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Pearl Jam fans raise money for Tosa skate park

Party in Lake Geneva on Friday kicks off concert weekend

Aug. 30, 2011

Fans of rock band Pearl Jam are throwing a party in Lake Geneva on Friday, and Wauwatosa group Tosa Skateboarders United will get a cut of the money raised.

Pearl Jam is holding a two-day concert event at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy on Saturday and Sunday. Wishlist Foundation, a fan nonprofit organization, will kick off the 20th anniversary festival concert series with a fundraiser at Hemingway's in Lake Geneva on Friday.

Brett Taylor, a Wauwatosa resident and Pearl Jam fan, connected the two groups.

He learned about TSU's efforts to build a skate park at Hart Park when he visited the group's booth at Chilin' on the Avenue in East Tosa earlier this summer. He just happened to mention that Pearl Jam bass player Jeff Ament has been involved in building skate parks.

Taylor joined the Pearl Jam fan club while in college in 1992. Since members get concert tickets based on seniority, he typically sits in the first several rows. His car even has vanity plates that reference Pearl Jam's song "Even Flow."

It wasn't until after that conversation at Chili'n on the Avenue that he learned the foundation was looking for charities to benefit from the preconcert fundraiser. He thought TSU would be a perfect fit.

"The fans will generally pick an organization that is near and dear to the band members' hearts," Taylor said.

Tosa Skateboarders United and Save the Turf Foundation in Greenfield were chosen from a pool of six Wisconsin applicants to share in the money raised at what likely will be a huge party, judging by past fan gatherings.

Taylor and his wife, Emma, have been to one such party in Chicago and plan to attend the one in Wisconsin. He donated a Pearl Jam poster to be auctioned off, and hopes it could bring in a substantial amount.

TSU can bring raffle and auction items, as well, so the group is looking for donations from the Wauwatosa community. Money raised will be used to obtain construction documents for a skate park, the next step in the development process, said Judy Doyle, TSU secretary.

"The benefit of this sponsorship is huge for a small organization such as Tosa Skateboarders United," she said. "It creates excitement about our project and shows the community the value of creating a recreation space for skating and BMX biking."

Much of the Pearl Jam fan base is at a stage of life in which they're raising young families, the target market for a future skateboard park. Taylor supports the project and said he has two children, ages 7 and 10, who will definitely want to make use of the facility.

"Tosa Skateboarders United is interested in youth engagement," Doyle said. "We will get this park built and provide a safe, legal place for kids to skate/bike and gather."

At a glance

WHAT: Pearl Jam fan group Wishlist Foundation will throw a fundraiser in celebration of the band's 20th anniversary. Local group Tosa Skateboarders United will be a beneficiary.

WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Hemingway's, N3270 Highway H, Lake Geneva

DONATE: Call Judy Doyle at (414) 687-4035.

ONLINE: wishlistfoundation.org

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