HAMILTON — James “Jimmy” Unger said five years ago, after his son, Christian, who had severe schizophrenia, died by suicide, and that loss “flipped my life upside down.”
In response to that tragedy the last four years, Unger and a team of volunteers have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local mental health agencies with proceeds from the Corn Stand Jam, formerly Christian’s Corn Stand Jam. The fifth annual event is set for Sept. 30 at RiversEdge Amphitheater in Hamilton.
The festival was founded as a way to remember, honor and celebrate Christian’s life by utilizing the spirit of music and community, his father said. It’s named Corn Stand Jam because Christian worked at a local corn stand and for his love of music, his father said.
The event will include numerous bands, 10 food trucks, games for all ages, an inflatable obstacle course and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks.
Proceeds provide local scholarships and fund mental health services. Mental health outreach and advocacy booths will be there including: CSJ presenting sponsor, Butler Behavioral Health, Envision Partnerships, and others from the local and regional community.
Scott Smallwood, a volunteer at the Corn Stand Jam, said he wanted to “do a little more” so he collaborated with Hannah Tebbe, a local artist, on a book called, “Monkey & Bug’s Night at the Corn Stand Jam.”
The book addresses issues of mental health in children as a dog and cat overcome their differences, become friends, and visit the park together.
Along the way, they meet new friends and learn to cope with sadness and accept individuality.
The point of the book is “it’s OK not to be OK,” Smallwood said during a presentation at this week’s Hamilton City Council meeting. “We all go through it.”
Smallwood said he also wanted to incorporate Hamilton residents throughout the book to show that not everyone looks and acts alike.
“Diversity is good,” Smallwood said. “We can learn from each other.”
Smallwood said for every book sold, Corn Stand Jam is donating two books to local organizations. The book was named the Readers’ Choice Gold Winner in the 3-7 year old category.
Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller said a lot of people talk about mental health issues, but this group is “doing something about it.”
How to go
WHAT: Corn Stand Jam
WHEN: 1-11 p.m. Sept. 30
WHERE: RiversEdge Amphitheater, 116 Dayton St., Hamilton
HOW MUCH: Free
ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP: 2-3 p.m.: John Ford; 3:30-4:30 p.m.: The Kokotto Comeback; 5-6 p.m.: The Inturns; 6:30-7:30 p.m.: The Jamie Carr Band; 8-9:30 p.m.: CFG & The Family; 9:30-10 p.m.: Fireworks by Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks; 10-11 p.m.: The Cliftones
FOOD TRUCKS: Dine In Hawaiian, Don Taco’s Mexican Food, hUnger Pains, Jolly’s Drive-in, Mae’s Country Cooking, Naughty Lobstah, Oxford Charcuterie, TropiCool Shaved Ice, True West Coffee, Victory Lane Inferno Pizza.
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