Local children won big Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Longboat Key Gourmet Lawn Party.
The event netted nearly $75,000. After expenses, the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key will place approximately $65,000 in its foundation’s account to fund scholarships, along with grants to local organizations.
“This money will go to fund both grants and scholarships — all helping our local Manasota area youth in need,” said event secretary John Wild. “These event dollars, as well as those from our upcoming Valentine’s Dinner Dance, will expand upon last year’s $50,000 in awards.”
The Kiwanis Club will once again donate part of proceeds to Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee and Sarasota counties, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Manatee and Sarasota counties. This year, Kiwanians added the Child Protection Center and Children First as new recipients for a portion of funds raised.
Ticket counts were still being finalized last week, however, just more than 1,000 were collected at the gates.
Preparations for the luncheon typically begin at least four or five months in advance.
On the to-do list for next year’s organizers: Order more trays, because the $5 trays sold out this year.
Michael Garey, of Lazy Lobster Longboat Key and Doggin’ It in Sarasota, and Bill Herlihy, of Bridge Street Bistro in Bradenton Beach, recruited 29 restaurants for this year’s event, including at least a half-dozen new restaurants, many of which are in the Bradenton Beach/Cortez area.
And, although the event’s purpose was to help local children, the children weren’t the only ones to win big this year.
Deputy Town Clerk Jo Ann Mixon, budget analyst Sandi Henley, financial specialist Rita Mazza and accountant Traci Moore bought raffle ticket No. 0057.
Mixon and Henley ran to the stage cheering to show their winning ticket.
Henley called Mazza first, who had already left the luncheon and was at Trader Joe’s in Sarasota.
“You’re kidding,” she said, although she knows Henley well enough to know that she wouldn’t joke about $20,000.
Then, Henley called Moore, who had bought her share of the ticket for her son, Bryan, 19, to help him pay off his 2003 Dodge Neon.
“He couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Things like that just don’t happen.”
The ticket gave them the choice of $20,000 cash, $25,000 toward a vehicle from a Gettel car dealership or an exotic vacation courtesy of Admiral Travel. They opted for the cash, because it was easier to split between four people.
Mixon said that she will put her share of the cash in the bank until she can best determine its use.
Mazza will use the money to attend an upcoming family gathering in San Francisco, while Henley plans buy a new living-room set, including a sectional sofa.
Wild delivered their cash prizes to them Tuesday, Nov. 20 — giving them plenty of time in case they chose to hit a Black Friday sale or two.