Craig and Joanne WallaceWalla-Pa-Looza was founded in May of 2009 when its founder, Craig Wallace, was planning a party at his house. He knows quite a few bands and he was talking to some of them about playing at this party.

The party wound up getting kind of large and his wife, Joanne, decided it was probably not the best idea to have it at their home.

Craig had just finished reading the book "Always Looking Up : The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" by Michael J. Fox, a gift he had received from Joanne.

As Craig, Joanne, and a few of their friends were sitting around watching TV and talking one night, the subject of the economy came up and its effects on charities that they donated to. Craig decided it would be a good idea to use his party as a means to raise funds for The American Cancer Society in his local community.

Craig assembled a group of volunteers and organized the event over Facebook. His goal was to create a family friendly event that would raise money that could be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Over time, the volunteers secured a group of corporate sponsors, along with many donations of goods for auctions. Plans were made for a 50/50 auction and other activities for young and old alike.

Four local McHenry County bands donated their time to play for the initial event:

August 1 was set as the date for the event. It was held at the Johnsburg Community Club (2315 W. Church Street, Johnsburg Illinois, McHenry County).

On July 27, 2009 the volunteers received news that one of the members of the organizations step-son,
Zakary Woods, had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of cancer.

This added a new dimension to the cause.

The August 1, 2009 event was a success, raising over $15,000. Not bad for 90 days worth of planning.

The committee that put Walla-Pa-Looza together met in late August and voted unanimously to continue the quest of raising money for cancer research and for those affected by the disease that might need financial assistance. The consensus of the group was that they could make a difference and that they should step up and do so.

The committee then decided to become official and has since filed for non-profit status and set out to become a legally recognized organization. On July 14, 2010, we were granted tax-exempt status and are now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The organization has established the following mission statement:

"Walla-Pa-Looza is a charitable organization whose focus is on making a difference in the lives of those in need. Walla-Pa-Looza achieves this through the planning and execution of family friendly community based events that are focused on raising money in order to help charitable organizations and local families in need who are experiencing physical and financial problems due to their particular situations."

While it will continue to be a goal to raise funds for organizations such as The American Cancer Society and Relay For Life, we will also help families in need who are affected by cancer directly, providing financial assistance for medical treatment or other needs they may have.

There are now two events that the organization plans to run each year. Walla-Pa-Looza, the summer event started in August of 2009, and Jolly-Pa-Looza, our winter fund-raiser; kind of the smaller step sister of Walla-Pa-Looza. We are hoping that both Jolly-Pa-Looza and Walla-Pa-Looza will become community staples and events that become timeless.

The first Jolly-Pa-Looza was held on December 5, 2009 at the Johnsburg Community Club.

For more information about Walla-Pa-Looza, you can email us at info@walla-pa-looza.org