Roger Hulett’s last performance at McKinley Park was Lionel Richie’s “Three Times a Lady” during the Bill Riley talent search in 1979. He was selected to go to the finals, but due to a bad case of allergies, was disappointed in his state fair performance.
Hulett has come a long way since then. He leads the i-Berrys, a ten-piece band that has won awards such as Best Band at Lake of the Ozarks for four years and best band in Missouri two years in a row.
Now he’s coming home. The i-Berrys will headline at Party in the Park Aug. 15.
Hulett, who lives in Osage Beach, Missouri, said he is happy to be able to contribute to a worthy cause — raising funds for the McKinley Park Restoration project.
“I grew up in that park,” he said. “I used to ride my bike to the swimming pool. I would catch bullheads in McKinley Lake. I kissed a girl while watching the fireworks in that big field on the Fourth of July. ... We used to jump up there on that band-shell stage and pretend we were performing to a massive audience.”
Party in the Park was originally scheduled for June 20, but the COVID-19 restrictions caused it to be pushed back to August.
“They (the Party in the Park committee) didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity, I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to come home,” Hulett said. “And now it looks like we’re moving forward.”
The trip home will begin with a meet and greet 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at A&G Steakhouse. Hulett said it is difficult to get to talk to fans during or after a show, so they set up a time to meet fans and visit with old friends the day before. There will even be merchandise available.
The i-Berrys is a “Celtic-Irish-Pop-Funk-Country-Rock” band. Hulett said he has been a musician all his life and wanted to do one last project that celebrated his Irish heritage. That was six years ago.
“I just wanted to do a different live music experience for people,” he said.
The band sports an eclectic group of instruments including the accordion, fiddle, melodica, banjo, pedal steel guitar, Bodhuran drums, tinwhistles and more. Seven of the nine members on stage sing lead, resulting in a rich, full sound Hulett said.
“To be able to come back and perform in my hometown with this amazing group of musicians, is really a dream come true for me.” said Hulett.
Hulett said the band is just as excited to come to his hometown as he is. They have been hearing about it for some time.
They are excited to come give a “once in a lifetime show for my hometown,” he said.
Party in the Park will be held 6 to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at McKinley Park and will also feature local band Off The Cuff at 8 p.m. The i-Berrys will perform following Off the Cuff. Details for food and possible games have not been finalized.
Admission is $20 at the door, $15 in advance. Tickets are available at the Creston News Advertiser, Jane Brown PT, Stalker Chevrolet, Hy-Vee and A&G Steakhouse. For more information on scheduling visit McKinley Park Restoration’s Facebook page.