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Yard Dog Charlie’s Labor Day BBQ and Food Pantry Supply Drive a hit

September 12, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Shortly before 2 p.m. on Labor Day, Woody's began to fill with people for Yard Dog Charlie's annual food drive show.

"I'm really happy with the turnout so far," Yard Dog Charlie (Kuchler) said. "This is the 10th annual Labor Day party to benefit the Pine Island Food Pantry. I like to keep it local."

Charlie arrived in Florida from Milwaukee 16 years ago. After working for a short time at a local marina, Charlie decided to pursue a musical career and formed the Yard Dogs.

Article Photos

'Yard Dog' Charlie Kuchler.


"We had a lot of success," Charlie said. "The Yard Dogs produced 11 CDs in 10 years. We played all over the country and one goal we set was to become a tourist destination. The success with the Yard Dogs is what made me think that maybe I could make a living doing this. Then the band broke up and I went solo.

"I hooked up with Eric at Woody's and he offered me Monday nights and I've been here ever since," Charlie said. "We decided to call them 'Mardi Gras Mondays.'"

The party began sharply at 2 p.m. when Charlie took the stage with his unique style of music that combines Cajun, zydeco, folk, country, rock 'n' roll and lots of comedy. Charlie calls it "Florida Swamp Music."

"This is my first show after touring the Midwest," Charlie said. "I always perform at the Wisconsin State Fair. Of course, the accordion is a favorite up there and they really seem to enjoy my 'Florida Swamp Music.'"

Charlie performs many of his own original songs along with some obscure but popular cover tunes. He uses backing tracks that he has recorded himself, so what you are hearing is Charlie playing all the instruments. This gives him a "full" band sound.

"I've been asked to do so many benefits and you just can't do everything," Charlie said. "We do three or four benefits a year. During last summer, I was asked if I would be interested in performing at an assisted living facility in Cape Coral. They have a school for adults with Downs syndrome. That sounded interesting to me and I'll tell you it was a riot.

"When I started here in Southwest Florida everyone supported me," he said. "I've played all over the country but Pine Island is my musical home and I like giving back to Pine island."

The performer prefers to do benefits for island organizations and causes.

"If I'm going to do a benefit, I want it to benefit the local people," Charlie said. "Memorial Day we benefit the Animal Shelter, I have a friend that asks me to do a benefit for the Southwest Florida Council for the Blind and this is for the Food Pantry, This way you can help the people you know.

"Today we are collecting canned foods, toothpaste, soap, etc. to be donated to the Pine Island Food Pantry," Charlie said. "There are raffles and a 50/50 drawing all to benefit the food pantry."

Woody's Waterside is at 3051 Stringfellow Road in St. James City.



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