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Doug Clark: $25,458.11, a can of peas, and my deepest thanks

And just like that it was over.

The final notes faded. Another spirited week of lunch-hour music and entertainment ceased.

And now?

Time to reveal where Street Music Week 2014 will rank in our annual fight against hunger.

At the very top, it turns out.

I’m incredibly proud (amazed, blown away, gobsmacked …) to report the following:

This year’s fundraiser collected a record-shattering $25,458.11, besting last year’s mark by $2,000.

Want more crazy numbers?

I’ll give you more crazy numbers.

Since the event began in 2003, Street Music Week has funneled more than $91,000 to Second Harvest food bank.

Let’s do the math.

At 6 pounds of food per dollar (that’s what the food bank folks tell us), Street Music Week has donated the equivalent of, um, I’ll need a calculator for this …

An unbelievable 548,748 pounds of grub.

Plus a lone can of black-eyed peas that someone gave this week to one of our Garland buskers.

The money we receive is collected through a week of sidewalk serenading, of course. That’s the heart and soul of Street Music Week, which celebrated the 12th annual mark in downtown Spokane.

But why confine generosity to a single week?

Donations are made online all year through The site features photographs from past years and other cool stuff about the event.

But wait, there’s more.

We also put items up for bid in the annual Second Harvest dinner/auction and benefit from occasional corporate sponsorship, too.

The generous healers at Kootenai Health gave $1,000 to the cause, for example.

What a year.

I wish I could say that everything was perfect, but success seems to always come with a price.

In short, we ran out of busker badges again.

Matt Monroe makes the attractive metal pin-back buttons that we try to give to each and every performer.

And after running out on Friday last year, I had my friend make 250 badges, which was 50 more than 2013.

Once again, alas, Friday came and our buttons went.

On one hand, the shortage was a graphic popularity indicator of how many more performers are taking part.

On the other hand, I had to tell Walter Jakubowski the same thing I told him last year: There aren’t enough badges for all of the Tremble Clefs.

The Tremble Clefs is an ensemble, a therapeutic support choir for those with Parkinson’s Disease. Singing helps strengthen the voices of those who are battling the illness.

With more than 20 members, the group is a popular street music draw.

The Tremble Clefs have earned their badges, and badges they shall have!

In a stroke of good fortune, I have been able to forage a few buttons that were left over from Garland’s supply. So if it’s my last act on Earth, I will deliver these tokens to Jakubowski with my apologies.

(NOTE TO MATT – 300 buttons for 2015.)

Before signing off, a few kudos are in order.

At the top of the list is Jim Lyons, who put in so much extra effort that I have decided to promote him from Street Music Commandant to Field Marshal.

Lyons showed up to help out on the first Monday in 2004, when Street Music Week went from solo act to open to one and all. He hasn’t missed a day since, and he works year-round to make this event better and better.

Lyons was involved in creating “Sing for Their Suppers,” the Street Music Week documentary. Plus, he got Coeur d’Alene involved this year, enlisting Jenny Wayman, Luke Emerson and Ben Perschau, who kept things rolling.

In like fashion, getting Street Music Week at the Garland District would never have happened without Julie Shepard-Hall.

This is Garland’s second year of hosting the event, with many more to come.

Thanks, Julie.

Thanks also to my comrades in newsprint who believe in this.

Namely, The Spokesman-Review’s marketing department; Mary Beth Donelan, our Street Music Week money manager; and graphic artist Nita Alexander, who creates the terrific artwork for our posters and badges.

Thanks again to Joe Brasch, my bandmate and spiritual consultant. And cheers to Spokane’s resident rock star, Peter Rivera.

Once again, the former lead singer for Rare Earth wowed a sizable sidewalk crowd near Starbucks with his mega-hits like “Get Ready” and “Celebrate.”

Thanks to one and all of you magnificent buskers.

All right. Let’s do it again next year.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432

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