By LOIS KINDLE
How does eating decadent chocolate desserts and tasting unlimited samples of wine sound to you? And while you’re at it, bidding on nice auction items and doing a little shopping to boot?
“It sounds like a party,” said Amanda Marrero, founder of Death by Chocolate, an annual fundraiser for area schools. “It’s fun and indulgent, the cheapest girls night out or date night ever!”
This year’s 5th annual event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. April 12 at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club, 13050 Summerfield Blvd., Riverview. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. That’s a mere pittance for all you can eat tantalizing confections prepared by Tiffany Williams Wilson (Mrzstickyfingertips Cupcakes and More), LeAnne Crabtree (LeAnne’s Old Fashioned Cookies) and local chocolatier Lynn Kessel. There will be some non-chocolate items among the mix.
Admission also includes free appetizers from Liborio’s Latin Café, appetizer bites from East Coast Pizza, lettuce wraps from Pei Wei Asian Diner and wine samples from PRP Wines International.
Wine will be available for purchase by the bottle or case, and a portion of sales will go toward the fundraiser. The golf club’s bar will be open for partiers to buy mixed drinks and discounted themed concoctions like chocolate martinis.
The festivities will also include live entertainment by Matt Billor, an expansive silent auction and outdoor vendors. Vendor spaces are still available for $35.
Last year’s attendance was about 300.
In the past, proceeds from Death by Chocolate went to the East Bay High School Athletic Boosters, but this year’s recipient will be the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce Education Partnership Committee, which funds teacher requests at 16 South Shore Schools.
“The event has gotten more and more successful, so it’s an opportunity to help even more schools,” Marrero said. “So I approached the SouthShore Chamber’s Education Partnership Committee to see if there was an interest in partnering with me to put on the event and help it grow further.”
The committee was delighted, said Chairwoman Carrie Elwell.
“We’re so very excited to partner with Fringe Benefits to host and promote this fundraiser and be its beneficiary,” she said. “We try to fulfill teacher requests for items they need and would otherwise have to pay for out-of-pocket.”
Over the past seven years, these items have included things like materials for projects, additional computer equipment, special books and a circle rug for kindergarteners to sit on.
“We get so many requests, we’re unable to fill them all,” Elwell added. “Until now, we’ve had to rely solely on the generosity of chamber members and kind-hearted individuals to furnish the items requested. This (partnership) is giving us our first opportunity to have an actual revenue source.”
Death by Chocolate sponsors include Fringe Benefits Salon, Kids ’R’ Kids Academy – Southshore and Waterset, Zipperer’s Funeral Home and Oops A Daisy Flowers & Gifts.
“I enjoy giving back to the community and especially the schools,” Marrero said. “Normally, when people think about making a donation, they don’t think about the schools, where there is a real need.”
To purchase tickets for Death by Chocolate, stop by Fringe Benefits Salon, 701 U.S. 41 S., Ruskin, the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club or the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, 906 U.S. 41 N., Ruskin, or visit deathbychocolate.eventzilla.net.
For more on the event, sponsorship opportunities or vendor information, call 813-967-5811.
Schools supported by the SouthShore Chamber’s Educational Partnership Committee:
Apollo Beach Elementary
Beth Shields Middle
Cypress Creek Elementary
East Bay High
South County Career Center
Waterset Charter School