Usually by the time of year, Fort Myers Offshore would have the first event of its new season—the Holiday Turkey Run—in the books. But thanks to havoc wreaked by Hurricane Ian in late September, this is anything but an average year for the Southwest Florida go-fast boating community. So the nonprofit scholarship fundraising club canceled its traditional Thanksgiving weekend run.
The first event of the 2022/2023 Fort Myers Offshore season, the Holiday Fun Run will be different from those of years past. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Our first event of the season will be our Holiday Run on December 31,” said Tim Hill, the president of Fort Myers Offshore. “We’re still up in the air on what the turnout will be like considering it is New Year’s Eve and there are other runs going on for the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run. To be honest, it would be nice to have a smaller group than usual. It’s not that we don’t love all of our members and those boaters who only do one or two Fort Myers Offshore events a year, but we’re just starting to get a little too big for the area.
“We are not going to have a formal start from Sanibel Island Causeway—our traditional event starting point—because it had to be temporarily rebuilt after Hurricane Ian and it’s still very unknown what the waters around that area are like,” he continued. “I just can’t risk 40 to 70 boats all starting with the drop of a flag from that area. So we are encouraging members to come to Village Brewhouse restaurant at Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda by car and motorcycle and buy boat at their leisure.”
Tim Hill (standing) and the Fort Myers Offshore board of directors will be making format and venue changes this season.
The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and lunch on the Village Brewhouse patio overlooking the docks will be served at noon.
The Holiday Run is one of two designated fundraising events for Fort Myer’s Offshore’s student scholarship program. The club’s leadership is asking captains to make a minimum donation of $100 per boat. For meal planning purposes at the venue, captains must sign up by December 28. Mercury Racing/Nor-Tech Hurricane Ian Relief T-shirts as well as newly designed Fort Myers Offshore shirts will be available at the venue for purchase.
“This event will definitely set the precedent for the rest of the season for us,” said Hill. “Several of our upcoming runs our destinations either are no longer in existence or do not have functioning docks so we will have to make some venue changes.”
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