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Longboat’s favorite ticket for gourmet fun set for Saturday

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Michael Garey is driven to make the charitable event a major success on every level. His final push is to sell the remaining raffle tickets.

The Longboat Key Gourmet Lawn Party, which is happening next Saturday, Dec. 3, brings out the very best in our community.

Year after year Longboat Key, Sarasota and Bradenton’s finest restaurants donate culinary delights, wine and beer for one singular reason — to help raise money for Longboat Key Kiwanis student scholarships and area charities benefitting children.

And year after year more than a thousand attendees feast, enjoy the music and camaraderie as they spend an afternoon under the tents at the Longboat Key Club Islandside golf course.

In addition to the more than 30 restaurants and vendors that make the charity event possible, one familiar face to all of Longboat Key — Lazy Lobster owner Michael Garey — is responsible for perhaps the most important facet of the event — making it a success on every level.

Garey is the event chair and has been for the past three years. And anyone close to Garey knows he places directly on his shoulders the responsibility for making the event an amazing afternoon for guests. But even more importantly, he is determined to raise the most money possible for the more than 30 students and grants to area children’s organizations that otherwise would not have the opportunities without the support of the community.

And the key to truly supporting the students is for guests of the event or anyone who can support this goal to buy a raffle ticket.

Only 500 raffle tickets, which cost $100 each, will be sold and the winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize. There are four “consolation” prizes including a Universal Orlando VIP experience; a Zota Beach Resort getaway; A Year of Delicious Dining and a Lobster, Love and Limo package for the Lazy Lobster.

Simple math shows that the raffle sales are the singular most important element in raising the student and children charity money. And Garey, cognizant of this, is working around the clock to sell all 500 tickets. He still has a way to go.

“I am so grateful for the residents and friends as well as all of the restaurants and fellow Kiwanis Club members who have all pitched in. My final hope and push is to sell as many raffle tickets in the final week to make that fundraising goal a reality,” said Garey.

This is Garey’s last year as Chairperson of the signature event and he is directly seeking the support of friends and the community to set the bar high.

“I really want to go out on top. In the spirit of full disclosure, for the past three years, I have never been able to sell out of raffle tickets. If we could sell-out all 500 of our available raffle tickets, well, I would retire as chairman a proud and happy man!”

Garey hopes residents, visitors, realtors and anyone who wishes to support the Longboat Kiwanis and the local students and children it supports buy additional raffle tickets. They can be purchased at at lbklawnparty.org/buytickets or they can stop in at the Lazy Lobster and buy them there. That may be the best option since Garey is giving a $15 Lazy Lobster gift certificate to anyone who buys a raffle ticket. You do not have to be present to win the raffle prizes and the raffle tickets are tax deductable.

Credit needs to be given especially to some of the event’s top sponsors says Garey.

“I am very grateful The Colony Redevelopment by Unicorp and Chuck Whittall has stepped up to be the Platinum Sponsor. I would also like to thank Sandra Ceshker at Secur-All Insurance Agency, David Miller at Cannons Marina, Sun Trust, Publix and Waste Management for their years of sponsorship and support,” said Garey.

Whittall, who is seeking to redevelop the Colony resort, said, “Our team at Unicorp is very excited to associate ourselves with such a great organization fulfilling great charitable needs. Philanthropy is important to us as we plant our roots in the fabulous community of Longboat Key. We are truly excited about the re-development of The Colony and becoming a key community partner.”

This year’s event will feature more than 30 participating restaurants dispensing culinary creations that represent the menu items offered at their locations on Anna Maria Island, Cortez, Bradenton, St. Armand’s Circle, Sarasota and Longboat Key. Of course wine and beer distributers will be on hand to quench thirst.

Garey said the participation of so many noteworthy restaurants is owed to Michelle Waldron, who has taken on the restaurant chair position.

The Lawn Party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on the Islandside driving range at the Longboat Key Club.

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