Charity fest to bring warmth through song

Andrew Critchelow

Acoustic music, freshly baked cookies and a charitable cause will all come together this Saturday at the Warm in Winter Music Festival hosted by Spongie Acres Bed and Breakfast. The lineup for this event includes several songwriters, including Joey Hayes, Martha Christian and Joe Hash, who are based in Nashville and Bowling Green.

Located on 610 Matlock Road, Spongie Acres will be giving all proceeds of this event to HOTEL INC, a local nonprofit organization focused on fighting problems related to homelessness and poverty in Bowling Green.

Though admission to the festival is free, Spongie Acres encourages those who attend to donate warm clothes, money or both to the cause. The event will start at 2:00 p.m. and will continue until 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. depending on how long musicians’ performances are.

Juannie Kronenberger, co-founder of Spongie Acres, said the festival was established from a desire to help HOTEL INC achieve its goals.

“We named it Warm in Winter for just that reason: to help keep others who are less fortunate keep warm in winter,” she said.

Co-founded in 2012 by Kronenberger and her husband Clint Kronenberger, the bed and breakfast hosts several other community events, including the Spongie Acres Bicycle Festival and the Spongie Acres Spring Music Fest. Juannie Kronenberger and her husband had previously operated a bicycle business in Florida for 28 years and organized several fundraisers during that time. Kronenberger said she has always had a knack for helping any community she has been a part of.

“We’re part of the community, and we always feel like the community supports us,” Kronenberger said. “We feel that it’s important to give back.”

Dan Modlin, a singer-songwriter based in Bowling Green, will be performing at the event. Modlin was instrumental in helping Spongie Acres with booking the lineup for this year’s festival.

“There are some very talented songwriters coming in here, and they’re all playing for free to help with this cause,” Modlin said. “It’s a cool event in a lot of ways.”

Modlin said he enjoys playing events like Warm in Winter because he likes to perform music while benefiting a good cause.

“It’s a very rewarding experience to get together with a bunch of people who you respect as musicians and as writers,” Modlin said. “And it’s not just for us; it’s for something more worthwhile.”

Rhondell Miller, the executive director of HOTEL INC, said the festival is a family event.

“It is a fun day for the entire family to enjoy great music and a way to show your children how to have a giving spirit by bringing a donation,” she said. 

Despite the festival only being in its second year, Modlin hopes the event will continue to grow and affect the community.

“More than anything, I just hope that people will come out and give it a try,” Modlin said. “The price is right, and the cause is a good one.”