MIDDLEPORT — The third annual Bitanga’s Breakathon was a success, exceeding the $30,000 goal to “Save the Music.”
Bitanga’s Martial Art Center owner, and founder of the Breakathon, Ben Nease explained that early in 2019 it was decided the third Breakathon would benefit the local music programs, Meigs, Southern and Wahama participating in the event.
When selecting the beneficiary of the event, Nease said that the event focused on “Save the Music” to bring attention and awareness to the music programs in general. The amount of participants and funds raised showed the the community supports local music, said Nease.
The event took place at the Middleport Church of Christ Family Life Center.
In the end, each band received $10,429.17, meaning more than $31,200 was raised through the Breakathon. Additionally, the bands had the opportunity to sell Breakathon shirts, with each band keeping the proceeds from the shirts it sold.
“Meigs County championed this, coming together to make this happen,” said Nease of the support from the county for this year and past years.
A total of 68 participants from Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center took part, collecting sponsors to support the cause. In addition, 48 non-members paid to participate by learning to break boards.
Top fund raisers were Malakai Durham with $2,635 raised, Benjamin Troyer with $2,540 raised and Rylie Wolfe with $2,427 raised. Each received special awards and prizes for their fundraising efforts.
Additionally, those raising more than $1,000 received a special red martial arts uniform. Nease said 14 participants met the $1,000 goal.
In addition to the individual sponsorships, more than 60 businesses sponsored boards at $100 each, which brought in more than $6,000 for the bands.
An “Alumni Band” cake created with all three of the band mascots on it was made by Samantha Wolfe of Edible Arts by Samantha and auctioned off by Billy Goble. The cake auction raised $540.
More than 1,000 boards were donated and cut for the event by Valley Lumber in Middleport.
New this year was the opening day of the event with a concert on Friday evening by Jake Dunn and the Blackbirds.
On Saturday, the Meigs, Southern and Wahama bands performed outside the Family Life Center.
Crafters and other vendors were set up during both days of the event with various items available for purchase. Close to Home Catering with the Meigs County Council on Aging also provided food for the event.
Nease said some of the bands indicated the funds would help with uniforms, fixing instruments and other needed items.
In its first two years the Breakathon supported the renovation work at The Blakeslee Center which will be the future home of the Meigs County Council on Aging. The first year raised more than $10,000 for the weight room work, with the second year raising $20,000 for the auditorium renovations.
Already looking toward Breakathon 4, Nease said they will soon be putting out information looking for ideas on what cause or organization to raise money for next year. They hope to have a cause selected by early 2020.
The plan is to continue with the two day event in 2020, possibly adding in additional items such as a kick-off parade.
Once it opens to the public, The Blakeslee Center will be the annual home for Bitanga’s Breakathon.
For more on the annual Breakathon visit Bitanga’s Breakathon or Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center on Facebook.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.