The Eagles Cancer Telethon is one of my favorite events of the year. I remember watching it as a kid, but it wasn’t until I moved back to this fine city that I started going down there for the full experience.
For those unfamiliar, the Eagles Cancer Telethon is the largest privately produced telethon in the country, and it raises a TON of money for cancer research (It raised $830,177 this year, a new record!). It lasts from 8pm on Saturday, until 4pm on Sunday and is part talent show, part carnival, part health awareness campaign, and part concert.
Seriously, there’s nothing that you can’t do there. Want a haircut? No problem. Want your nails done, too? For sure. The haircut and mani make you hungry? Here’s a pulled pork sandwich and some mini-donuts. Don’t forget to wash those down with this shake. Got a mean fastball? Head over to the Honkers pitching cage. Looking for breakfast since you were at the telethon all night and the sun’s coming up? There’s about a million places you can go in Rochester and the surrounding area to get a pancake breakfast.
Plus, the best part is that participating in any of these activities helps raise more money for cancer research.
Now, let’s bring it back to the talent show part of the telethon. The range of performers is so immense that you’re always wondering what you’re going to get next. Bellydancers, drum lines, dance troupes, comedians, singers… you stay long enough and you’ll be able to check all of them off your list.
My personal favorite part of the telethon, however, is the graveyard shift. It’s during this time that the local bands start rocking out and give the telethon the adrenaline shot it needs to get through the wee hours of the morning.
Plus, some bands make the telethon an annual event, so it’s awesome being able to recognize faces as they begin showing up to play. In particular, bands like Killroy (10th year playing) and The Love Radishes (7th year playing) can be counted on to show up and blow the doors open at the civic center each and every year.
A quick side note: as the Love Radishes walked into the auditorium, my friend Kasey noticed that the lead singer was carrying a large, rectangular black box. He tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Is that a fog machine?” However, neither of us could confirm. Smash cut to an hour later when they took the stage and mentioned that they brought their own fog machine to kick things up a bit. Now that’s a band that gets, it!
Among the veteran bands, there’s also a great batch of up-and-comers to the telethon that could very well become staples. Bands like The Generations (who let the crowd know that they were going to melt some faces), Finding Freedom (a 7 piece Christian rock band from Clear Lake, IA), and Trip the Grid (3rd year playing) took to the stage and ripped it up.
The “innovator award” for the graveyard shift had to go to the band Shallow Stone (2nd year playing), who sold cancer awareness ribbons for $1, and, then, after the name of a loved one was written on it, placed them on their guitars while they played. Their efforts raised $437 and the ribbons were a really neat visual.
Eventually, the sugar high from my mini-donuts and milk shake began to wear off and it was time to head home for some sleep. Another amazing graveyard shift at the telethon was in the books and I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!
Coming Up in My Next Post:
Yo, VIP’s, let’s kick it! I’m heading downtown for the 3rd Annual SocialICE, which is the largest outdoor ice bar in the upper Midwest. SocialICE also features real ice glasses, ice luges, and live music (inside the skyway and piped outdoors). They’ve even added four additional satellite ice bars this year to accommodate more people. Needless to say, this one will be a lot of fun!