NORTH CREEK -- This year’s Wayne Stock festival, scheduled for Aug. 3 at Ski Bowl Park, will be more of a celebration than usual.
The event, which started as a fundraiser for Wayne Bukovinsky after he was injured in a motorcycle accident, has been named the top community celebration in the nation in Johnsonville Sausage’s first “The Best of Us” competition.
Making the news even better is the $10,000 award that will go to the North Country Hardship Fund, which was founded with proceeds from the first Wayne Stock, which took place in 2008 after Bukovinsky’s accident earlier that year.
“It’s quite an accomplishment what our small group has done,” Bukovinsky said Tuesday. “This is a great thing for us.”
Bukovinsky’s wife, Tammy, wanted to thank all those in the area who voted for Wayne Stock after Johnsonville chose the top 10 events after getting 156 nominations.
“We’re a little event in North Creek, New York. We had 1,000 people come through the gates, and some of the other events draw 70,000,” she said. “We are so excited with the support of all the people in the area who voted every single day for almost a month.”
Bukovinsky founded the Hardship Fund to help other victims of tragedy. The fund covers Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Hamilton counties.
The fund holds a series of events, including the annual concert. Earlier this year, it held a spring runoff party in North Creek, as well as “Band Jam for a Cause” in Glens Falls and a cabin fever party.
The fund has distributed more than $66,000 since 2010 and has helped nearly 1,000 people, Bukovinsky said.
“We want to help with anything due to accidents and unforeseen events,” Bukovinsky said. “We will help with house fires, car accidents, anything like that. If you’ve got physical injuries or need help because of something like that, we are there. It’s all about supporting the people who need help.”
The concert was first organized by Bukovinsky’s uncle, Steve Studnicky, and his friend, Jim Martin.
Bukovinsky, who was a roadie and a concert lighting technician, has been able to draw some regionally known musicians to the concert.
This year’s event will be start at noon Aug. 3 at the Ski Bowl Park, and it’s theme is “Believe.”
This is the first year Johnsonville, a company based in Wisconsin, has done the “The Best of Us,” and its companion “Top Educator” program.
Bob Terrell, who retired after 42 years of teaching and coaching at East High School in Salt Lake City, was the top educator.
The competition called for those people nominating events to explain the community’s American values, what makes the event one of a kind and how it helps the morale of the community.
“Johnsonville was very interested in inviting the country to identify and celebrate what makes America great, so we focused on two categories: community celebrations and educators. Our culture at Johnsonville celebrates the values of teamwork, humility and giving back,” company spokeswoman Stephanie Dlugopolski said Tuesday. “We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate these values than by recognizing the individuals and groups who bring these to life in their own communities to benefit others, and invite the country to see what others are doing and show their support by voting for the ‘best’ in our country.”
Tammy Bukovinsky said she hopes the national recognition will help publicize the fund locally.
“The big problem is nobody knows about us,” she said. “The story needs to be told about the people we are helping.
“We are always telling people we need to help us help them.” she said.