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Manasota ARC goes Western for celebration dinner

A passel of city slickers moseyed up to Manasota ARC’s annual celebration dinner, held Saturday night.

Caleb and Michele Grimes hosted the party at their Palmetto home and the setting was perfect for the Western theme.

The brick patio held the raffle items and the grub was prepared by the Zirkelbach Construction grill team, Gio’s, Kojak’s and Hometown Desserts. Dinner tables, dance floor and stage were set up in the large side yard.

Several hundred guests enjoyed the change of pace from rental facility to private home.

While the night was a bit breezy, the temperature was perfect for the al fresco party. Bob and Barb Lombardo returned as chairs, with plenty of help from event coordinator Dawn Mishler.

A double bill of popular local bands provided the entertainment. First up was Shaman, fronted by Del and Diane Couch, with special guest George Wallace Jr. Then, the Billy Rice Band took over for post-dinner dancing. During the band break, Marianne Barnebey, who couldn’t be missed in her red-sequined cowgirl hat, took the gavel for the live auction.

The celebrating paused for a few minutes to give special recognition to one of the guests.

Master of ceremonies Bob Lombardo presented the Community Service Award to Don Woodruff, of Woodruff and Sons Contractors, for its support of the organization which provides assistance to disabled people.

Among the would-be cowpokes were Manasota ARC board chair Chris Smith and her husband, Bill Martinson, Richard and Deidre Bedford and Tom and Susan Vorpahl.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.