Amidst the entertainment and energy of Music on Main Oct. 7, the subject of Hurricane Ian still was foremost on everyone's mind.
According to Lakewood Ranch Community Fund Board Member Keith Pandeloglou, all proceeds generated from beer and wine sales at the event were donated to hurricane relief.
“Seeing the generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me,” he said. “We've never had an event like this, in terms of sales. I think the mission really was not lost upon people.”
Lakewood Ranch Community Activities and Lakewood Ranch Communities partnered with the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund to raise funds for hurricane victims.
Pandeloglou, who is the executive director of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, all those organizations will continue to collect funds for hurricane relief.
Although he had yet to count the total revenue from the event, Pandeloglou said the event had sold out of every beer on tap, as well as every last packaged beer and wine. He said he was also encouraged by the success of a supply drive hosted by the Lakewood Ranch Information Center for hurricane relief.
Many attendees who were less impacted by the storm said they attended Music on Main to let loose after their own experiences with the storm.
Sarasota’s Pam Willington, attending with her husband Tom Willington, called the event a chance to take a break from cleaning up debris in their yard.
“We love it, we come here as much as we can,” she said.
East County’s Maguire Fraatz, an audio engineer at the event, said he never had seen a bigger crowd at Music on Main.
“Everyone is jamming and having fun,” Fraatz said. “It’s good to see everyone’s doing alright, because everything has been pretty rough here. It’s a chance for them to relax and have a drink for a little bit.”
However, not everyone had a storm experience they could easily forget.
Just before the hurricane’s impact, Russell and Jeri Shawl had evacuated from their home two miles from the coast of Fort Myers to stay with Jeri Shawl’s parents, Joe and Rita Suarez, in Lakewood Ranch.
“It’s amazing that such a short distance away, life is going on as normal,” said Russell Shawl.
The couple had returned to Fort Myers for a period after the storm, due to their medical careers, and Jeri Shawl called the sights she witnessed “a war zone.”
She said at the same time Lakewood Ranch residents were lining up for coffee at Starbucks, people in Fort Myers wandered through the streets with bags that contained all their belongings.
“It’s very humbling to see so many people, from all over, helping,” Shawl said.
“I think it’s important to go to any location to help with the community,” said Nicole Hackel of Lakewood Ranch Communities. “It’s nice to see the community coming together.”
Lakewood Ranch Community Fund Executive Director Adrienne Bookhamer said while the Lakewood Ranch area was very fortunate, this was not the case further south and east.
“It’s a great way for us to get our name out and let people know we’re here to help nonprofits,” she said.
She said she found the results encouraging, with plenty of people coming to the tent to ask questions, as well as lots of drop-offs of items.