A look at the annual fundraiser to fight breast cancer

The seventh annual Pink Out, at Paddy's Raw Bar on Friday evening, Oct. 11, raised close to $40,000, another banner year for the county’s premier event to fight breast cancer.

All proceeds raised during the event go to Franklin Needs, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to provide free mammograms to uninsured or under-insured Franklin County residents.

Fried fish and pulled pork dinners, served for $10 a plate, each came with a sweet treat; there were over 100 homemade cupcakes baked by St. George Island local Erin Griffith. All the fish, over 75 pounds of mangrove snapper, was caught and donated by Capt. Clint Taylor of Bigfish SGI. Pat Kelley and Ricky Rickerson, two island locals, prepared and cooked all of the fish; the ladies of The Food Truck of SGI, prepared and cooked all the pulled pork.

Oyster City Brewing Company donated several kegs and all sales went to Pink Out. The John Sutton Band performed all night on Paddy's main stage. Plus there were over $1,000 in sales of the 50/50 split-the-pot raffle tickets.

Raffle tickets for the gift certificate bouquet, featuring over $1,500 worth of gift cards from the majority of our Franklin County restaurants, was won by St. George Islander Chris Vitale. Tickets went on sale Labor Day weekend and were sold up until the night of the event.

An online auction held through Resort Vacation Properties featured a week-stay on the island. David and Tracey Israel who own two vacation rental homes on the island, donated the seven-night stays at the popular "One Fish Two Fish," or "Sea Song". Both homes were up for bid and ALL proceeds went to the Pink Out. The online auction ran for a month prior to the event and closed on Oct. 10.

There were hundreds of items up for bid in the silent auction, all generously donated by local businesses, residents and visitors. Items included Yeti coolers, furniture, paintings, clothing, jewelry, fishing charters and boat tours to name a few!

The Pink Out also had several major sponsors who contributed large donations to the Pink Out, including Bay View Charters, Beach to Bay Vacation Properties, Builders by the Sea, Paddy's Raw Bar, Sellers Tile and Water Street Seafood.

“This year we switched things up a little,” said Lauren Luberto, one of the organizing committee members. “In the past we've held a ‘Man Auction’ where we auctioned off to the highest bidder a man who would provide some sort of service, whether it be handyman, land clearing, catering etc.

“This year, instead we held a ‘Woman-less Pageant’ where eight men vied for the title of Mr. Pink Out,” she said.

Ed Aguiar, an island resident, emceed the pageant, which consisted of a talent segment followed by an evening gown segment. Seven of the eight contestants were on display and mingling with the crowd, while an eighth remained a mystery until the end of the night where he would be revealed at the end of the evening gown segment.

“The only information released about the Mystery Man was that he was prominent well-known Franklin County figure,” Luberto said.

There were no official judges and voting was left up to the crowd. In order to place a vote for a certain contestant, you had to donate to their donation jar. Every dollar was a vote; the contestant who raised the most donations was crowned Mr. Pink-out.

This year the title went to Melvin Myers, whose talent was to prepare the famous Owl Cafe's crab dip while dancing in his bright red tutu to Iggy Azalea's ‘I'm so Fancy.’” Myers donated his $400 Mr. Pink Out winnings back to the Pink Out.

Contestants included island residents Myers, Levi Stanley, Mikey Williams, Brentley Dobbins, and Grant Moore; Chip Sanders of Apalachicola; “Gagalicious” of Eastpoint; and the Mystery Man (who was revealed at the end of the night to be Sheriff AJ Smith.

The evening closed with a pink lantern release honoring all those who have lost their battle with breast cancer or who are still currently fighting it.

The monies raised will go to funding mammograms and breast cancer treatment travel reimbursements for county residents. “The Pink Out committee would like to give a Huge Thank You to all who donated, participated and volunteered to make this event such a success,” said Luberto.

If you or someone you know would like information regarding how to obtain a free mammogram or if you are currently undergoing breast cancer treatments and would like information regarding the travel reimbursement program please email info@franklinneeds.com or visit the website www.FranklinNeeds.com. Early detection is the best prevention.