Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Annual Groundhog Day Charity Poker Run


The Palapa Bar and Grill kicked off the first day of February with their annual charity poker run. This was the biggest since its inception, with 200 poker hands played. The event started at 10:30am when players were invited to buy their place in the game. Following instructions, an excited and energetic crowd dispersed into different boats and were shuttled off to the different establishments participating in the poker run. Guests were treated to drinks and food specials, scenic boat rides throughout the day, and an ongoing poker game. At 4:30pm, the jubilant crowd was shuttled back to The Palapa for winner reveals and live music. Palapa owner Jodie Harnish explained that this year, the poker run raised funds for both the Rickilee Rapid Response Water Rescue Team (RRR) and Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES).
RRR is a young non-profit quick response team and the island’s main point of contact for road and water accidents. They were formed in memory of American national, Rickilee Mercer who perished on the leeward coast of Ambergris Caye in March 2017. Since its inception, they have performed many rescues and provided emergency assistance to island residents and guests. ACES provides a fully integrated special needs program for students with disabilities and has certified teachers who are specially trained in the special needs area. Both were the focal point of Palapa’s fundraising event.

Palapa Bar and Grill stated that it was their most successful poker run, with $4000 raised for RRR and $1250 for ACES via a raffle. All winners of the poker run gave back their winnings to ensure that the charities succeeded. Musician Kelly McGuire even made a surprise appearance at Rojo Beach Bar and Palapa, much to the delight of the guests and donated $210 from his CD sales to RRR, bringing their total to $4210. Rojo Beach Bar also donated a portion of their proceeds for the day back to RRR. As the event continues to grow, The Palapa Bar and Grill hope to keep seeing a bigger turnout and invites poker hopefuls to take part in next year’s fun.

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