30 Nov A Celebration for a Cause: Crawl for a Cure 2016
By Raela Marie Villanueva, Front Line, Pensacola Beach
As we head into the holiday season, we can’t help but reflect on how lucky we feel. Getting to do what we love in one of the most beautiful areas of the country is incredible in and of itself—and our amazing neighbors and guests in Sandestin, Pensacola Beach, and Orange Beach sweeten the deal even further.
With that in mind, when we set out to organize our October breast cancer fundraiser, we knew we wanted to do something that involved all the people and businesses around us. “I wanted it to be something fun and rewarding for the staff and the participants, and to take it out of the salon and into the community,” says Megan Hanson, who masterminded our 1st Annual “Crawl for a Cure” Poker Pub Crawl on Saturday, October 8, 2016.
Well, she knocked it out of the park. We had the time of our lives and raised almost $2000, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And none of it would have been possible without the businesses and guests who participated. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a recap of the highlights. If you were there, we hope this helps you relive the magic—and if not, we hope it inspires you to attend next year. We’re already looking forward to it!
The weather in beautiful Pensacola Beach could not have been more perfect, with sunny skies, a high of 92 degrees and a low of 70. Gotta love October weather on the Gulf Coast! There was just a little more wind than usual, which was to be expected with Hurricane Matthew brushing up the East Coast of Florida. (And speaking of gratitude—there aren’t enough words to describe how thankful we are that our fellow Floridians on the East Coast didn’t sustain as much damage as expected!)
The event commenced at Red Fish Blue Fish, with registration at noon and the Poker Pub Crawl kicking off at 1pm. Registrants drew their first card of the day, played some outdoor bar games, and enjoyed the delicious specials. The beautiful display of door prize baskets and the grand prize baskets were laid out on tables with the most picturesque backdrop of blue skies over the Bay. After some mingling, our crawlers headed by bike or foot to the Shaka Bar.
The Shaka Bar was host to more outdoor games under the sun (including corn hole—who doesn’t love it?) , made even more fun by the stunning view of the Sabine. (If you haven’t been, we can’t recommend Shaka Bar enough—it’s laid back, dog and kid-friendly, and right on the water. They even sweeten the deal with paddle board, bike, and beach supplies rentals.) After soaking up some sunshine there, our participants headed to the next stop at the foot of the fishing pier and right on the crystal clear Gulf of Mexico: Casino Beach Bar.
Casino Beach Bar was packed with football fans watching their favorite teams. This worked out well for us, since a few of them were curious about our crew and ended up getting in on the t-shirt and raffle ticket action. The more the merrier! Hungry crawlers took this chance to order some good. If you find yourself there, we highly recommend the Tuna Tartar Nachos. They’re crazy delicious—and were just enough fuel to get us through the rest of the crawl and after party.
The next stop, Paddy O’Leary’s, added some crucial Irish pub flavor to the event. Paddy’s is infamous for their Irish Car Bomb. As you can imagine, fun for all ensued—and what’s better than having fun for a good cause?
The Islander Bar & Lounge was the final stop of the Pub Crawl and the location of our employee after party. The Islander is known to be the last fun stop of the night on the weekends, where guests can dance their booties off downstairs or enjoy live music under the stars upstairs. Owners Matt Hartley & Dave Kelly were there helping us set up with food and drinks they kindly prepared for our participants and employees. We enjoyed homemade red beans & rice while listening to the live music out on the deck, provided by Greg Lyons. Everyone danced and took in the crazy beautiful rooftop sunset together—the perfect end to a successful day!
Shortly after everyone’s arrival, the door prize winners were drawn, and the grand prize winner was announced. Breast cancer survivor Julie Waldroup was most deserving of not only a big door prize (party at the Break Beach Bar for 35-125 people including food, beer, and live music) but also the grand prize of over $400 in Aveda products, two one-hour massages at Fusion Spa Salon, $50 gift cards to Shaka Bar, Red Fish Blue Fish, Casino Beach Bar, and Paddy’s, and a party at the Islander Bar (for 35-125 people including food, beer, and live music)! We could not be more thrilled that a cancer survivor and beautiful soul was the one to this home. Julie gave brought tears to everyone’s eyes with an incredibly touching speech, thanking us for what we accomplished that day and how the money raised will help with research that might someday prevent her children from having to fight the same cancer.
Employees from Pensacola Beach and Orange Beach enjoyed more live music & refreshments during the after party, and some even took it further to Paradise Bar & Grill for more dancing and a return to Paddy’s for reggae music before calling it a night!
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank all our participants for donating their Saturday and raising money for the cause, all the businesses for their support and donations including Red Fish Blue Fish, The Shaka Bar, Casino Beach Bar, Paddy O’Leary’s, The Islander Bar, The Break Beach Bar, and Aloha Screen Printing. We also have to hand it to our team, who did an impeccable job running the event—and particularly to Megan Hanson, Coordinator for our Pensacola Beach location, who dreamed this up and made it such a success!
We’re already looking forward to next year—and we hope you’re there to join us.