Funky music back in Mingo Junction

Mingo Junction will get a little “funky” this weekend when the village holds its annual Community Days celebration.

The highlight of the event will be the return of Rob Parissi to his hometown to perform his Wild Cherry hit “Play That Funky Music” Saturday. Parissi will be honored during a dinner that will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mingo Junction Knights of Columbus.

Parissi graduated from Mingo High School in 1968 and formed the band Wild Cherry a couple years later.

Parissi wrote “Play That Funky Music” in 1976.

“Play That Funky Music” peaked at No. 1 on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts, while both the single and Wild Cherry’s self-titled debut obtained platinum certification. Wild Cherry was named Best Pop Group of the Year by Billboard, receiving an American Music Award for Top R&B Single of the Year, and even earning a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Vocal Group and Best R&B Performance by a Group or Duo.

Parissi has never forgotten his roots, saying he is “humbled” by the attention he is getting in his hometown. For example, McLister Avenue will carry the honorary name of Rob Parissi Boulevard.

The keynote speaker at Sunday’s dinner will be Terry Stewart, who served as president and chief operating officer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland from 1999 through 2012, where there is a Wild Cherry display.

Stewart agreeing to be at the dinner obviously shows the respect Parissi still has in the music industry.

Even after Parissi made millions from that song, he came back to live in Mingo Junction for more than a decade before permanently moving to the Tampa Bay area in Florida.

The Mingo Junction Business Association organized the Community Days and this year’s special recognition of Parissi. Parissi is scheduled to perform his famous song around 10 p.m. Saturday, with the Indian Creek High School band. It is safe to say the parents and grandparents of the band members parents and grandparents danced to the song when they were younger.

Mingo Junction is proud of its history, and history will be made this weekend when Parissi returns.

The weekend will be full of bands playing but the highlight will certainly be Parissi taking the stage in a rare live performance.

He also will be playing songs from his jazz albums, with one song “Right Beside You” currently on the charts.

Parissi made his mark in music history, and it is fitting that Mingo Junction will honor the man during a very special weekend.