Along with Asima Palmer and Glenn Peterson, Gault is chairing this year's Kiwanis Club Gourmet Lawn Party
The key to planning this year’s Longboat Key Kiwanis Club Gourmet Lawn Party is teamwork. This year’s event is being co-chaired by Kiwanis Club members Bob Gault, Glenn Peterson and Asima Palmer. Gault is a past president of the club and Peterson is the first vice president. Palmer is the branch manager of the SunTrust Bank on Longboat Key. As Gault puts it, they are triple teaming the planning of the event, along with the sponsors and participating restaurants.
How did you become the chair people this year?
Michael Garey has done a tremendous job for us the past few years. Because of his restaurant background and his networking with restaurants in the area, he just did a tremendous job in chairing it the past few years. Michael’s daughter is getting married, and he’s very busy with his wife and everyone planning the wedding. So the three of us agreed to try to step in with his counsel and advice because he kind of established the model for the past few years and has been very helpful in being our adviser. He’s just real busy.
What can people expect at this year’s event?
Well, this is a traditional event that goes back many, many years. I mean, it goes back to the ’70s, and it’s really a community tradition and has evolved and gotten bigger and bigger, and we had to move it to the Longboat Key Club about six years ago. We’re doing it on the Islandside driving range, so we have adequate parking and space for two huge tents, so everything is covered, sun protected and rain protected. This event will go on rain or shine. It’s really a tradition, and we get some 30 restaurants involved every year who serve a dish and it’s two hours. It’s just kind of something people look forward to, and we get close to 1,000 people, so it’s a big event. We’ve got a great band. James Linkogle in public works and his gang have got this band. You could win $20,000. That’s the first [raffle] prize. The second prize is three days and two nights at Universal Orlando Resort, the VIP experience. Longboat Limousine will take four people up for the experience. Zota Beach resort has given us a package.
Is there anything new this year?
Just the raffle prizes are a little different than last year. But it’s really a straightforward come eat, drink, socialize [event]. We have reserved tables of 10 so you get a discount because it’s $50 a piece for admission, but $450 for a table of 10, and those are reserved, and they have your name on it and your company’s name on it. If you’re an individual, there will be tables for you under the tent. The key is that it [the money raised] goes to our foundation. It’s tax deductible and the money goes to our foundation, and the primary purpose of the foundation is [to give] scholarships to Manasota area youth in need. We give some grants to nonprofits who help kids in need, but the primary purpose is scholarships and helping people get a start in college.
How have you seen this event evolve?
It started trying to create funds to add a bicycle path on the island. Then it evolved to the St. Jude Charity, which was great. But we discovered that there are so many local kids in need in Manasota, just right in our backyard. We thought maybe it would be better for us to have more of an impact [locally] because St. Jude is huge, and has huge benefactors from all over the country. But [we] thought that we ought to give a little more focus to the local kids in need. For Kiwanis, overall, it’s about helping kids of the world. That’s the international mission, and so we thought, ‘Well maybe we ought to do more to help the kids and youth in our backyard.’ And that’s been met with great success, and we’ve been able to grow with that new mission. I can’t thank the sponsors and restaurants enough for their support.
What are you most looking forward to?
Well it’s just the community nature of it. It’s just fun to get everybody together. It’s not just Longboaters. It’s folks from Lido and the mainland, but you see a lot people you know, and it’s just great chatting and going from booth to booth and getting a great dish. You just have to be there to understand it. It’s the experience. It’s just a fun outdoor community experience. It’s a good mood event, and everything is going toward a really worthy cause to help people. We don’t realize being over here on this island, until you really look over on the mainland, there are a lot of young people who really need help, and it’s easy to get isolated out here. There’s a lot of people who need help.
Where can people get tickets?
They can buy tickets on lbklawnparty.org or at SunTrust Bank, 510 Bay Isles Road, The Lazy Lobster, 5350 GMD or the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce office, 5390 GMD. They can also buy tickets from the Longboat Kiwanis members.