June is here and summer is in full swing. Before your calendar gets too full, make plans to attend the Burl Ives Birthday celebration at Peterson Park in Newton on Friday, June 14. Admission is free and the family-friendly program is scheduled to begin at 6:30, but Peterson Park also has a wide range of activities including playground equipment, aquatic center, disc golf, miniature golf, batting cages, sand volleyball court, canoe ramp, areas for picnicking and new, accessible restrooms. Come early and enjoy the park, which is on the bluff above the Embarras River in Newton.

The event is sponsored by the Embarras River Tourism Council who wants to celebrate the birthday of Jasper County Native Burl Ives with an acoustic music program featuring two fine musicians. “Ol’ Ry” will open the program at 6:30 p.m. with a mix of songs and styles, and at 7 p.m., Barry Cloyd will perform a program he developed specifically about Burl Ives.
Ol’ Ry is local talent Ryan Schambach, who often plays at numerous small venues in our multi-county area.

Singer/songwriter Barry Cloyd brings the stories and songs of “Burl Ives, Midwestern Minstrel” to life in this new original program. In it, audiences will get a taste of the history and music of this most amazing American folk music legend, Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives. Ives became known worldwide not only as the pre-eminent folk musician of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, but as an Academy Award winning actor, voice-over artist and all around star of stage, screen and vinyl.

Cloyd is an award-winning musician in his own right and brings the passion, drama and humor of Ives’ “up and down” career to audiences through tales of his life and times and plenty of those well-known and well-loved songs such as “Blue Tailed Fly”, “Wayfaring Stranger” and many others. Mr. Ives, from those small southeastern Illinois towns of Hunt City and Newton, became, in the words of Illinois poet Carl Sandburg himself, “the mightiest ballad singer of this or any other century”. Barry Cloyd welcomes the opportunity to bring this folk music legend back to life in Newton.

The program will be held at the large pavilion at Peterson Park. There is some seating but it would be a good idea to bring lawn chairs. Bad weather will move it to the Newton High School auditorium.