By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Despite the heat, frequent thunderstorms and a near-hit by Hurricane Dorian during August, the month virtually flew by, thanks, in large part, to the annual fun-packed events sponsored by the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.
With nearly two dozen events in its Festival Days array, the Chamber linked its for-profit members with the nonprofit community to raise awareness and money for charitable organizations.
Event goers enjoyed a lip-sync competition as well as acrobatics courtesy of the Soleil Warriors. Participants bowled for bread, sipped margaritas, dipped goodies into fondue delicacies and kicked off fall activities at the Boca YMCA to benefit that agency.
“It is always great to see the community come together to celebrate,” said Chamber President and CEO Troy McLellan. “Business leaders, community leaders and political leaders had the opportunity to enjoy some of Boca Raton’s finest hospitality, culinary delights and spirits. We thank all those who continue to support this great summer event.”
The Chamber kept its signature event – Wine & All That Jazz – nearly until the end of the month. The night of Aug. 24, some 700 folks gathered at the Boca Raton Resort & Club for the food and wine revelries that annually benefit the Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Foundation. That segment of the Chamber donates its proceeds to Boca schools.
That same late August weekend, Boca Helping Hands raised a record $16,000 on behalf of area children’s charities during its 13th annual Bowling for Bread fundraising event at Strikes@Boca Raton. More than 200 children served by the participating charities signed up to bowl, a total augmented by about 160 adults.
“This is one of the favorite events every year,” said Greg Hazle, executive director of Boca Helping Hands. “We love the synergy and collaboration among our charity partners, and we’re beyond thrilled that these amazing kids got to spend an afternoon simply having fun. That’s what this event is truly all about.”
First Citizens Bank was Bowling for Bread’s for-profit partner and event sponsor was the Lee Pearlson Steinberg Foundation.
Benefactors came from all parts of the city. The Boca Resort & Club opened its doors for tours to benefit the Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum. A “Battle of the Bartenders” aided Best Foot Forward and a lip sync battle at Crazy Uncle Mike’s aided Nat King Cole Generation Hope.
Festival Days opened with a pair of events to benefit the Spirit of Giving organization. A community back-to-school bash and the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl Idol contest supported its mission of creating alliances with nonprofit organizations by sharing resources and providing education to strengthen the community.
The Boca Bowl Idol contest packed a conference room at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus where competitors sought the right to sing the National Anthem at the Boca Bowl football game coming up in December. A brother-sister duo, Evelyn Martins, 31, and Raphael Martins, 28, from Deerfield Beach sang “Speechless” to earn a big musical victory.
Other activities included “Back the Blue,” an event encouraging people to support their local police; “Feed Your Funny Bone,” an evening of comedy to benefit the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Federation; “Bingo for a Cause” to support the American Association of Caring Youth; “Caribbean Dreaming,” held at Boston’s on the Beach in Delray to aid the Be Like Brit Foundation; “Beer and Bingo Bash” for Child Net and “Margarita Monday,” to help fund the KidSafe Foundation.
Also: Midsummer “Cosmos” Party, with proceeds benefiting the Boca Raton Museum of Art; “Sips & Sushi, a benefit for Place of Hope and “Taste of the City,” the final event, to aid Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism & Related Disabilities.