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Re-connecting through music

FreeFest open mic brings teacher, student together

The FreeFest Connect aLive open mic event, held every Friday at The Iron Town Coffee Lab, is helping people reconnect.

Dave Barker, of Raceland, Kentucky, first heard about FreeFest from one of his former students who was performing at the open mic event.

“I always try to support live music, particularly when it involves one of my former students,” Barker said. “Andy did a wonderful job singing and playing his 12-string guitar. All of the performers were good. It was a great experience. I enjoyed the performances and was happy to get to renew old friendships.”

Barker said that he appreciated the positive interaction between the audience and the performers.

“This type of event is a great way to build community pride and enthusiasm. It was a very nice experience,” he said.

FreeFest is a series of events that encourages community members to get out and mingle with friends, fellow residents and neighbors at specific events planned for various locations, including Spare Time Recreation, The GR8R Gaming Escape Room, and the Ro-Na Theater in April.

Every Friday, free tickets for the other activities will be part of the door prizes given out to participants and audience members who attend the Friday Night Open Mic Night, hosted by Impact Prevention Teen Impact Teams from local schools.

The Teen Impact Teams are comprised of high schoolers who are trained to encourage fellow students to live drug-free. They are mentors in their schools, often attending formal trainings and summer camp.

The fun activities and events planned for “FreeFest Connect aLive” are, as the name suggests, free and family friendly.

The Friday Night Open Mic is open to all ages. Anyone who wants to share family-friendly music, songs, poems, stories and jokes. All attendees will get free coffee or milk as well as free cookies from the Black Bear Bakery.

Freefest Connect aLive is presented through a nonprofit partnership between Impact Prevention Agency, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ironton aLive organization. For more information, call 740-532-2269 or visit www.impactprevention.com.