PARTY AT THE FUNERAL HOME
It probably falls into the category of being one of the least assuming places for a bash, but the Brick Meger Funeral Home in Owatonna has found a unique way to throw a party.
On the Fourth of July, Brick Meger opened up its facilities across from the Steele County Fairgrounds for a free concert in preparation for the city’s annual fireworks display. Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy a beautiful evening of music, food and fellowship.
Brick Meger began hosting the party in 2009 after a major remodeling project of the funeral home took place. Owner Glen Meger credits his wife, Cheryl, for coming up with the idea to have a party. “She made the comment that ‘Wow, this is an amphitheater,’ and it was the inception of getting music here,” Meger said. Cheryl was referring to the funeral home’s drive up to the front door overlooking the parking lot. It has proven to be a great venue for music concerts.
This year Brick Meger featured Street Talk, which is a band from Faribault specializing in classic rock and new rock. Glen Meger said he heard the band play in Medford and decided to bring them on for this year’s Fourth celebration. “I have a soft spot in my heart for live music,” Meger confessed.
The band performed up until about 10 p.m. at which time people simply turn their lawn chairs around and watch the fireworks. “This is how it grew into what it is,” Meger said of the fireworks display. “It was a simple fit,” he added.
Meger said they have hosted as many as 500 people in the past, though this year’s crowd appeared to be down a little, which Meger attributed to the timing of the holiday being in the middle of the week.
Members of the Owatonna Wrestling Association offered a pulled pork sandwich meal throughout the party. Meger said they offer a non-profit organization to sell food as a fundraiser. The Megers also kept their tradition of offering free watermelon to the crowd.
“It’s a way to engage the community and give back to the community,” Meger said of the party. “We just do it as a community event—let people come out and enjoy themselves.”
Because of the nature of his business, Meger knows he sees families at their worst. “It’s good that people can see me without my funeral director’s hat on,” Meger said. “It’s nice to talk to people when they don’t have to talk to you,” he added.
The party attracts a wide range of visitors from youngsters to families as well as elderly people. “Thanks for coming, it’s nice to see you guys,” Meger said to one family as he made the rounds.
Besides funerals, Meger said his funeral home property is good only two times during the year. Once for the Fourth celebration and the other for the Steele County Free Fair. During the fair, the Megers offer the lot to a non-profit group to park vehicles.
Meger has owned the funeral home since 2000. He also owns the Medford Funeral Home. “The Medford and Owatonna communities have been so good to us over the 19 years,” Meger said. “It’s just a way for us to give back to the community and offer a free concert.”