Save the dates: Oct. 5 and 6. Barge Party VIII will kick off at noon Saturday Oct. 5, and continue until 6 pm. Festivities on Sunday, Oct. 6, will start at 11 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.
"This Barge Party marks the eighth time we held this event," Jim Frock, founder of the Barge Party said. "Every year it gets bigger and better."
Frock, of Sandbar Productions LLC, is the founder of "Barge Party."
"The idea came out of organizing a surprise party for a friend in need back in 2010," Frock said. "Some friends and I mulled over a few ideas about how can we raise some money for a friend. A few years before, a group of kayakers did a concert on top of a houseboat and that sparked the idea. Why not have a party where we put a band on a pontoon boat? That's where the idea took off."
"After the party in 2010, we started thinking about raising money for the various charities in the area," he continued. "I knew just the place where a water event could be done. A great sandy area with deep water Two Pines Sandbar in Matlacha Pass. For boaters this area is due east of Marker 79."
"This area of Southwest Florida is unique. There are so many caring, giving people that I knew if we reached out to other local businesses there wouldn't be any shortage of sponsors. Local businesses have sponsored these Barge Parties since the beginning and we've been able to raise money for many of the local charities here in Matlacha and Pine Island. Our first four events raised over $30,000 which helped the employees of Low Key Tiki after a suspicious fire, Little league Baseball, From Our Hearts, and others."
SATURDAY: Classic Southern rock of Sticky's Revenge and Deb and the Dynamics, offers a blend of blues, soul, R&B and rock 'n' roll.
SUNDAY: Michael Locke and the Repeat Offenders are an electric blues trio and Ellie Lee & Blues Fury is an exciting rockin' blues group with a dynamic stage performance.
Last April, music and water lovers flocked to Two Pine Key for the perfect mix of cool waters and summer music.
"April's event brought in over 350 boats each day," Frock said. "Big boats, small boats, canoes, kayaks, Jet Skis, john boats, Donzi's and every boat imaginable. To date we've raised over $50,000 that went back into the area."
He went on to say, "Since this event is held in Matlacha Pass, where significant natural resources such as seagrass exist, we work hard to ensure that we are eco-friendly. Last year we received a letter 'applauding our willingness to meet with and coordinate with the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve (CHAP) staff and other local, state and federal agencies...' We want every boater to be aware of the buoy system in place to funnel boat traffic into the event area."