More than a thousand people showed up, jammed out, rocked on and chowed down to lend their support during the recent Earth Day Jam benefit for the Tabarrini Foundation, at Valerie's Lounge. Benefit-goers were treated to amazing live music from some of the best musicians in Lee County, including Myth Live, Super Bot, the Sand Fleas, Strange Arrangement, Wallow Sound, Renee Masse Hose, Soul Funk Unity and A200.
"The music I've seen here today was killer my mind has been blown from all of the talent we have here!" said Valerie Van Selow, owner of Valerie's Lounge, during the all-day benefit later in the afternoon.
Throughout the day, Mother Earth was kind to the rocking crowd, holding back showers and rain clouds for the most part, where, the only ones getting wet were those who offered a dry hand to participate in the Dunk-a-Rocker tank. And, let me tell you, rockers were getting a-dunked!
The Tabarrini Foundation had a fabulous booth set up during the Earth Day benefit Sunday, manned by siblings Victor and Carol Tabarrini, and Betty Masters. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
Super Bot's Scooby, A200's Bob Tabarrini and Jason Polly, the George Lewis Project's George Lewis, The Houserockers' Burnell Caldwell, Ty Jackson of Bam Bandz, even bartender Darlene Russo, among many others, were all taking a chilly, windy dip for a good cause, as all funds brought in went directly to the foundation.
Also going directly to the foundation were all funds brought in through food sales that day. Mike "Popeye" Dearden was kind enough to take over the food station during the benefit, cooking up juicy hot dogs and hamburgers, and serving popcorn and hot wings (graciously donated by Dave Swazey of Hurricane Grill).
More than 100 local businesses donated goods, merchandise and gift certificates to an array of services, which were bundled up into lovely gift baskets and raffled off throughout the benefit.
Participating businesses included: Ace Hardware, Beach Pub, Beach Tobacco, Bonita Bill's, The Cottage, Gulfshore Grill, the Sandbar and Grill, Lani Kai, Charley's Boat House, the Munch Box, Wicked Wings, Indian Princess, Shep's Subs, Lighthouse Tiki Hut, Chicago Dog House, the Big M Casino, Orpheous Cafe, the Nauti Turtle, Starz Pizza, Lighthouse Resort, Jerry's Tire, Lazy Daze Saloon, Marti's, Silver Sands, Hooter's, MJ's Sub and Pub, the Lani Kai, Charisma Salon, Jungle Golf, Swimmin' n' Sunshine, Jay's Hardware, Winds Outlet, Semmer Electric, Smokin' Oyster Brewery, Yucatan Beach Stand, Lupo's, the Beached Whale, Publix, Joni's Beach Art, Randy Fox, the Mermaid, Valerie's Lounge, Circle K, Budweiser, Rep National, the Surf Club, Sanibel Wellness, City Tavern and Maria's Avon.
Half of the winners of the 50/50 raffles that day donated their winnings back to the cause, and local rockstar and volunteer musician for the charity group Rickey Medlocke (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot) raffled off one of his own guitars, autographed, again, with all proceeds going directly to the Tabarrini Foundation.
The boys from Jet Sound Productions ran the sound for the concert throughout the day, and, as usual, sounded amazing.
Bam Bandz also made a very nice contribution to the cause, from proceeds they raised that day, as well.
"This was a huge community effort, and was a wonderful, wonderful success," said sweet little Lena Neroni, island resident and one of the many great volunteers who donated their time during the benefit. "Val's Lounge also donated a very nice percentage of their bar sales that day to the cause. This was a great, great benefit."
Of course, the Tabarrini Foundation had a dynamite booth set up, raising awareness of its cause and offering temporary tattoos and cool stickers to all who wanted to show even more support.
An amazing effort was achieved from all who donated their time, equipment, money ?and most importantly support, to help raise funds for a great foundation that's all about musical love and support for those who otherwise couldn't enjoy it.
About the Lewis P. Tabarrini Children's
Music Outreach Foundation
To honor their late, music-loving father, Lew, the Tabarrini family set up the Lewis P. Tabarrini Children's Music Outreach Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide instruments and lessons to children who do not otherwise have the means to do so.
Lew believed that a boy or girl with an instrument in their hands is less likely to get into trouble, and he personally provided more than one child with their very first musical instrument.
The Lewis P. Tabarrini Children's Music Outreach Foundation's goal is to change children's lives, one guitar at a time, and provide instruments and lessons to children in Southwest Florida who want to play music but don't have the financial resources to make their dreams come true.
For more information on the local organization, or to find out how you can help, call 980-4991, visit TabarriniFoundation.org, or find the group on Facebook.