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story.lead_photo.caption SubmittedMembers of the Purdy River Band from left, Brian Elzey, Chuck Lahr, Dave Anderson and (background) Beth Anderson play September 2016 at the Bluegrass & BBQ Festival.

The 15th annual Fulton State Hospital Bluegrass and BBQ Festival is scheduled for noon-5 p.m. Sunday at 54 Country, 400 Gaylord Drive.

The Fulton State Hospital Association puts on the fundraiser to help not only the clients at the hospital but the employees as well.

"We are a board that is all volunteers," President Christine Kleindienst said. "We help the clients at the hospital. With the money, we buy gas cards and a one-night stay at a local hotel because they don't always have money to see their families. That is one of the main things that we do. We also help the hospital. Since they're a state entity, it's so hard for them to have funds to keep employees, and so we also try to help keep employees and further their education."

Though the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, the association is looking forward to this year, rain or shine.

"We totally canceled it for 2020, so we're hoping that we will get a good turnout this year," Kleindienst said.

There will be barbecue and homemade pies for sale by the First Christian Church and soft drinks by the Diversity Action Respect Team as well as a 50/50 drawing and a jamming area.

As far as the bluegrass side goes, featured bands include the Greg Blake Band, Bluegrass Blondies and Callaway Bluegrass. A few individuals, like George Rutherford and Jim Buffington, will also be singing some tunes.

It costs $10 a person for the entire day; those 16 and under are free with a parent. There will also be golf carts available for those who may need help getting from the back parking lot to the building.

No alcohol, coolers or smoking is allowed.

"We just have one event a year, and this is our main fundraiser," Kleindienst said. "The only thing that we really have money for, so we hope to see the community. And we hope they can get out and see all the bands play."

For more information, visit the Fulton State Hospital Association's Facebook page or call Joan Santoriello at 573-592-2209.

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