"We were trying to think of something big to bring...just a big event to bring some good money in and bring the community together," said Michelle Weidemann, co-organizer for the Midwest Dueling Pianos fundraiser being planned for Saturday, March 15, to raise funds for the proposed Mabel Community Market.

Both Weidemann and fellow coop board member Leah Austin have been working hard to organize the event in Mabel to raise funds to open the new community grocery store.

"We're still in the planning stages of everything, (and) we're trying to get the money there...to raise money for operating costs," Weidemann said about the coming Dueling Pianos performance, which will be held at the Mabel Community Center.

"A lot of people have been to a Dueling Pianos show before and they felt it was very entertaining and it was something the community would enjoy," Austin added.

Weidemann said advanced ticket sales for the concert are going well. She said they will have a better idea on how many tickets have been sold after the committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26. They hope to have 300 in attendance at the event.

"People are excited about it...it's every age group," Weidemann added.

While there is no set fundraising goal, Weidemann said they would like to raise at least $3,000 from the event to fund the proposed grocery store's start up costs. "We'll take whatever we can get, we need to at least cover our costs - but above that we need to make at least $3,000 if we can."

Weidemann and Austin said their strong desire to have a grocery store back in the Mabel community is why they have become involved in the fundraising process.

"I just want the convenience of it back...I think it affects both ends - it affects the young (and) it affects the old," Weidemann said about not having a grocery store in Mabel.

"We need to keep the community going. We both have young children and we want them to be able to go to school here until we graduate...there are multiple reasons (why we need a grocery store.)," Austin added.

More fundraisers will be in the works to fund the proposed market after the dueling pianos performance. "We don't have anything in mind yet but it is going to take a lot of fundraising to have a store," Austin said.

Currently, the plan is for the proposed grocery store to be built in downtown Mabel on the site of the currently vacant Booman Chiropractic, Mabel Record, Cruisers Restaurant and Susie's Roadhouse buildings. Once the facility is built, it will be owned by the Mabel EDA (Economic Development Authority) and then leased to the grocery store coop organization. Plans and funding to demolish the four buildings on the site are currently in progress.

About the event

Midwest Dueling Pianos provides a "wildly entertaining" and "hilarious" event like no other. The amazing Midwest Dueling Pianos show provides high-end entertainment for the audience and will have one singing, cheering, dancing and laughing.

The show is request-driven and promises to span generations to keep everyone from a 90-year-old great-grandmother, to a hyper 4-year-old entertained and focused on the show. Performers from Midwest Dueling Pianos are some of the finest young talents around, and all veterans of the dueling piano industry.

The company is based in Michigan, but has teams of players stationed all over the country to bring the inventive show to audiences across the United States.

The Midwest Dueling Piano's performance will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, with a social hour starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at Mabel BP, BBG's, Mabel City Hall, First Southeast Bank in Canton and in Lanesboro at Scenic Design. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.