LAKEWOOD - Those who love free entertainment, local music and food from the grill might want to clear their Sunday afternoon schedules.
Southern Tier Brewing Company will host The Great American Picnic, the annual WRFA-LP fundraiser, from 1-4 p.m.
"It's our main fundraiser for the year," said Dennis Drew, WRFA general manager. "We're a listener-supported station. This is a great way for us, with the help of Southern Tier, to put on a great party and also help keep the station going."
WRFA, owned by the Arts Council for Chautauqua County, is the only locally owned, non-religious radio station in the county.
Admission to the picnic will be free, but a portion of the brewing company's sales will go to WRFA, 107.9 FM. Donations will also be accepted.
"We've really come along this year by leaps and bounds," Drew said. "Jason Sample has come on as our director of news and public affairs, and he has done a tremendous job. We're the place to go to now for what's going on in the community as far as radio is concerned. To keep that up we need to raise money."
Hosted by Ken Hardley of WRFA's "Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour," the event will feature more than a dozen musical acts. Local musicians Blue Magoo, Brian Hanna, Cindy Haight, Chris Passamonte, Gina Vecchio, the Haybalers, John Merino, Marla Harris and Paul Liuzzo will perform.
"They're the cream of the crop from around here," Drew said. "It's perfect because it's not hard rock or anything. This is true Americana music, and these are real American artists."
Additionally, regional artists Steve Piper, Bruce Diamond, Cammy Enaharo, Pat Maloney, David Allen Coester and The Modified Nouns will take the brewery's new, outdoor stage.
The fundraiser will conclude with a set by Ship of Fools - a Grateful Dead tribute band that includes Jeff Erickson of 10,000 Maniacs, Nate Arnone, Jay Peterson, Steve Davis and Matt Tilotson. Other acts will also cover Grateful Dead songs.
"We've got a lot of great musicians coming in to play," Drew said. "Jeff Erickson and his Ship of Fools sound fantastic."
Grateful Dead songs "Friend of the Devil," "China Doll," "Deep Elem Blues," "Creampuff," "Not Fade Away," "Black Peter," "I Know You Rider," "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad," "Broken Arrow," "Ripple" and others will be performed throughout the day.
"I am a huge Grateful Dead fan," Erickson said. "I know their music has touched a lot of people. Everybody who is playing is very talented. It's great to support WRFA anyway we can."
The event will serve as the final live recording of the "Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour," which will feature a new name for its 2012-2013 season. Several of Sunday's performances will be broadcast on WRFA next week.
The show, which features interviews and performances, is normally recorded live at the Labyrinth Press Company in Jamestown.
"We're always playing highlights of it, and you can't believe how good some of that stuff sounds," Drew said. "We're so proud and so happy that Ken has done that and that we're associated with it. We provide his production, and we do the editing and cleaning up of the show, but he puts it together. He's the guy who does all the legwork. The show is fantastic."
Southern Tier Brewing Company is located at 2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood. Drew will be on hand, serving hot dogs and other foods from the grill. Sound and stage support will be provided by Steven Gustafson, Graham Riggle, Ed Tomassini and Erickson.
"It's beautiful up there," Drew said. "Southern Tier Brewery is very generous to have us up there. There will be great beer for a great cause."
For more information, visit wrfalp.com.