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Mardi Gras: CHR to host 6th annual fundraiser

By Staff | Jan 31, 2018

Get into the New Orleans spirit with games of chance, Louisiana-style entertainment and more – all on a “riverboat” – at Community Housing and Resources’ 6th Annual Mardi Gras Fundraiser.

Scheduled for Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. at The Community House on Sanibel, the event will feature craps, roulette and blackjack, along with a bourbon tasting lounge, fortune tellers, Cajun-inspired food, live music and dancing, and more. Tickets are $125 each and those interested should pick them up fast.

“We’re selling out quick,” Executive Director Melissa Rice said. “Don’t wait until the last minute.”

There are a few firsts for the event this year, like moving it inside to The Community House.

“In previous years, it’s rained on us and we’ve had to have tents,” she said.

With the change, the fundraiser will go off rain or shine.

The CHR team is turning the venue into a New Orleans riverboat for the occasion.

“We’re creating a giant riverboat out of wooden stuff,” Rice said.

Attendees can get their photo taken with the boat as they head into the fun.

“It’s going to look like a real riverboat,” she said.

Once inside, people can try their hand at the various games of chance – another new addition.

“They’ll play with chips and be able to win raffle prizes from their winnings,” Rice said.

“We’re not your typical fundraiser,” she added. “We wanted to up the ante.”

Another first is the live entertainment, which will keep the crowd rocking throughout the evening. The band The Porchdogs, from Central Florida, specializes in the Cajun, Zydeco and rock blues genres.

“We also have fortune telling,” Rice said, noting that there will be tarot card and palm reading.

Bailey’s General Store will have a bourbon bar set up for tastings and flights. Featuring several quality labels, attendees can choose from one or more bourbons and create a flight to sample and compare.

“There will be a build-your-own beignet station,” she said.

Attendees are encouraged to dress for the occasion.

“Wear your costumes,” Rice said.

For those without the gear, an on-site costume shop will have beads, masks and accessories.

“You’ll be able to get things there,” she said.

The raffle prizes up for grabs will cover a range of items and interests, including a trip for two, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and sunglasses from Sanibel Sunglass, just to name some.

“We’re not the typical fundraiser,” Rice said. “We like to make it fun and active.”

She noted that CHR had no fundraiser prior to the creation of the event.

“CHR needed to raise additional funding other than from the rents that we were receiving, and we wanted to raise community awareness,” Rice said. “We’d like to be a little more self-sufficient.”

Last year, an estimated 250 people attended the fundraiser.

“It has grown every year,” she said. “Every year we’ve raised our goal, and every year we’ve met our goal.”

The title sponsor for the 2018 event is the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank.

“Lowe’s Homes of Love is back,” Rice said. “We’re raising money for flooring for our units.”

Community Housing and Resources oversees 74 rental units in 11 locations throughout Sanibel. In operation since 1979, its mission is to provide affordable housing for individuals and families.

Sponsorships are still available at 239-472-1189 or melissa.rice@sanibelchr.org.

Tickets can be purchased at Bailey’s, at sanibelchr.org/mardigras and by calling 239-472-1189.

Rice encouraged the community to check it out.

“We’re a fun fundraiser,” she said. “There’s lots to do and lots going on.”

For more information about CHR, visit online at sanibelchr.org.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.