, and will be renamed Locstock and Barrel. Next to Krushinsky is Jerry McAward, owner of the Lehighton Outdoor Center. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published September 03. 2018 08:56PM

At Zoostock on Monday, the torch was passed from the people who founded the Labor Day music festival 20 years ago and kept it intact for two decades to the person who will be in charge in 2019.

The event, held in Lansford since it originated, is not only getting new leadership, but a new name and a new home.

The new location will be at the Lehighton Outdoor Center (LOC), 123 Lehigh Drive, Lehighton, and will be called “Locstock and Barrel.”

Jerry McAward, owner of the outdoor center, said besides a free outdoor concert, he will revive a former Zoostock fundraiser, Rafting Against Cancer, which will be held on the same day.

Lisa Hiles, a founder of Zoostock, handed the torch to McAward on the Zoostock stage between band performances. Zoostock has been held on the grounds of the Sports Zoo in Lansford since its founding.

In the past 19 years, Zoostock has raised $319,000 for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. Hiles said her goal this year was to raise $31,000 to bring that overall total to $350,000 for the 20-year period.

The amount raised from Monday’s event won’t be released until the 40th annual American Cancer Society Telethon on April 6 and 7, 2019. It airs on Blue Ridge Communication TV-13.

Joseph Krushinsky, a founder of the telethon who has been active with Zoostock for all 20 years, said the telethon will continue being aired each April. Besides being two full days of music entertainment, the telethon presents “Courage Awards” for people who bravely battle cancer.

Attendance at this year’s Zoostock was the largest ever, said Hiles. She said the excellent weather was one reason.

“We were blessed with great weather,” she said. “I’’ve seen people here that I never saw at Zoostock before.”

Accepting the torch from Hiles, McAward said, “We are really thrilled to carry the torch to the next 20 years.”

He said Lehighton Outdoor Center has a Facebook Page and a section devoted to Locstock and Barrel.

Hiles said the event is moving to Lehighton is “bittersweet” for her.

She said, “To do something new, we have to make room for something new.”

“We would welcome anyone in the Summit Hill, Lansford, Coaldale area who would like to run any kind of event for the American Cancer Society to just contact me. If someone wants to resurrect one of our other fund-raisers, we would welcome it.”

“We are so fortunate that Jerry wanted a Labor Day event; that he was able to take over and preserve the legacy of Zoostock.”

Krushinsky said, “After being here for 20 years and having such a great run, it’s sad. But we’re happy it’s staying in the county.”

He said, “What I’m hearing by walking around is that everyone is planning to come (to Lehighton) with us.”

Jesse Hiles, who had a picnic on the Sports Zoo grounds and then helped it grow to become Zoostock, said he was pleased with the turnout. He also commented on the weather, noting that there were storms on Monday in Lehighton and Tamaqua but only a few light sprinkles during Zoostock.

A variety of music was played on stage, with eight different bands donating their time and performing.

The are Lyle Mantz, The 3 of Us, 8Traxx, Free Range Folk, Mystery City, Shellshocked Churchills, The Local Boys and Another Day Dawns.

Besides music, those attending Zoostock could purchase food made on the premises by volunteers, purchase refreshments and play games of chance.

There also were activities for children including face painting.

Lisa Hiles said it was because of the great attendance over the past years that Zoostock was able to make generous contributions to the American Cancer Society.

“All of these people deserve a round of applause,” she said, looking over the dense crowd. “Without them and the hundreds, possibly thousands of people who donated over the last 20 years, we couldn’t have done it.”

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