RIVERVIEW: Honorary mayor’s race

Published on: August 2, 2018

Riverview’s honorary mayor’s race a charity affair

By LOIS KINDLE

ED BOOTH PHOTO
This year’s candidates for the Greater Riverview Chamber’s honorary mayor’s race join chamber President Michelle Mosher for a group photo. From left are Kerin Clarkin, Pearl Chiarenza, Mosher and Bill Andrew.

The Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce kicked off this year’s honorary mayor’s race by announcing 90 percent of the funds collected will go to the candidates’ charities of choice.

That’s a first, said Executive Director Tanya Doran. The race originally was designed to help the chamber’s operating expenses, but as the chamber grew, the board decided a greater percentage of the proceeds should go back to the community.

Last year, the split was 75/25. This year, it’s 90/10.

“Our members have such a passion for giving, and the board felt we should reflect that,” Doran added. “We have three great candidates this year. It’s going to be a very exciting race.”   

Those vying for the title of Riverview honorary mayor are as follows: Pearl Chiarenza, owner/coach, Bodyworks Health & Wellness Center; Bill Andrew, activities director, Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care; and Kerin Clarkin, Kerin Realty of Keller Williams.  

Each has their own base of supporters, Doran said, and their fundraising events have been staggered to allow even more.

Clarkin’s charity of choice is the Riverview Woman’s Club, so its 50 members will fervently back his efforts in support of the club’s annual scholarship fund. Clarkin, 38, is also one of the founding members of the Riverview First Friday Food Truck Festival, where he’ll also find wide allegiance to his campaign.  

“When I moved to Riverview seven years ago, I initially thought the area was boring,” he said. “So I began introducing things like the food truck rally and became more and more involved in the community.

“My brother, sister, aunt, uncle and sister-in-law are all teachers, and I’m always donating to elementary schools in the area,” he continued. “The Riverview Woman’s Club gives scholarships to students, so choosing it to support kind of fit.”

Andrew chose Seeds of Hope and the South County Spartans Athletic Program as his charities. Both are widely recognized in the community and have lots of backers. The 62-year-old also has two aces in the hole: His sister, Jill Andrew, and entrepreneur Tami Holmberg, Chick-fil-A franchise owner.

“I would be honored to represent the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “I was raised a chamber brat, so I understand how much the chamber positively impacts the community.

“Both of my charities support children, and that’s what my race is all about.”   

Chiarenza, 53, the mother of two, is raising funds for the Sylvia Thomas Center for Adoptive & Foster Families in Brandon (where she is community liaison) and the Rotary Club of FishHawk-Riverview Foundation, which has supported the center.

It’s my way of saying thanks and giving something back to the community,” she said. “I’m an adoptive mom, and when I moved from Virginia 12 years ago, I received tremendous support from the Sylvia Thomas Center,” she said. “They helped us work through the various issues that came up in raising my son Matthew.”  

Last year’s race brought in $43, 859, so potentially there’s a lot at stake for the charities.

“The candidates will each be holding at least two major events,” said Debbie Kirkland, the chamber’s membership director.  “We’re excited to be providing more funding for the charities this year. The chamber’s 10 percent offsets our expenses in promoting the race.”

Following are the events the candidates have scheduled so far:

Kerin Clarkin

Twisted High Tea, 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 16, The Barn at Winthrop, 11349 Bloomingdale Ave., Riverview. Heavy appetizer buffet, tabled desserts, alcoholic tea options. Tickets: $40 per person, includes one drink ticket.

1885 Day, Riverview heritage day, 12 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, Summerfield Crossings Golf Club, 13050 Summerfield Blvd., Riverview. Fun for the entire family. Country band, BBQ, pie-eating contest, an old-school country event. Admission: $5 per person.

Bill Andrew

Bubbly, Bach, Beats and Bonbons, 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 19, Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale, 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon. Interactive evening of music, sipping bubbly, drumming and delectable desserts; pianist Bill Andrew and Jana Broder of Drum Magic. Fee: $30 per person, seating limited to 150.

Mad Hatter Party sponsored by Charity Chicks and Tami Holmberg, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sept 28, Center Place, 619 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon. Silent auction, food, spirits and fun. Wear a big hat! Admission: $30 per person.

Pearl Chiarenza

Coach Bag Bingo, 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 27, Center Place, 619 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon. Night of food, drink and bingo with a twist. Ten games, live auction, 12 designer bags valued at $350 and more to be won. Cost: $40 per person or $450 for table of eight (includes front of room seating, swag on table and other perks).

Throw Back ’80s Party, 7 to 10 p.m., Sept. 12, The Regent, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview. Dress in favorite ’80s garb. Guest impersonators, including Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner. Admission: $40 per person, $75 per couple.

Each candidate is also hosting a huge raffle. For details on these or ticket information on the events listed above, visit www.riverviewchamber.com or call 813-234-5944.

Comments