Grow Benzie Hosts 7th Benzie Bayou Concert

Grow Benzie is an organization aimed at helping to connect members of the community.

They offer classes and programs like seeding, farming, and cooking.

In order to hold these programs, they have to fundraise to stay open.

Friday night was the Benzie Bayou, their annual fundraising event.

“This is the seventh annual Benzie Bayou and we only host one fundraiser per year,” Grown Benzie Executive Director, Josh Stoltz, said. “We have local food, we have so many locals coming together and celebrating our organization and celebrating the twelve years we’ve been around.”

The Benzie Bayou’s entry, silent auction and food vendors bring in about 30% of the funds Grow Benzie needs to operate for the year.

“In terms of fundraising it’s very important for us to make sure there’s a good turn out and keeps us going,” said Stoltz. “Keeps the lights on at our community center in Benzonia.”86c6ca0f 976b 4f4b 9bb4 B10ca8aac9e1

Concert goers say last year’s Benzie Bayou was virtual and they’ve been itching to be back at the Elberta Amphitheater.

“We’ve all been looking forward to hearing some live music and getting together with people and enjoy that,” said Board member Joe Buechel. 

For Buechel, his favorite part is seeing all of the kids that are involved and will someday inherit the Benzie Bayou.

“We’re hoping that they just continue the same tradition that we’ve started,” says Buechel.

For Josh Stoltz, the different group of people they service is what makes the organization so unique.

“The demographics are so broad to support Grow Benzie income wise, backgrounds, education levels. So it’s really heart warming to see so many people supporting us knowing that music connects us, food connects us, and overall this county connects us,” says Stoltz.