- July 31, 2019
Panther Ridge's Gary Knoflick and his wife, Debbie, were ready for an adventure at The Grand Clubhouse at The Lake Club April 6. There were plenty of scurry pirates around drinking, lounging by the pool and feasting on grilled salmon, shrimp and other delicacies.
The Knoflicks, dressed in their best pirate garb — Gary Knoflick in a brown leather trench coat, dread locks and two pistols tucked into his belt and Debbie Knoflick wearing a pirate's hat, a beaded necklace and pirate's dress — were just two of them attending A Life Story Foundation's annual fundraiser themed "Pirates of the Caribbean." The foundation raises funds and awareness for ALS, a disease which robs a person of the ability to walk, speak and eventually to breath.
Gary Knoflick had built many of the props used for the evening in 2011 for his "Pirates of the Caribbean" themed Halloween trick-or-treating at his home. This evening, he stood ready also to share pirate jokes.
"What's a pirate's favorite letter?" he asked passersby. "We love the 'C'."
All jokes aside, the evening raised more than $90,000 for the foundation, said Shaina Swan, wife of A Life Story Foundation founder Kevin Swan. Kevin Swan was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.
The event drew more than 200 people and included dinner, a live auction, fireworks and performers from the Players Centre for Performing Arts, Black Diamond Burlesque and the Anna Maria Island Privateers to make the experience feel real.
"Everybody in the neighborhood comes," Shaina Swan said. "It's really fun."