Toast to the Coast event chairwoman Hilary Dahms of Cape Haze is nervous.
She has every right to be.
She's following up the most successful Toast to the Coast fundraiser in 2012 - highlighted by a land donation worth $600,000 - in organizing the Lemon Bay Conservancy centerpiece event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Boca Bay Pass Club.
Vanessa Smith, left, and Toast to the Coast chair Hilary Dahms.
"This is my first time doing anything like this," Dahms said from her Cape Haze home. "I'm very nervous."
Dahms said she's confident her timing is good to chair the event as tarpon preservation has become the cause clbre for Southwest Florida, particularly Boca Grande. The event supports juvenile tarpon research and preservation.
"The water at Wildflower Preserve has been discovered as the perfect tarpon nursery," Dahms said. "We really need to ensure access to Lemon Creek remains open to tarpon - and not to predators."
Who: Lemon Bay Conservancy
What: Toast to the Coast
When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6
Where: Boca Bay Pass Club.
Why: support juvenile tarpon research and preservation
Contact: (941) 830-8922 or at lbconservancy.org
The LBC goals for the event are simple, she said.
"We just want to raise about $25,000 or so," she said.
Last year, a donation of 10 unspoiled acres on barrier island Thornton Key valued at more than $600,000 highlighted the wildly successful Toast to the Coast fundraiser Wednesday.
Gar and Dean Beckstead, long-time Lemon Bay Conservancy members and developers of Useppa Island Club and Palm Island Resort, made the gift.
"It was our very best event yet and we were able to tell our community about the Conservancy's excellent accomplishment of paying down our $250,000 Wildflower Preserve mortgage in just one year," said LBC President Jim Cooper after the 2012 fundraiser.
Toast to the Coast 2012 festivities drew 235 attendees from miles around, said Vanessa Smith, Lemon Bay Conservancy director of development. RSVPs will be capped at 250 this year.
The $125 ticket buys fine food, music, open bar and auction items, including tickets to the Masters Golf Tournament, a Sonoma wine country trip, a jazz-themed New Orleans tour and a "Top Gun" experience.
A "Best of Boca" package offers items available from business supporters. Reservations available at (941) 830-8922 or at lbconservancy.org.