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ARC to hold annual fundraiser July 6

June 6, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

You can almost hear the "007" theme playing in background.

The Animal Refuge Center will hold one of its biggest fundraising events of the year when it hosts its sixth annual Casino Royale.

The event will be held Friday, July 6, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, and there are still plenty of opportunities to help, either by buying a ticket or becoming a sponsor.

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Casino Royale is a James Bond themed signature event of ARC. This year, the North Fort Myers animal shelter will have an added element of an outdoor terrace adjoining the air-conditioned ballroom that overlooks the Hyatt's grounds.

Wayne Leinen, ARC executive director and vice president on the board, said the event began as idea a fellow board member had and has grown every year since.

As always, blackjack, poker, roulette and craps will be the games of chance available.

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Tickets to the event are $75 and include $2,000 in fun money to gamble as you see fit. Additional cash can be purchased with a donation to ARC.

Whatever money you win can be redeemed at the end of the night into a raffle for some great prizes. The more you win at the tables, the better chance participants have of winning.

Once again, there will both a silent and live auction, as well as a few new attractions. Attire for the event should range from cocktail to formal if you're feeling Bond-like.

A spectacular selection of food is planned, as well as a fully stocked cash bar. Also, some of ARC's residents will be there to remind attendees why the event - and the money it raises- is important.

"We always try to bring at least one animal to our events. It's the whole reason we're raising money," said Rob Spicker, ARC's board president. "They're signature animals and symbols, new dogs and cats we're trying to raise awareness for. We have hardship cases who we've nursed back to health and show them off."

Casino Royale is being presented by Bonney Leckie - Century 21 Selling Paradise, and sponsorships are still available.

"We're offering License to No-Kill sponsorships for $750 and Diamonds are Furever sponsorships for $500" Spicker said.

All the money raised at Casino Royale supports the Animal Refuge Center, Southwest Florida's largest no-kill shelter at 18011 Old Bayshore Road.

Leinen said he hopes the event raises between $20,000 and $30,000, which would make up for what the Starlight Auction, ARC's signature event lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

"I hope we've come full circle since then after feeling the effects sponsorwise. If we make more than $25,000, it'll be better than last year and $30,000 will be great," Leinen said. "Time will tell."

"I'm hoping we're past Irma. This is a different event. The Starlight is more formal, while this is more fun and sit with a different crowd," Spicker said. "We hope the hangover is over."

Since 1988, the ARC has been fulfilling its mission of sheltering animals in need, adopting as many as we can into good homes and educating Southwest Florida about proper pet care.

ARC vows that that once an animal is accepted for adoption, it will not be destroyed to make room for another.

Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased directly through the Animal Refuge Center website.

For more information, contact Spicker at 910-1931 or Wayne Leinen, ARC executive director and board vice president, at 233-4375.



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