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Inaugural Birthday Bash at Junkanoo Saturday

June 3, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

What started as a special way of celebrating the life of a local icon has turned into a bountiful benefit for the local island children. The inaugural Michael DeCarlo Birthday Bash benefit will be held Saturday, June 6, from noon to 6 p.m., at Junkanoo on the Beach. Look forward to plenty of great food, fun and games, contests, raffles and more while raising funds for the Beach Kids Summer Splash group at First Baptist Church of Fort Myers Beach.

"Paula (Towell) and I went to Alfredo Russo, owner of Junkanoo, to discuss a fun celebration of life for Michael's Birthday," coordinator Lena Neroni explained. "Alfredo immediately said, 'So, who are we going to do this for,' raising money, making it a benefit. We told him we were just going to make it a celebration. He goes, 'No, no, no. Michael raised money for the kids.' He then called Pastor Shawn of First Baptist Church, who Michael would often host fund-raisers to help, and found out they have this great kid's summer program. From there, it was decided, this is going to be a benefit in Michael's honor and we're going to do it every year."

Alfredo is going to have a great spread of food lined up for benefit-goers, and they have plenty of other great fun in store for them that day, too.

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"The Jeb Taylor Band will be playing at 2 p.m., we're going to have all kinds of fun games, like an egg run, water balloon toss, cornhole, twister, a dunk tank and even a Michael look-a-like contest," Lena said.

Also look forward to many silent auctions and raffles for various hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates and more, win prizes for the games, and get a limited edition commemorative T-shirt.

"We're also going to raffle off an extremely limited amount of golf shirts, as well," Lena said, with all funds going to the Beach Kids Summer Splash group.

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And while you're there, order one of Michael's favorite drinks: the raspberry kamikaze.

If interested in volunteering and/or making a donation in the form of a raffle prize, or monetary collection for the cause, contact Junkanoo, 239-463-6139, Lena, 239-878-1565, or Paula, 239-410-6888.

As Lena concludes, "Come out and keep Michael's tradition alive, supporting a wonderful local cause while having one hell of a time!"



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