She says it loud and she says it proud:
“Second Annual King’s Bay Heron Hop Decorate Your Land Yacht Golf Cart Poker Run.”
Susan Quenelle, program director with Friends of Citrus and the Nature Coast grief center and thrift shop, said about the phrase, “Everybody loves it when I let it roll off my tongue.”
And she’s happy to let it roll.
She wants everyone to know about the April 23 fundraiser for the nonprofit Homosassa-based grief center, which provides grief services to anyone who has experienced a loss. The organization is solely dependent on donations to its thrift shop, fundraisers, and grants, Quenelle said.
Herry the Heron is the group’s mascot and the fundraiser is named for him.
Quenelle said about 100 people entered last year’s event, and she expects more this year.
Part of the fun of the golf cart poker run will be the Best Decorated Golf Cart contest. The carts – or land yachts – are to be trimmed out in a nautical theme.
Quenelle said last year, some participants decked themselves out as Vikings in a Viking ship.
“People get really creative,” she said. “They use netting, crab pots, fish.”
Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek and Citrus County Judge Charles Helm will judge the decorated carts based on creativity and use of the nautical theme, Quenelle said.
All vehicles, including bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, and cars, are welcome to participate, according to Quenelle.
She said last year, some bicyclists honored the nautical theme by carrying little swimming noodles.
The event is confined to the King’s Bay area, Quenelle said, which is golf-cart friendly. Participants don’t need to cross Highway 19 or Fort Island Trail. People from outside the King’s Bay area can trailer in their golf carts.
The event starts with check-in and registration at 10:30 a.m. at the open lot at North Islamirada Way and West Fort Island Trail in Crystal River.
Before the participants take off at 11:30 a.m., there will be a blessing of the golf carts.
Then, participants will drive to stops at the Plantation Tiki Bar, Waterfront Social Grill &Tiki Bar, Lollygaggers Sports Pub & Grill, the Crab Plant, and Norton’s Riverside Sports Bar & Grill.
At each stop, participants will draw a poker card and have the chance to buy raffle and 50/50 tickets. Raffle items will include gift baskets and gift certificates.
The last golf cart must check into Norton’s by 4:30 p.m. Quenelle said there should be enough time for participants to have lunch or a drink at some of the sites before the final check-in.
At the final stop at Norton’s, the winner of the poker hand and of the best-decorated golf cart contest will be announced.
There will be a silent auction of gift baskets.
Quenelle said some of the auction items include a two-night stay at the Plantation on Crystal River, overnight stays at campgrounds, dinner at area restaurants, and wine and champagne.
Friends of Citrus and the Nature Coast could use more sponsors to donate between $150-$500, she said.
The entry fee is $20 per cart, with an additional $10 per passenger who wants an extra poker hand.
Registration is online at www.friendsofcitrus.org or by calling 352-249-1470.
Once the April 23 event is history, Quenelle and her group will focus on the Second Annual Old Homosassa Heron Hop Halloween Golf Cart Poker Run.
She said last year, the Homosassa Halloween event drew a bigger turnout than the spring event in King’s Bay in Crystal River.
“People really go all out for that one,” she said of the Halloween event. “Homosassa is quite the golf-cart community.”
Now, she said, “We’re hoping Crystal River will step up and we can have some friendly competition.”