Gobblefest 2015 Celebrating While Sharing

Father and son, Gilly & Doc Gilgenbach

Father and son, Gilly & Doc Gilgenbach

BY Jennifer Holzmann

Gobblefest marks seventeen years of Thanksgiving sharing, Wednesday, November 25th at The Shack in Fond du Lac.

“Seventeen years of rockin’ bands and giving back to Fond du Lac,” says event organizer and 96-1 WTCX general manager, Terry Davis, “close to $70,000 has been raised and contributed to local causes including the Relay for Life Cancer benefit. Thanksgiving has always been about getting together and giving back. Gobblefest grew out of the ‘night before Thanksgiving’ tradition that drew so many to the old Copper Kettle tavern on Winnebago Drive in the 80’s and 90’s. Hundreds of college students would return home that night and want to get together with old friends. When the Kettle came down, there was a natural reason to create an event to get those folks together, and Gobblefest was born.”

The Thanksgiving sharing tradition continues with Gobblefest 17 presented by Bud Light and brought together by Mike’s Music and Sound, and 96-1 WTCX.

This year Gobblefest is giving back in a special way to a special community member providing a portion of the proceeds to help the ‘Doc Gilgenbach Heart Fund’ for Rick (Doc) Gilgenbach.

Gilgenbach, a Fond du Lac native is on a waiting list for a new heart due to congestive heart failure, a condition his father, Richard Gilgenbach Sr. had as well, and who also received a new heart over 20 years ago. Doc has witnessed his dad’s journey up close and personal and is hopeful.

“All of the doctors at St. Luke’s know me as Gilly’s kid,” Rick said “They take great care of me there.”

Rick took his first step toward a heart transplant last month, spending nearly a month at St. Luke’s after having a heart valve pump surgically implanted. It will help bridge the gap until he’s officially added to the transplant list in hopes of receiving a new heart early next year.

While he was in the hospital, Rick met a person who had just gone through the heart transplant himself. 

gobblefest_96-1“He told me that getting the pump implanted was actually more invasive than the heart transplant surgery,” Rick said “so one of the bigger hurdles is now behind me.”

Another big hurdle for Rick and his family, wife Michelle and kids (Zach and Jenna) is financial in nature. Even with medical insurance, Rick’s family is faced with an overwhelming financial burden related to past and upcoming surgeries, hospital stays, tests, prescriptions and more.

Twenty-six years ago, when Dick Gilgenbach Sr. was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and the only remedy was a heart transplant, the Fond du Lac community rallied around the Gilgenbach family, helping to raise the needed funds to make the heart transplant a reality, and ultimately, helped to “Give a Heart to Gilly.”

“The support was unbelievable,” Dick said  “I never knew I had so many friends that cared so deeply.”

Although, the heart transplant did not come overnight, as Dick spent 17 stressful months on the waiting list before receiving a heart. 

Fast forward almost three decades, and Gilly is still going strong!  However, his eldest son, his namesake – Richard (Rick) Gilgenbach Jr., is heading down the same path.

“The biggest challenge I had in facing a heart transplant was overcoming fear,” Dick said “not knowing what was going to happen.  It should be easier for Rick because he knows it’s been successful for me!”

Just as the Fond du Lac community rallied for his father so long ago, efforts have begun to assist Rick and his family overcome the financial challenges ahead.

Red, “Give A Heart to Gilly Part Deus,” bracelets have been selling like hot cakes around town.  A website, Facebook page and Go Fund Me page all under the name “Give a Heart to Gilly,” have also helped to bring awareness and garner donations.

The support has been more than financial. 

“I’ve gotten more letters, cards, calls, texts and emails than you could believe,” Rick said  “and heard from people I haven’t talked to in quite some time, back to high school and college in some cases.  It’s pretty cool!”

GobbleFest 2015 marks the next big opportunity to help “Give a Heart to Gilly,” as the annual party has graciously offered to donate part of their proceeds to the cause.

“I’ve been to GobbleFest a number of times over the years – all the way back to the Vic Ferrari days!” Rick said.  “It’s awesome and humbling to think this year’s event will help benefit me.”

Friends and family will be hosting raffles and silent auctions at the event in order to raise additional funds.  Sponsorships are also available – go to for more information.

“We’re really happy to be helping the Gilgenbach’s with their situation,” Terry Davis said “Anyone who knows Doc, loves him. So when I got the call from Doc’s friend, Scott Basler to have Gobblefest get behind the cause, it was an easy yes.”

gobblefest_boogie2Friends and family of Doc will be hosting raffles and silent auctions at the event to raise additional funds. Other benefactors for Gobblefest 2015 are Relay for Life and Greenbush Kettle Moraine Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club who will be serving up the beer by the stage.

Gobblefest 2015‘s featured bands are Boogie and The Yo-Yo’s, and Bad Medicine.

Boogie has played in this area since the mid-90’s, but their sound continues to evolve and surprise. Not a rock band, not a country band, not a pop band, Boogie and the Yo-Yo’s is an ‘everything band’ – whatever your musical taste, they have something for you. Boasting a 3 piece horn section, they play a wider variety of music without sacrificing quality, throw in choreography and a the crowd goes wild!

Bad Medicine is described as “what you get when you add two parts classic rock and two parts 80’s rock.” Bad Medicine began as a Bon Jovi knock off band who has grown their playlist to include rock songs from the 70’s and 80’s.

Sure to be a night of great fun for great community causes.

Gobblefest 2015 will be held at The Shack the eve of Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 25th from 6:30pm to 12:30am. Advance tickets can be purchased for $7 exclusively at all three Korneli’s locations.

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