September 1, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Musicians perform during last year’s ‘Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear – Pickin’ Life’ music fest held near Dawson Springs on Oct. 9, 2021. In December 2021, the community was shaken by devastating tornadoes that even destroyed the local Catholic church, but music fest organizers say neighbors have supported each other and are rebuilding together. COURTESY OF JEFF AND LAURA SMITH

Ninth year of ‘Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear – Pickin’ Life’ will raise money for pro-life pregnancy care centers


As fall appears on the horizon, so also approaches the ninth annual “Bluegrass on (Lake) Beshear – Pickin’ Life” music fest, scheduled for Oct 8, 2022, which benefits three life-affirming pregnancy care centers in western Kentucky. Six Knights of Columbus councils (Princeton/Dawson Springs/Eddyville, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Calvert City, Murray and Hardin/Aurora) join forces with the Pickin’ Life Project, businesses and area churches to sponsor the music festival/fundraiser.

Jeff and Laura Smith are founders of the Pickin’ Life Project, a charitable organization that raises money for crisis pregnancy centers in western Kentucky. They are also members of Resurrection Parish in Dawson Springs. Their church was destroyed by the tornado on Dec. 10, 2021.

 “Our parish and community were knocked back by the tornado but we’ve stayed together, supported each other and we’re rebuilding,” said Jeff Smith.

Recent national developments have put a spotlight on life-affirming pregnancy care centers. 

“The Supreme Court’s rejection of Roe and Casey means that our crisis pregnancy centers are more important than ever – and they are under assault from pro-abortion forces,” said Jeff Smith. “The centers must receive our material support and prayers so they can continue to protect life from conception. Bluegrass on Beshear promotes these wonderful centers by raising money and awareness through a musical celebration of life.”

In eight years since the inaugural event in 2014, “Bluegrass on Beshear” has raised $114,943 to benefit Door of Hope (Madisonville), Alpha PCC (Hopkinsville) and H.O.P.E. Clinic (Benton and Eddyville). The pregnancy care centers are ecumenically faith-based. All services, including ultrasound imaging, counseling, parenting classes and baby supplies, are free to clients. The centers receive no government funding because if they did, the federal government would require them to refer clients for abortion. Instead, the centers depend on the support of citizens, businesses and churches to stay open.

The one-day music festival will be held from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 8 at 307 Island Cove Lane near Dawson Springs.

“We’ll have five bands and a choir this year,” said Laura Smith. “We showcase Bluegrass music but we also have talented bands that play Gospel, Country, Rock & Roll and Blues.  Admission is free and our volunteers will help you park and get to the stage. You can bring lawn chairs and a cooler if you wish. We raise money through sponsorships, donations, food, drinks and merchandise sales. We’ll also have a fun raffle with more than $3,000 in prizes.  Grand prize is $500 cash. Other prizes include lodging, food and recreation items.” 

For the second consecutive year, a benefactor will match total donations up to $12,000 – so every donation or purchase will be doubled. More information about the event and how to donate can be found on, or (270) 399-5018. 100% of every donation goes to the pregnancy care centers and all donations are tax-deductible. As the event’s motto says, “Together in Christ – We are Pickin’ Life.”

Originally printed in the September 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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