This weekend, Frederick will show its unwavering dedication to community with its seventh annual Family FUNomenon, an annual event that raises money for the Patty Pollatos Fund, Inc.
When lifelong New Market/Mount Airy resident Patty Pollatos was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s, her high school friend, Debbie Williams, organized a fundraiser to ensure that Pollatos and her family would be financially secure despite astronomical medical costs. In just one month, with the help of Pollato’s friends and family, Williams raised $20,000.
Although Pollatos eventually lost her battle with cancer in 1992, Williams has continued to honor her memory with the establishment of the foundation.
Now, through a series of events and fundraisers throughout the year, Williams and her volunteers work to raise money for patients and their families in the Frederick area who have been affected by cancer and other devastating diseases. The money goes toward anything from groceries to parking costs during doctors’ appointments.
“We take care of your bills,” Williams says. “We take care of that burden.”
The FUNomenon is made possible entirely by volunteers, sponsors and donations from the community.
This year, the event will include food, bull riding, magic shows and pony rides. Each year, at least one major name in music also is featured. Country stars Hunter Hayes and Sara Evans headline the 2012 event.
Despite the star power of two nationally recognized artists, the FUNomenon stays true to its theme of family and community with an appearance by Frederick-based band the Shades.
“We like to give back to the community that supports us,” says drummer Troy Remsburg.
The band is known for its covers of classic hits from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The Shades has been a staple in the Frederick area since the band first formed with its original four members in 1986.
Now composed of five local musicians Remsburg is joined by his father Alan, Harry Haines, David (Gabby) Gabaldon and Dave Gardner the Shades’ repertoire includes artists like the Doobie Brothers, Little Richard and even Frankie Valli.
“We cover the gamut,” says Remsburg, who grew up in Jefferson and now lives in Boonsboro working as an electrician. “There’s something for everybody.”
For Remsburg, who started playing the drums at six and had his first drum set by 10, music has been a family affair long before he joined the Shades in 1996. His father once jammed with another famous Frederick band, the Cool Jerks.
“They’d rehearse in the basement and I’d have to go to sleep listening to the band,” Remsburg recalls.
While the Shades have performed at the FUNomenon every year since its inception, this year will be different. Carrying on the Remsburg family tradition in music, Troy Remsburg’s sons, Colin, 21 and Chase, 17, will join their father, grandfather and the rest of the Shades on stage. Both Colin and Chase Remsburg play the saxophone.
“This will be a first to look over and see both my boys and my dad on stage,” Remsburg says. “That’s going to be neat.”
Throughout the year, the Shades perform concerts in other cities and states, including Ocean City, Pennsylvania and West Virgina. But Remsburg says the Shades love performing for their hometown, and always make sure to be around for the FUNomenon.
“We travel a good bit but we love performing in the Frederick area,” Remsburg says. “When [Debbie] calls, we go. ... It’s a win-win situation ... it’s a great time and it’s helping our fellow man.”