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Women take the lead in honorary mayors race

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image Lindsey Hicks and Penny Smith

SouthShore’s very first honorary mayor is sure to be Her Honor.

By MELODY JAMESON

APOLLO BEACH – SouthShore’s very first honorary mayor is sure to be Her Honor.

Two local women now are competing for the 2013 title that will be formally conferred in January when the recently-formed SouthShore Chamber of Commerce holds its annual banquet.
Area annual mayoral competitions, which generate funding for the candidates’ favorite charities as well as for their chambers, have been conducted in years past by both the Apollo Beach and the Ruskin business groups. However, with merger of the two organizations in the last year to constitute the SouthShore Chamber, a new mayoral title effectively was created and it opened the door for the historic first, noted Melanie Morrison, executive director.

Both Penny Smith and Lindsey Hicks want it. And each is planning a unique and elaborate event in October in order to raise the monies that will bring one of them the honorary title. The declared winner will have raised the greatest amount of money, with each dollar counted as one vote.

 Smith said this week she will bring the SouthShore version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a variety of entertaining activities to the VFW headquarters on U.S. 41 between Apollo Beach and Ruskin on Saturday, October 20. The event opens at 7 PM.

While capitalizing on notoriety the racy fictional trilogy has generated, Smith promised “there will be nothing offensive” on the docket. But, she added, that doesn’t rule out, for example, a masked couples contest mimicking to a degree a masked ball portrayed in one of the novels. All types of masks, from traditional Mardi Gras styles to contemporary Halloween creations will be judged about mid-way through the evening, she said.

Another competition will revolve around “best use of a grey tie,” such as might have been shown off by one of the chief characters, the very sartorially conscious and sybaritic Christian Grey, Smith added.

The accountant, who, with her husband, John, operates the H&R Block franchises in Apollo Beach and Sun City Center, also noted she’s working on presentation of an array of items “that Christian would like his lady to own.” And, if it can be pulled together in time, a wine tasting with touches of “Fifty Shades” elegance is a possibility. Another is a $1 bid “blind auction,” she noted.

Of course, tasty finger foods and beverages are on the menu, too, with the help of culinary author Lynn Kessel, Smith said.

Individual cost of admission to the local take on a “Fifty Shades of Grey” evening is $10, with a price break given any club or organized group of 10 or more arriving together, she added.
Smith’s designated charity to receive half of all monies raised during her mayoral race is CARE, the South Ruskin no-kill animal shelter which, she asserted, “needs help for the many animals” it cares for and shelters. The other half of her contributed “votes” will help support chamber activities in the coming year.

On the following day, Sunday, October 21, Hicks is planning a day-long event sure to appeal to both young and young-at-heart admirers of big bikes and competitive poker. When not arranging such activities, she’s a member of the staff at Victoria’s Fifth Avenue Salon, a full-service facility in Apollo Beach.

Her “Poker Run and Poker Tourney” will open with kick stands up at 9 AM that day at the Harley Davidson showroom in downtown Brandon, she said this week. The 60-mile plus run will take the hawg biking convoy from Brandon to a stop at Bobby’s Bistro in AB, then on to Peggy’s Corral in Sarasota, then back to The Rack in Brandon before winding up at The Bad Monkey in Ybor City. she added.

Costs to participate in the run have been set at $25 for each biker and $10 for his or her passenger, Hicks said.

The cards will be broken out at the Ybor City bar, with multiple tables available for all players anteing up the $25 buy-in and with dealers overseeing the action. The best at playing the decks and keeping poker faces are to get prizes.

Hicks’ chosen charity to receive half of her electioneering funds is the Autism and Disability Research facility at the University of South Florida. She is particularly familiar with the condition and ongoing research to understand it, she said, because a family member is autistic. The remaining half of funds raised from her combined run and tournament also will benefit the SouthShore chamber.

The chamber’s mayoral contest will end October 31, Morrison said, and the first SouthShore Honorary Mayor is to be announced from the main stage during the annual Seafood Festival on November 3.

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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