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The Merry Martini, a party to benefit the Tarpon Springs Holiday Memories for Kids campaign, will be held Nov. at the George Washington Chapter of AHEPA.

TARPON SPRINGS – If you love having a good time while supporting a great cause, you’ll want to check out the Merry Martini party Nov. 2.

The event will take place 6-10 p.m. Saturday at the George Washington Chapter of AHEPA, 20 W. Tarpon Ave.

Presented by the Tarpon Springs Merchants Association, the event was created to help support the Tarpon Springs Holiday Memories for Kids Campaign, a five-year-old initiative designed to provide gifts and necessities for needy kids at Christmas.

This year, organizers plan to fulfill the holiday wishes of more than 50 local children through a festive evening featuring food, fun and martinis from five local establishments, according to TSMA officials.

“This is an important event that’s near and dear to our hearts,” the TSMA event coordinator, Carol Rodriguez, said of the Merry Martini party, which is now in its third year. “Through the generosity of local merchants and residents, we raise money to go shopping and fulfill every item on the kids’ wish lists, within reason, and this year our goal is to give 50 kids and their families a merry Christmas. But we can’t do it without everyone’s support.”

Rodriguez said in addition to the variety of martinis, the event will feature a spaghetti meal courtesy of AHEPA as well as drinks and appetizers from other local establishments. Guests can vote for their favorite martini, and there will also be photo-ops, wine and sangria, live music and more.

The $30 admission, or $35 the day of the event, includes five martini samples plus appetizers and the spaghetti dinner, and supporters may also participate in live and silent auctions, donate cash or gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Winn Dixie or Publix, or sponsor a child for Christmas as other ways to contribute, according to Rodriguez.

“We used to ask for food donations, but it became too hard to sort, so now we’re asking people bring a gift card instead, or to pick a child to sponsor or an item to donate,” she said. “We try to give each child three new sets of clothing and all the necessary hygiene products as well as toys and gifts. Some of these kids don’t have anything. One year a kid asked for a blanket, another just wanted a pillow and some nail polish. It just breaks your heart when you realize what these kids need.”

Rodriguez said the event has grown every year, but she stressed they need all the help and support they can get from the community to reach their stated goal this year.

“We know everyone wants to make it happen when it’s about helping children,” she said. “It really is a great, fun event for a great cause, and we appreciate any residents who come out and support us.”

Tickets for the Merry Martini can be purchased at One Amazing Find, 106 E. Tarpon Ave, or by calling 727-940-8632.