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Joe Conklin says it’s no joke – @EvanFest proves Philly lax community is a winner

Friday, 18th November 2016

Categories Banquet, Boy's/Men's, College, Girl's/Women's, High School  
 

By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/18/16

Popular Philly sports comedian Joe Conklin had the house in laughter Thursday night with his impersonations of President Elect Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Merrill Reese and other names in the spotlight.

Evanfest committee members and supports: (from left) John McEvoy, Drew Brady, Ryan Holloway, Chris Creighton, Steve Layne, Matt Mackrides, Dan Liva, Kira toner,  Andrew Mackrides, Ryan Creighton, Andrew quercetti, Colin mcgeehin, mike Avato, mike Creighton, Kevin Kinsella, Chris marcozzi

Evanfest committee members and supporters: (from left) Coach John McEvoy, Drew Brady, Ryan Holloway, Chris Creighton, Steve Layne, Matt Mackrides, Dan Liva, Kira Toner, Andrew Mackrides, Ryan Creighton, Andrew Quercetti, Colin McGeehin, Mike Avato, Mike Creighton, Kevin Kinsella, Chris Marcozzi

But when interviewed near the end of the 5th Annual Evanfest Banquet at Drexelbrook Catering in Drexel Hill, it was Conklin who gave the compliments to the gathering of over 200.

“I was impressed with the amount of young people here,” said Conklin, who has risen to fame with his work on WIP 94.1 Sports Talk radio and comedy events. “Usually you go to these dinners – some are stuffy, some are mostly older people – but for this whole dinner, Bill (Brady, Evan’s father) told me, all the energy comes from young people.

“It is impressive. They have had such success and they should feel great about helping so many families.”

Conklin said he learned of Evanfest from his boss at WIP Spike Eskin, son of famed Philly sports personality Howard Eskin and an attendee last year at Evanfest.

“I have a connection through the Eskin family; I work with Spike Eskin and he gave me Bill’s contact information,” said Conklin. “I looked up and found they lost a son to cancer. They asked for 15 minutes – it’s a no-brainer.

“I’m too old for lacrosse; I don’t think we had it when I was a kid (he attended Cardinal Dougherty in the city). It seems like a great sport and kids are doing great things, and getting a great education. It’s a beautiful event.”

Evanfest is more of a movement, as Mr. Trump likes to say, than an event.

Evan Brady was a youth lacrosse legend who learned he had osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) when he entered Malvern Prep in 2002. Despite not being able to play lacrosse throughout high school, he became a friend, leader and role model to the Malvern Prep community through his courage, character and selflessness, among many other traits described Thursday night.

Evan became a coach for Malvern – looked up to by his own teammates and classmates. He passed away at the age of 19 in 2005 after graduation, but his legacy had only just begun.

Evan’s father, Bill, told the gathering that the Malvern Prep parents encouraged him to start a youth lacrosse event. So, in 2008 Evanfest was born and next April the 10th Evanfest Youth Tournament will be held at Malvern Prep. The tourneys, banquets and overall foundation (Click here)have helped raise nearly $1 million to help almost 300 families with children that have life-threatening diseases.

Evanfest is an all-volunteer organization that uses hundreds of volunteers for the tourney and banquet and other operations. Bill Brady and wife Patrice and son Drew remain a driving force, but Bill said once again Thursday that a group led by Evan’s friends remain the key force to Evanfest – as Conklin noted.

Thursday’s event also featured emcee Brian Dougherty, a Hall of Famer and the head coach at Chestnut Hill College who has led all five banquets; and Drexel fifth-year basketball player Meghan Creighton, who, along with her four brothers, was a friend of Evan and said his legacy inspired her to come back for a final year after a serious knee injury cost her a season.

Event committee member Colin McGeehin said the Philly community has embraced Evanfest.

“Ten years and almost a million dollars,” said McGeehin. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the Malvern lacrosse community is such a close knit community and we all grew up together and even to this day we have remained really good friends even after four years of college.

This is a way to stay connected and do something we are all passionate about. We all love the Brady family. This is an opportunity where we can pull our wright for the Bradys and thank them for everything they have done. They have been huge supporters to all of us. They are fantastic people and to get 200 people here, this is a really cool thing to see.”

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