Just in time to kick off the end of season, when more of us locals come out to play, Popeyepalooza IX returns to the Beach Pub on Sunday, April 29th. It’s host and founder Michael ‘Popeye’ Dearden has been busy getting everything together to make this annual island tradition even better than last year!
For those of you that are not familiar with this event we asked him to give us some history of what exactly is a Popeypalooza anyway, and how did it begin? Here's how he explained it.
“It all started nine years ago as a party! Every year, I throw a Memorial Day BBQ for my friends. One year I had 75 people attend, and I turned to good friend Jim DiMilia, at the time president and a coach for the FMB Soccer League, and said, This is nuts! If I'm going to get this many people together for a party, we'll have to raise money for something!" "Well, how about my kids' league?", he replied.
We were halfway planning this for the following year, when somebody hollered, "Hey Popeye, you're on the radio!" Another friend, first time attending my BBQ, was having the time of his life, and called a DJ friend of his and was on the air, telling people, "If you're looking for something to do today for Memorial Day, go check out the POPEYEPALOOZA BBQ on Eucalyptus Ct. on Fort Myers Beach!" .......Now we had an event, AND a name!
I held that 1st Popeyepa-looza at my home back then, and with 150 people attending thought, "I'm gonna need a bigger boat!" The next 3 years we enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the Mermaid Club and Valerie's Lounge.
Something was still "missing" though, as I'd always envisioned a "Beach Party" event.... Enter the Beach Pub.... This is our 5th year at the Pub, and we've grown exponentially on the sand!
That first year we raised $1,100 for the Soccer League. After Popeyepalooza IV, then club president Rick Loughrey requested we split our earnings, adding the little league. We ramped up the event and gave EACH league $1,600 in 2014. After raising a record shattering $6,841 at last year's Popeyepalooza VIII, our 8 year running total for youth sports on Ft. Myers Beach is $25,951! Our goal, as always, is $1 more than last year!
Festivities will include our incredible beach BBQ. At $10/plate. You get my Capt. Morgan BBQ chicken & ribs, beans, pasta salad, chips, and bread! We will have live entertainment from noon to 7pm! We give away thousands of dollars in goods and services in our raffles, silent auctions, and live auctions! There are also 50/50 raffles going on all day! Hats and t-shirts will be available for $10 each! " he said.
A new addition to this years event is the Popeyepalooza Bazar and Crafts fair which is co sponsored by the Sea Gypsy Inn. "We're introducing our first ever Popeyepalooza Bazaar that morning! We're calling on artists and craftspeople who would like to participate in this years fundraiser. For a mere $50 table fee and 25% of your proceeds you can have a table at the bazaar in the Sea Gypsy courtyard right on Estero Blvd. Interested parties can contact me at (239)645-2402. The Bazaar will begin at 9am." he added.
'Popeye' modestly left out one very important fact, he is currently the grill master at the Bayside Grille on San Carlos Blvd and he will be smoking all the meat for Popeyepalooza IX himself.
Not only will there be great food, prizes and givaways, but as all "Palooza" parties around the globe, Popeyepalooza is founded around great local live music and will feature live performances by
Tommy V and Sean, DVS Trio, 10,000 Views, and Smack Daddy.
Tommy V & Sean
"Tommy V once again will start the days live entertainment with Sean, followed by DVS Trio, and Yes, that's right!!! local faves...10,000 VIEWS are in town for that weekend from Vegas and are giving Popeyepalooza a set!!! Do these guys rock or WHAT!!! Everybody loves these guys because of their high energy show, and SMACK DADDY!!! will be closing out the event!!! What a lineup!"
"The night before Popeyepalooza IX was to be Patrick (of Smack Daddy) McGuire's last gig, as he is resigning from the music industry to pursue his real estate venture wholeheartedly with his lovely lady and better half Suzanne McGuire!!! These two are ROCKING their business!!! From the bottom of my heart, I wish Patrick N Suzanne McGuire the best of luck!!! Now we have the honor and privilege of sending our Beach Brother out with a bang at the Popeyepalooza IX, I cannot tell you how amped and thankful I am to announce this news! IT'S GONNA BE HUUUUUUUUU--never mind. I think you get it!!!!!" Popeye added!
As soon as Popeyepalooza VIII ended, 'Popeye' started thinking about this year's fund raiser, he continually beats the pavement, telling people about his charities and collecting prizes, money and raffle gifts to ensure the following year's event is a success.
'Popeye' told us of some of the raffle items he’s already collected from generous local businesses, and they are plentiful and quite amazing. They will be giving away thousands of dollars worth of goods and services, spread out in raffles, silent auctions, and live auctions, including several hotel and resort stays! The Grand Prize in the raffle is an $800 3-day/2-night stay at Diamondhead Resort!
He also wanted everyone to know that his event is once again getting back-up from the Florida Helps Foundation – a 501c3 organization that allows those making cash contributions over $250 to write off as donations on their taxes.
Those who can't attend but would like to contribute to the fundraiser can write a check made out to ‘Florida Helps Foundation’ and put ‘Popeyepalooza ‘ on the memo line and mail to: Popeyepalooza, PO Box 6056, Fort Myers Beach, Florida, 33932. “They reimburse the charity penny for penny, and that way it’s tax deductible,” Popeye told us.
Adding “Each year this event has raised more and more money for our kids, and this year we’re hoping to shatter records like we do every year. And I’m so glad to be holding the event at the Beach Pub again – I love having them as a sponsor, it has been a great association.
The Sea Gypsy Inn is located on the corner of Avenue E and 1698 Estero Blvd. on Fort Myers Beach and the Beach Pub is at 1668 I street, on the beach sand, behind the Sea Gypsy, just down Avenue E.
In closing Popeye wanted to personally invite you all to enjoy the party at Popeyepalooza IX and added "We have a fantastic, fun day planned for all, and can't wait for what we've got in store for our 10th anniversary next year!!!"”
Save the date: Sunday, April 29th!!! This is a MUST ATTEND if you like Amazing BBQ!, Great Music!, and want to be a part of a Funtastic Fundraiser!