St. Peter Livestock Festival raises money to buy animals for impoverished families - St. Peter MN: News

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St. Peter Livestock Festival raises money to buy animals for impoverished families

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 10:23 am, Wed May 22, 2013.

With a dash of color and heavy helping of free music, this year’s Livestock Music Festival and fundraiser will not only give St. Peter residents a chance to get out of the house on a Saturday, but to give to those in need.

Founded to help raise money for the purchase of livestock animals for families in desperate need through the humanitarian, non-profit organization World Vision, the Livestock Music Festival has raised more than $94,000 since its inaugural event six years ago.

Livestock co-founder Jill Hass and board member Rachel Britz recently traveled to Sierra Leone to see firsthand the impact World Vision’s Livestock program has.

“We met Abdul, a 15-year-old boy whose parents died and he is now being cared for by his uncle,” Hass said in a press release. “His uncle shared with us the impact of receiving a goat and how it has provided a way for Abdul to go to school. These animals are a symbol of prestige.”

According to World Vision, the gift of a farm animal can mean the difference between eating and starving for many of the world’s struggling family. Livestock such as sheep, cows, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens can supply a family with fresh milk, cheese, eggs, fertilizer, farming “muscle,” and income for years to come.

“They have mastered survival and are thriving,” Britz said. “But, there is no extra money for education … That small gift really is working to make a difference in the lives of these families.”

Britz explained how the Livestock Festival, which began as a backyard potluck, has grown over the years. In its first year, $2,000 was raised. Last year, about $35,000 was raised. Britz is hoping to hit the $40,000 mark this year.

“Every single year, when we’ve wrapped up the year, we are always in awe and amazed and the generosity of people,” Britz said.

This year the festival will take place on June 1 and kicks off with a 5k Color Dash. Runners will begin the race wearing white T-shirts. At each kilometer, they will have colored dust thrown at them, tie-dying their shirts and bodies.

The musical festival, held at Minnesota Square Park, will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 10 p.m. Performers include Mankato band The Divers, Boiling Point from the Twin Cities, Minneapolis singer-songwriter Sara Renner, and former lead singer of Addison Road, Jenny Simmons.

The festival will also feature a farmers’ pantry with an assortment of snack and candy options and a world market with ethnic items like hand woven purses and scarves. There will also be a kids zone and a petting zoo.

“I think what we’ve done with the music festival, is we’ve just created a fun way to give back,” Britz said.

Reach reporter Jessica Bies at 507-931-8568 or follow her on @sphjessicabies

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