The Friends of Garfield Park will present BlakeStrong Fest from 3-10 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts at Garfield Park 2450 Shelby St.
Featuring live music, food trucks and a beer pavilion, the event celebrates the memory of Blake Bowell and his courageous bout against cancer. A variety of acts will take the stage throughout the day, including Mindy & Eddie, Free But Not Cheap, The Fragments, The Lookouts, Barbender, Jukebox Luke, Blue River Band and the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers.
Bowell died June 5, 2017, at the age of 25 after a six-year battle with glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. He was an honor student and an All-State runner at Franklin Central High School and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he served his country and was medically discharged with honorable veteran status. Bowell and his father, Mark, started BlakeStrong in 2014. Since then the foundation has funded six college scholarships and has raised money for multiple charities.
“Blake took on his challenge with dignity and a level of faith that touched many people throughout his journey,” Mark Bowell said. “With the BlakeStrong Fund we focus on helping even more lives by donating to initiatives Blake cared about. “Brain cancer is a mysterious disease that affects everyone differently – there are few protocols or best practices, and the family takes it on together,” Bowell said.
Event funds will support the renovation of the Garfield Park children’s garden, where Blake worked for two summers. The redesign increases the visibility of the area, now known as Blake’s Garden. The concept introduces a defined entry point, an outdoor classroom, a new water feature and improved community and specialty gardens.
“Everyone loved Blake, from the employees to the park visitors, and Blake loved taking care of the plants, so we’re excited about Blake’s Garden and the planned improvements,” said park manager Fritz Nerding. A $10 donation will be requested at the gate, with funds also benefitting the BlakeStrong Bowell Fund, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation and Friends of Garfield Park.