Big Buzz Breaking News
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
CASA of Hancock County’s 6th annual Poker Run has shady new headquarters this year, overlooking the harbor on the ground floor of Dan B. Murphy’s Restaurant (109 S. Beach Blvd.) in Bay St. Louis. The event will take place on Saturday, July 20 (the event was rescheduled from the 13th because of weather).
Last year, the popular event to benefit CASA (a national program that recruits and manages court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children) was held on the harbor grounds near the piers.
Hancock CASA director, Cynthia Chauvin, says that the new location, right on Beach Boulevard is likely to engage more passersby and also help participants beat the mid-summer heat.
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“We’ve surpassed our goals in terms of sponsorships,” she said, “and the response on social media has been very enthused.”
The event coincides with Old Town’s popular Second Saturday Artwalk. Each July, the Artwalk is dubbed “Frida Fest” because it celebrates the birthday of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Frida Fest draws hundreds of visitors from across the region.
“At Dan B.’s, we’ll be more visible to folks who’ve come for Frida Fest,” says Chauvin. “And we’ll get a cooler breeze.”
One doesn’t need to be a gambler to participate in the benefit, or even be present on the day of the event to win one of the three prizes.
- Friday, July 19, 5pm – 7pm, downstairs at Dan B’s and in Diamondhead at the Lazy Gator (3410 Yacht Club Circle).
Poker hand sales start at 10am the morning of July 20th at Dan B’s.
Hands must be purchased in person. If a purchaser can’t make the actual event, CASA tucks those hands into an envelope and the cards will be dealt at the culmination of the event.
Poker “hands” are actually event cards that have to be physically punched at four of the twelve participating locations. Players can use their preferred mode of transportation – boat, car, golf cart, or bicycle. Since several of the locations are within a block of each other in Old Town, walkers will have it easy as well.
“We listened to feedback from last year and reached out to more water stops this year,” said Chauvin. “The Lazy Gator in Diamondhead is one, and so is Hollywood Casino. The casino will have beer and water right at the dock, along with someone to punch your card.”
At the Bay St. Louis Harbor, players arriving by boat will have several more choices (see the full list of participating businesses below).
Professional dealers from area casinos have volunteered to deal each player five cards. For an extra $5 donation, players can purchase a sixth card before their hands are dealt.
The three people with the top hands when the cards have all been dealt win an impressive array of prizes. The top prize is a condo stay in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
People who aren’t actually playing will be welcome to support CASA by buying t-shirts and tickets for a 50-50 raffle. There’ll also be a live and silent auction. All day, a DJ at Dan B’s will be keeping the energy upbeat. To cap off the day, beginning at 6pm, “The All-Nighters” band performs.
Chauvin says the event’s focus is squarely on community and charity - not on consumption of adult beverages.
“The poker run is about spending time with friends and family and being out on the water for a great cause,” she said.