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Popeyepalooza: Third annual event raises funds for local cause Saturday

June 13, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

This weekend, you better be sure to swing by The Mermaid Lounge, 1204 Estero Blvd., sometime Saturday, June 16, between 2 and 8 p.m. for the third annual Popeyepalooza fund-raiser, benefitting the Fort Myers Beach Youth Soccer League. You will be stunned when you see all of the amazing talent, prizes and fun that will be oozing from this place all day long, from the Pieces of Eight Pirate Ship pirates taking hostages in the name of fun, the several live and local musicians that will be pouring out their heart and their souls through their music, and the absolute plethora of fabulous gifts and prizes that have been donated to help for the cause oh, and a dunk tank!

Mike "Popeye" Dearden has been the lead coordinator since first starting his benefit fund-raiser three years ago, two years at The Mermaid.

"This is the third annual Popeyepalooza, and the second at The Mermaid. It evolved from my Memorial Day cookout, growing exponentially year after year, which inspired me to make it a fund-raiser, and there is no better charity than the children of our community," Popeye said. "A friend suggested a youth league, and the Soccer Club organizes after our timeline. Now, my goal is to expand to a full 501c-registered charity and help each of the Beach's leagues."

Article Photos

Mike “Popeye” Dearden is excited to host his third annual Popeyepalooza benefit at The Mermaid Saturday, June 16, from 2 to 8 p.m. Get ready for tons of raffles, prizes, 50/50s, live music from Dave Collaton, Alan Freed, Bryce Barnes and more – and of course Popeye’s famous barbecued dishes – fresh and tasty! Above, Popeye is pictured with trusty assistant, Lena Neroni. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

Popeye and his volunteers have been hard at work for the last several weeks, combing our island and surrounding communities, gathering literally hundreds of dollars worth of prize donations and gift certificates for the many raffles that will be held that day at the benefit.

"We literally have hundreds of dollars in gift certificates from local businesses, many unique items received or still coming, as well as fishing cruises, pirate cruises and now three vacation stays on the Beach, with more possibly coming all to be raffled off!" Popeye eagerly stated.

Also in the enormous prize pot, benefit-goers will have the chance to win a beautiful antique silverware and wine bottle hutch ?as well as an eMachines computer!

For those of you who hate technology, or at least get extremely frustrated by it from time to time, be sure to step right up to Popeye's very special "Whack-a-Puter" station, "because, who wants to pay to smash a computer or printer? ME, ME!" Popeye laughed.

That's right, take all of that anger and technological aggression on some old, busted computers and fax machines for a small donation bashing technology for a cause! (Don't worry, the eMachines computer available for raffle will not be harmed during this benefit!)

Of course, Popeyepalooza wouldn't be complete without his tasty, home-cooked, home-grilled barbecued goodness. From burgers and brauts to chicken and more, guests can chow down on Popeye's home-cooked meal for a monetary donation to the cause.

"Fun fact: The name 'Popeyepalooza' came when a cookout attendee raved about it to a DJ on 99X, and that person, who doesn't even know me, was cool enough to broadcast three on-air shout-outs to (his words) Popeyepalooza, and I can't thank him enough for that," Popeye said.

After that, the rest is history. So, come by, mingle with friendly pirates, dunk some popular people in the dunk tank, win some amazing raffle prizes and 50/50 drawings, whack the heck out of a computer, take in some great live music, enjoy some savory home-cooked barbecue concoctions, and help raise funds for a great local cause during the third annual Popeyepalooza Saturday, June 16, at The Mermaid Lounge, from 2 to 8 p.m.

It's not necessary, but feel free to RSVP?on the official Popeyepalooza event page on by searching "Popeyepalooza."

And, if interested in donating to the benefit, either monetarily or by form of a gift for the raffles, please feel free to contact Mike "Popeye" Dearden, 244-6936.



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