by Kelly Johnson
For six years, the Culver’s Jammers have packed Culver’s in Coon Rapids, filling the business with lively music for a few hours each Saturday.
But beginning March 10, the group will take its music to Fridley, jamming at G. B. Leighton’s Pickle Park.
The move comes because the Saturday jam sessions, featuring more than 20 musicians and some 80-plus audience members, have outgrown the Culver’s space.
Along with a change in venue also comes a new name – Pickle Pickers.
While exciting, the change brings some uncertainty for the group’s organizer, Barbara Carlson.
“We love our audience, they love us and I hope they will follow,” she said.
The last performance of the Culver’s Jammers was Feb. 18.
According to Carlson, Culver’s Jammers started as a wait to meet the needs of local musicians and Culver’s in Coon Rapids.
A group of local bluegrass musicians was meeting in a small room in a local music shop, needing to find a new location to accommodate its members.
Culver’s was looking to fill its dinning room in the mid-afternoon.
A partnership was born.
The Culver’s Jammers grew in both size and audience, filling the Coon Rapids Culver’s to capacity and beyond.
“It’s just been a hit,” Carlson said.
There are regulars and others who come to the Saturday jam session by the bus load to hear the music.
“They’re just such fans,” Carlson said.
But after growing from 10 to more than 90, Culver’s Jammers needed a new home.
“It’s been a nice ride there,” Carlson said about Culver’s of Coon Rapids.
So the group, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association, will move to Fridley, playing in the restaurant side of G. B. Leighton’s Pickle Park, which is located at 7820 University Ave., Fridley.
“I’m hoping all the people will transition OK so it will work,” Carlson said.
The Pickle Pickers will play Saturdays from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
The group will also participate it its annual marathon jam to benefit Fisher House of Minneapolis Feb. 25, from noon to 6 p.m., at the Kraus Hartig VFW, 8100 Pleasant View Drive, Spring Lake Park. The cost is $2.
The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the U.S. departments of defense and veterans affairs.