Manatee sheriff's big fundraiser Saturday at MCSO headquarters

vmannix@bradenton.comOctober 31, 2013 

MANATEE -- If there's one event Sgt. Dwayne Denison and his colleagues at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office look forward to each year it's the annual Flight to the North Pole Benefit Car/Motorcycle Show.

The fifth annual event is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at MCSO headquarters, 600 U.S. 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton, and it's the principal fundraiser for the MCSO Christmas program in December for approximately 100 terminally ill children and their families from Manatee and Sarasota counties.

It is one of several nonprofit events happening this weekend.

"When you see these kids open up presents, it's phenomenal watching their emotions," said Denison, a 31-year MCSO veteran. "Knowing it might be the last time they ever open up a Christmas gift, it's overwhelming emotionally, no question."

Which is why MCSO begins planning for its annual Flight to the North Pole Benefit Car/Motorcycle Show not long after the last one is done.

Besides all the cool custom cars and motorcycles, the event includes raffles, door prizes, a 50/50 jackpot, food, vendors and music.

Admission is free, and it's $10 for car/motorcycle owners to register in advance, $15 the day of the show.

Last year, more than $5,000 was raised.

"Every dime goes to these kids," Denison said.

Call 941-747-3011, ext. 2273 for more details.

Other events this weekend include:

• The annual Manatee and Sarasota County "Stand Down," a program for homeless veterans, their immediate families and the general homeless population from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto.

There will be a hot breakfast and free clothing, backpacks, medical and dental screenings and VA benefits information.

Call 941-747-1509 for information.

• The second-annual Anna Maria Island Hunger Project and Feeding Children Everywhere will pack 100,000 healthy meals from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday for hungry children in Manatee County.

Organizers Kim Darnell and Mary Selby say more than 800 volunteers attended last year and packaged nearly 105,000 meals for the Manatee County Food Bank along with truckloads of canned food.

"We're hoping to surpass that," Darnell said.

The event will be at Holmes Beach City Field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Call Kim Darnell at 941-778-3096 or Mary Selby at 941-779-1809.

Or visit

• Turning Points, 701 17th Ave. W., is looking for donations of children's new or used trikes or bikes for ages 2-10 for Christmas. The bikes are for the children of the homeless and at-risk families. Dropoff times are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Call Martha Childress at 941-747-1509 for more information.

• Take Stock In Children is starting an Alumni Association and invites past, present and future students, mentors and supporters to a gathering 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday at the E.R. Beall Center, 700 13th Ave. E., Bradenton.

Call 941-751-2063.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix

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