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ABWA to host anniversary celebration

By Staff | Apr 9, 2019

Do the hustle and dance back into the 1970s with an evening of fun, food and celebrity guest appearances at an event to support women in business on the islands and celebrate their progress.

The American Business Women’s Association Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter will host its 40th anniversary celebration gala, “The Little Black Dress Goes Back to the 70’s,” on May 3 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. The event will feature entertainment, a ’70s foodie buffet, silent auction, contests and drawings – funding scholarships for local business women.

“Our goal is to advance professional development and networking for women on the islands,” Gloria Garrett, president of ABWA Sanibel Captiva, said. “Proceeds from the event will fund continuing education scholarships for women working on Sanibel and Captiva.”

Secretary Mary Bondurant explained that the national organization is marking its 70th anniversary, so the ’70s theme was picked because it fit with that, plus the island chapter was established in 1978.

“The chapter is proud of the progress women have made in business since the 1970s,” Garrett said, adding that the gala is also a way to remember and recognize what went into starting the group.

Bondurant noted that the chapter hopes to raise $10,000 for the scholarships.

“We would love everybody to support this event, and come out and celebrate with us,” she said.

During the evening, attendees will have photo opportunities with blasts from the past.

“Expect to see Sonny and Cher,” Garrett said. “John Travolta from ‘Saturday Night Fever.'”

She declined to hint at who else may make an appearance.

“We thought it was a really good way to bring back some great memories,” Bondurant said.

The Renata Band, which plays regularly on Captiva, will keep the crowd moving.

“There will be live music and dancing,” she said.

Even the food offerings will fit the times.

“Like a chocolate fondue foundation and sliders,” Garrett said. “There are a lot of casual foods that came into popularity in the ’70s.”

Guests are encouraged to come in their favorite 1970s attire.

“But people can just come in island chic,” Bondurant said. “We want it to be not too formal.”

Taking the fun up a notch, there will be competitions with prizes awarded.

“There’ll be costume contests, ’70s dance contests,” Garrett said, adding that attendees will have an opportunity to learn some different dance steps. “There will be dance instruction on the floor.”

A silent auction featuring about 50 or more items will help raise additional funds.

“We’ll have gift certificates from restaurants and retail businesses,” Bondurant said. “We have some golf packages, some fishing experiences and some adventures that you can do on the islands.”

There will also be raffle tickets available for purchase.

“There will be a 50/50 raffle, and there will be raffle drawing prizes,” Garrett said.

The event tickets are $40 – an intentional price point, Bondurant explained.

“Every other gala is more like hundreds of dollars,” she said, adding that the chapter wanted to open the doors to everyone. “So, it’s $40 for 40 years. A fun thing to let the entire community come.”

The food and an open bar are included in the price.

With almost half of the tickets gone, people are urged to pick theirs up soon.

“It’s a great event for the end of the season,” Bondurant said. “Enjoy some great food of the ’70s, some great looks of the ’70s, and reminiscence and have a great evening.”

“Celebrate the progress that professional women have made on the islands since ABWA launched 40 years ago,” Garrett added. “Every dollar we earn celebrates professional women’s progress and supports scholarships for women in the future.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit abwasanibelcaptiva.org.

People can also contact Gloria Garrett at 404-226-3842 or garrettglo@aol.com.

Sponsorships and donations are being accepted. For details, call Marletta Short at 913-338-3349.

The Sundial Beach Resort and Spa is at 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel.