Once again raising funds for the Fort Myers Beach Soccer Club, "Popeyepalooza V" is rolling out the red carpet and hitting the sand and surf of the Beach Pub, 1668 I St., Sunday, June 22, starting at noon, offering a delectable collection of barbecued treats, live music all day long, virtually hundreds of raffles and much for fun in the island sun.
"This year, we'll be having Popeyepalooza at the Beach Pub, and owners Lou (Caleca), Tim (Miller) and I are all excited about having a new partnership," said Mike "Popeye" Dearden, lead coordinator of the annual benefit. "It's a beach barbecue, the way we always wanted it, and we're looking forward to new events with the Beach Pub for the next year possibly even a poker run."
The annual fundraiser will once again raise donations for the local Fort Myers Beach Soccer club, offering a great outlet for island teens and youth.
"I helped them out at least once, and you can't stop there. Any youth athletic organization needs financial assistance," Dearden said. "I know this league is stressed financially, so it's great to help a wonderful local cause like this, let alone ensure they have a place for the kids to play. President of the league, Rick Loughrey does a fantastic job of putting together a venue that helps the kids and not only help the kids do something as a community, but they're learning a talent that helps them get scholarships to continue their education, all from this local league."
Local musicians from all across the island will entertain during Popeyepalooza, starting with Jeremy White, who's one of the league's new soccer coaches and a member of the group Riptide, opening the show at noon, followed by Tommy V at 1:30 p.m., John and Timmy (and possibly Stet) at 3 p.m., and the John Allender Band at 4:30 p.m.
Enjoy several raffles shouted out between each of the sets that range anywhere from fun establishment SWAG like T-shirts and coozies to multi-night stays at famed island resorts and much, much more.
Also, set up throughout the benefit will be many silent auction tables boasting fantastic prize packages of all sorts.
"Thanks to the backing of the 501-c3 organization, prize donations have been phenomenal," Dearden said. "We've been getting such quality items that you can win for a fraction of the price. And, I'm loving all the customized gift certificates from my annual donors for Popeyepalooza V. It's very humbling. I am so honored by these wonderful local institutions!"
You have the chance to win one-of-a-kind blown-glass wine glasses, extended excursions at local hotels and resorts, tickets aboard the KeyWest Express and many more.
More than $6,000 worth of prizes were up for grabs at press time Thursday.
Between the amazing live music and killer prize packages, you'd think this benefit is complete, right? Think again. Popeyepalooza isn't Popeyepalooza without the savory, lip-smacking-good tastes of Pop's barbecued goodness, and the tradition continues.
"Food was provided by Chef Dave Chetwin and Matanzas Inn, featuring Popeye's Capt. Morgan BBQ chicken and ribs, Jack Daniel's BBQ?baked beans, fresh-made macaroni salad, coleslaw, rolls and butter," Dearden said.
Per-plate donations will be accepted for this magnificent feast. Also be sure to partake in the cornhole tournament that will soar high during the benefit.
If interested in making a donation to the cause whether it's monetarily or in the form of a prize for the raffle or silent auction, contact Dearden, 239-244-4437. Contributions can be made directly to the Fort Myers Beach Soccer League, too. To receive your tax exemption, Dearden urges donors to be sure they properly fill out the donation check. Make the check out to the "Florida Helps Foundation" (the 501-c3 non-profit group that helps fund the local soccer league), and in the notation line, be sure to write "Fort Myers Beach Soccer Club." That way, the foundation can send you a tax-exemption form for your taxes next year.
Those checks can then be mailed to: "Popeyepalooza, PO Box 6103, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33932."
If interested in volunteering during the benefit, either as a cornhole participant, organizer or benefit volunteer in general, feel free to give Dearden a call, 239-244-4437. And, feel free to go to Facebook to RSVP and invite other friends to the benefit, searching for "Popeyepalooza V."