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KISS to play Walk ‘N Rock For Kids fundraiser

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Music lovers and philanthropists alike will have the chance to see legendary rock band KISS perform live at this year’s annual Walk ‘N Rock For Kids fundraiser on May 29 at Raley Field.

The combination concert and 5K walk event is hosted by the Hope Productions Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “provide resources to children and youth charities to ensure sustainability, viability and awareness,” according to its website.

The foundation provides marketing and fundraising training to area nonprofits at no charge in an effort to aid in their ongoing success.

This is the third year that the Hope Productions Foundation will host Walk ’N Rock For Kids. Last year, Walk ’N Rock For Kids raised $800,000 in cash and services for 16 youth-serving nonprofits, according to Amelia Marquis, spokeswoman for the Hope Productions Foundation and one of the event’s organizers.

This year, the event will raise funds for 22 children’s charities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento, Keaton Raphael Memorial and Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center.

The day’s activities are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. with a 5K walk that will begin and end at Raley Field and take participants across Tower Bridge, to the Capitol and through Westfield Downtown Plaza.

Marquis said that in the past, walking teams have gotten crafty and created their own T-shirts to identify themselves as a part of a specific group.

Back at Raley Field, there will be food, games for the kids and more live music until noon.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band stations will be set up, courtesy of Best Buy. Each of the 22 participating children’s charities will host its own booth featuring activities and information.

Marquis said that organizers expect to have 7,500 participants in this year’s walk, including families, local businesses and corporate sponsors like Wells Fargo, Sacramento Business Journal and Sactown Magazine, among others.

As the day’s festivities give way to the evening, KISS will take the stage at Raley Field for its only California performance of the year. Those participants who raise $500 for the charity of their choice during the day will receive a free ticket to the concert, Marquis said.

At 8 p.m., The Miles Schon Band will open the show with Lara Johnston on vocals. Johnston, whose first on-stage performance was at 2 years old with her dad’s band The Doobie Brothers, describes her vocal style as “honest” and “from the heart.”

“It’s powerful to know that people who hear my music have had similar experiences and we can connect in that way.”

Johnston noted Aretha Franklin, Paramore and Beyoncé are all musical influences of hers and that she has a “big soft spot for soul music.”

She said she is excited to open for KISS, a band that she described as “iconic,” and added that growing up, it was a goal of hers to embody the kind of showmanship that they offer their audiences.

Johnston also opened for last year’s Walk ‘N Rock headliner Sammy Hagar and said she is glad to be involved with the Hope Productions Foundation’s efforts in helping local children’s charities again this year.

“I was really blessed to have a good childhood and I think every child should have the same chance.”

Local band Big Boss Graffiti will also hit the stage to deliver their brand of 70s inspired rock that the band describes as “edgy with a dance vibe” on its Facebook page.

Those KISS fans looking to experience the concert in style can purchase VIP tickets for $1,000, the proceeds of which will benefit Hope Production Foundation’s nonprofit partners.

According to event organizer Ancelle Contreras, purchase of a VIP ticket provides concertgoers with access to an exclusive VIP reception area with a bar, appetizers provided by Ovations and The Supper Club and live entertainment by the Blackeyed Dempseyes, as well as table seating during the concert.

VIP guests will also be offered a three-course gourmet dinner prior to the concert, prepared by an array of local eateries, including Revolution Wines, Bistro Michel and Mezzo Restaurant. Desserts and coffee will be provided courtesy of Karen’s Bakery, Lounge on 20 and Bella Bru Cafe and Catering.

KISS concert tickets can be purchased by the general public at ticketmaster.com.

Walkers can register online or the morning of the event at Raley Field, starting at 7 am. The cost of registration for the walk is free for children under 5, $10 for youth under 17 and $20 for adults. All registered walkers will receive a commemorative Walk ’N Rock For Kids baseball hat.

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