Mike Chambers just wants to laugh again. The local entrepreneur has long hosted a monthly comedy night at Larkin’s Other Place, but restrictions on indoor gatherings have made those events impossible during the last few months.
“I’m ready to do a show,” Chambers says, “and people need to laugh in a time like this.”
In a year dominated by COVID-19, protests and riots, a comedy night could be just the distraction people need right now, Chambers reasoned. The question was how to make that happen. A conversation with his brother, Marty Chambers who is co-owner of Red Barn Consignments & Antiques, and Ashley Dunn, owner of Creative Party Bug, provided the answer.
The trio agreed that a comedy drive-in show would be a safe way to bring people together for a night of laughs, and the Comedy in the Park event was born.
Comedy in the Park Planned for July 11
Comedy in the Park will take place on July 11 at Recreation Park, which is more commonly known as the Lowell fairgrounds. Vehicles will park on the grass facing the east, and a stage will be set up on a hill to make it easy for everyone to see. A radio transmitter will allow the audience to easily hear the show from their car.
Jerry Donovan will headline the show which is expected to be mostly clean humor and rated PG-13, according to Marty Chambers. Gates will open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm. Comedian Derek Bartlett will also be performing. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance at Creative Party Bug. There will be no ticket sales at the gate.
Food will be offered for sale from local restaurants and vendors such as Flat River Grill, Main Street BBQ, Sneakers and Kona Ice. Portable restrooms and a sanitation station will be set up, with volunteers helping to direct traffic and ensure social distancing guidelines are met.
“This is a great way to bring the town together for a night of entertainment while social distancing in our cars,” Dunn says. In a normal year, the Riverwalk Festival would occur during the second week of July but that, along with the Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series, has been cancelled for 2020. “This [comedy show] is exactly what the town needs with all events being cancelled this summer,” Dunn notes.
The event is also for a good cause, with all proceeds going to support the rebuilding of the Lowell Showboat. Audience members are also invited to bring non-perishable food products to be donated to the FROM food pantry, and those bringing five items will be given coupons to local businesses.
Event sponsors include Meds Cafe, Creative Party Bug, Red Barn Consignments & Antiques, RiverView Flats, Tap House Bo, Arctic Inc, Holly’s Critter Care, Station Salon, Elite Auto Body and MI Hometown Furnishings.
Future Events May Follow
The plans for Comedy in the Park came together quickly, and the organizers hope this will be just the first of several outdoor events to provide entertainment to Lowell residents during the pandemic.
“It’s amazing we went from three weeks ago talking about it [to] getting all our ducks in a row,” Marty Chambers says.
Local realtor Rick Seese, who offered a Christmas light show at his office last year, provided information on setting up a radio transmitter and approximately 10 businesses have stepped up as sponsors for the evening.
If all goes well, the group would love to have other comedy shows as well as movies in the park. Dunn, who also organized a Car Cruz for Father’s Day weekend, says her focus is on finding safe entertainment opportunities for residents until the pandemic passes. Once it’s safe to move indoors, events such as the monthly comedy nights will move back to their previous venues.