City Park Grill in Petoskey will host a Flint Water Crisis Benefit on March 12. The Northern Michigan event will run from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. City Park Grill will donate 10 percent of their sales from the evening to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

The event was organized by Johnny Walker with help from staff at City Park Grill including Bar Manager Peter Sladick and Owner Bob Keedy. There will be live entertainment including performances by The Pistil Whips, Chris Michels String band, Michelle Chenard, and more, along with a speaker from the Flint Downtown Development Authority.

To find out more about the benefit, we talked with Mark Seymour, the manager of City Park Grill.

Why did you choose to host the benefit?

This is an issue which has affected people well beyond the city limits of Flint. Many of our staff, associates, and guests are either from the area or have connections there with family and friends. Johnny Walker, the event coordinator who is originally from Flint, has been a driving force behind this whole project. These connections and concerns about our neighbors downstate are the main reason we decided to host this event. City Park Grill has a long history of charitable contribution and civic engagement which is ingrained in our company’s culture. Owners Bob and Mary Keedy, Dick and Laura Dinon, Patrick Faylor, and Chef John Norman all encourage our management team and staff to be advocates for our own community. In this case, we have been motivated and inspired to reach much further.

There’s a great lineup of entertainment for the night, what else can people look forward to and expect?

Besides all the great entertainment which has been graciously donated, we will also be holding a silent auction. Johnny Walker has gathered donated items from area businesses to create interest and additional funds. Our Beverage Manager Shawn Peterson has reached out to our partner distributors for auction items as well. But perhaps one of the most important parts of the evening will be the gathering of people to support the Flint community. Chris Everson who is the General Manager at Flint Downtown Development Authority will be speaking throughout the night to inform and educate our guests. His expertise and wealth of knowledge about Flint and the specifics of the crisis will hopefully enlighten our guests and put a face to the cause. This crisis is not about a system. It is not about government. It is not about what could or should have been done. It is about the people of Flint, and how we can help them now.

People can donate online at CrowdRise, will they also be able to donate at the event?

We are suggesting a $5 donation at the door. Certainly we will accept anything above and beyond that amount. Anyone at any time can also donate directly to The Community Foundation of Greater Flint at This is where all contributions raised will ultimately be donated. CFGF has a long-standing and long-term purpose for the residents of Flint and Genesee County.

What does it mean to you to be able to offer some help and support to Flint?

It means a lot. Again, we have so many connections to the area. Actually, one of our more recently hired staff members was called to active duty in the National Guard in January to aid in water distribution and other supportive roles. Hopefully, he returns soon, although his deployment remains indefinite. So this crisis affects us directly. We have friends and family who have done their part to revitalize Flint whether by investing in homes, business, or the vibrant arts and cultural scene that remains strong in the area. The people and the desire are there to rebuild Flint. It is our hope that our contribution will aid in their already considerable efforts.

City Park Grill is located at 432 E. Lake St., Petoskey. For more information, call (231) 347­-0101.

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Photo(s) by City Park Grill