By Jessica Creagan
VERO BEACH -- The new city budget may have dropped some activities and scaled down on some services, but with the community's help, none of Vero Beach's recreation favorites will disappear.
A new committee, Fundraising for Fun, constituted of several recreation commissioners and interested members of the public, has formed and is undertaking the task of creating fundraisers and recruiting donors to help keep the recreation department operating as it has been in years past.
The Vero Beach city recreation department's budget has been stretched to the breaking, and funds for activities such as a youth circus, summer camps, outdoor fountains and other traditional Vero Beach recreation activities are just not there, said Beverly Paris, a member of the committee.
As the community is learning about the needs of the recreation department however, it's looking more and more like beloved activities will be saved this year, she said.
On Oct. 17 from 5- 9 p.m., Spring Hill Suites in Vero Beach is hosting an art show and proceeds from the sale will benefit children's summer camps.
There will be original and prints for sale, so there will be something for everyone's budget, said Sue Dinenno, chairwoman of the committee and a recreation commission member.
The next big event is scheduled for Dec. 6 from 5:30- 9 p.m. and it will be loads of fun while benefitting the Royal Palm Pointe Park fountain, said Ms. Paris.
Instead of the traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony and holiday celebration, the community will be invited to participate in "The Holiday Rec Run-3296-GO" followed by a large party at the fountain with live music, crafts, vendors, contests and more, she said.
The funds raised at the event will be allocated to open the popular fountain on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fountain is currently closed on Sundays.
The "3296-GO" run will be a 2 mile timed sprint beginning and ending at the entrance to Royal Palm Pointe and Indian River Boulevard, said committee member John Sammartano, a fitness instructor and trainer of JAS Fitness.
Runners will be given glow sticks to help light their way along the route and bring a festive atmosphere to the proceedings. The entry fee has not yet been established.
The holiday party will include the annual tree lighting, an ornament craft for children, a holiday boat parade, a Santa Claus meet and mingle, entertainment, food, a beer garden, silent auction and more all in the name of helping the fountain.
Sponsors are already lining up to be a part of this new event, Ms. Paris said.
"When people hear it's for the fountain, they really want to help out," she said.
Other events are in the works to benefit Leisure Square and the beach parks, Ms. Dinenno said.
Mr. Sammartano said he was very happy to see all the support from businesses and individuals in the area for such positive elements in the community in times that could be looked upon as negative and he hopes more cities will follow Vero Beach's example and pull together to make great things happen.
Donations and sponsorships are welcome to help underwrite the costs of implementing the events. For more information, contact Mr. Slezak at (772) 567-2144 or Ms. Paris at (772) 234-4412.