Pat O'Donnell

Why is Washington a great place to live?

There are countless potential answers, but one that comes to mind at this time of year is that Foodstock continues to roll on.

Foodstock is about volunteerism, caring, giving something back and extending a hand to those in need — all against a backdrop of great music, dancing and a dash of tie-dye for good measure.

Billed as a night of music to help fill local food pantries, Foodstock is a free music festival hosted by Downtown Washington Inc. that keeps “trucking” year after year.

It is a feel-good, positive-vibe music celebration in a great venue for a great cause. What is equally impressive is that it is produced entirely by volunteers. The bands perform for free. There is no set entry fee. People donate food or money to attend.

This year’s event, held Aug. 28, was noteworthy in that it marked the 10th anniversary for the partnership of Foodstock and Downtown Washington Inc. As usual, a large crowd turned out on a hot night to hear five bands perform at the Washington Farmers’ Market.

It was a special milestone for Pat “OD” O’Donnell, a local musician, who was looking for a way to give back and celebrate his birthday when he held the first Foodstock in his backyard in 2007. He later asked Downtown Washington Inc. to assist him with the event, and the partnership continues to flourish and make a difference for our community.

This year, over $7,500 and 1,800 pounds of food were collected at the event, which was donated to four grateful local food pantries.

Food insecurity in our community is real, and our food pantries can always use a boost. That’s why it is so wonderful to see the community continue to support this festival.

Congratulations to Patrick O’Donnell, Downtown Washington Inc. and all the volunteers and musicians who have made Foodstock’s 10-year run something special!