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Zontians celebrate eighth annual ‘Peek’ dubbed ‘best ever!’

By Staff | Apr 9, 2009

Four fabulous homes. Almost 500 eager “Peekers.” Terrific food, all donated by Sanibel stores and restaurants. Nearly 70 volunteers and picture-perfect weather.

Everything came together on March 14 for the Zonta Club’s eighth annual home tour, “A Peek at the Unique.” And on April 6, the club celebrated with its traditional post-Peek potluck gathering and learned that the event had topped all previous records, netting nearly $73,000 for programs that benefit women on the island, in Lee County and across the globe through Zonta International.

Zonta’s Peek differs from the usual home tour in that guests are ferried in air-conditioned buses with experienced bus guides who entertain them with information on each home prior to arrival. Before boarding, guests enjoy gourmet snacks at the staging area, for the second time held at the Sanibel Community Church.

“We are all so grateful to Sanibel residents, the business community and the island news media for the fantastic support we received,” said Ruth Woodham, event chair. “We especially want to thank the homeowners who so generously opened their private residences for this wonderful cause.”

The event is traditionally a sell-out, and this year was no exception. An unprecedented extra bus at 3:30 p.m. also promptly sold out. With a limit on the number of tour tickets that can be sold, the club has created additional sources of revenue over the years.

In addition to ticket sales at $60 per person, these include the raffle “A Chance at the Unique,” sponsorship of the four homes, and many other sponsorships including ads in the keepsake program book and a gift package of “Peek Perks” with discounts to island businesses.

This year, two additional sources of revenue were a first-time sponsorship of the Community Church courtyard by Sanibel Home Furnishings and a “No Peek” raffle, raising $1,700, where offers could be placed on donated gift items without knowing the amount of other offers, the highest being the winner. All drawings took place at the end of the day and all winners have been notified.

Winners of the 2009 Chance raffle (raising a total of $12,300) were:

Platinum, sapphire and aquamarine pendant from Lily & Company – Sally Duffy

Guided tour and lunch aboard the Sanibel Sea School vessel – Carol Strange

Teri Causey hand-painted console table – Arly Paulson

In-home dinner and wine tasting with Chef Melissa Talmage – Jean Black

Two round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines – Ron and Mary Cooke

Shopping spree at Chico’s, Eileen Fisher and Soma – Suzanne Weinheimer

Zontian Sally Lund won the prize for selling the highest number of raffle tickets. Along with nearly 60 club members volunteering on the day, there were also nine “Z-Men” (spouses and friends) who parked cars, directed traffic, ran errands and made deliveries. Photojournalist Sondra Dawes recorded a treasure of candid shots throughout the day.

One more “extra” for this year: guests were invited to bring non-perishable food items for F.I.S.H. of Sanibel, resulting in approximately 300 contributions of cans, boxes or financial gifts.

As always, the club expresses its gratitude to this year’s house sponsors ($2,000 each). In addition to Sanibel Home Furnishings, they were Robert and Dixie Bowden with Janice McNeal in honor of Oglethorpe University (Bali on the Island); Island Styles Remodeling (Mermaid House); Kennedy Construction (Colorific); and Sanibel-Captiva Trust Company with Bob Wigley (Sears House).

The Zonta Club of Sanibel/Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy and funds to strengthen women’s lives on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International.