MARCO ISLAND — Will this beautiful couple reunite? Will they find bliss in paradise?
Tune in to Marco Island to find out, when the 12th annual SoapFest Charity Weekend returns next weekend to pair soap fans and their favorite stars. More than 20 daytime soap stars from Emmy-award winning shows join activities next weekend for the area’s largest daytime TV celebrity fan fest.
The events raise funds benefitting local children’s charities, including Eden Florida’s Eimerman Center, an educational outreach service for children with autism.
“SoapFest is a rare opportunity to get up close with your favorite daytime actors in beautiful Marco Island, Florida while helping support children,” said Pat Berry, SoapFest founder and executive director, in a news release announcing this year’s participants.
Actors attending are led by Walt Willey, known as heartthrob Jackson Montgomery of “All My Children.” Willey will once again act as master of ceremonies. Other cast members attending include Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater) and Stephanie Gatschet (Madison North).
Eight actors from “As The World Turns” include Alexandra Chando, (Maddie Coleman), Evan Alex Cole (Lyon Hunter), Trent Dawson (Henry Coleman), Ellen Dolan (Margo Hughes), Billy Magnussen (Casey Hughes), Tom Pelphrey (Mick Dante and formerly Jonathan on “Guiding Light”), Marnie Schulenburg (Alison Stewart) and Jake Silberman (Noah Mayer).
From “One Life to Live” come Susan Haskell (Marty Saybrooke), 2009 Emmy award winner for best actress in daytime drama, and Scott Evans (Oliver Fish). Also coming is “All My Children” actor Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater).
John Driscoll (Philip “Chance” Chancellor) represents the “Young and the Restless.” Former “Guiding Light” stars Kim Zimmer (Reva Shayne Lewis), a four-time Emmy winner for best actress in a daytime serial, and Jeff Branson (Shayne Lewis), 2009 Emmy award winner for best supporting actor in a daytime drama, are also expected.
Actors will participate in the favorite Art 4 Autism, a SoapFest program which pairs daytime actors painting alongside children and young adults — many of whom have autism or other special needs — on a myriad of colorful canvases which are then auctioned off throughout the weekend.
“The fan interaction and appreciation between soap fans and stars is intimate and personal,” Berry said in the release. “Over the past decade, SoapFest has become one of Southwest Florida’s premier events.”
■ SoapFest 2010 kicks off at 6 p.m. May 15 with A Night of Stars at Bistro Soleil, in the Olde Marco Inn, 100 Palm St., Marco Island. Guests enjoy up-close-and-personal time with residents of soap cities Springfield, Oakdale, Pine Valley and Llanview. Celebrity guests are available for autograph signing, photos, Q&A, auctions and surprise events. Tickets for this upscale event are $100 per person, which includes a catered buffet. Special limited VIP tickets for $150 guarantee seating with favorite actors. Additional special ticket packages are available.
■ Later that evening with the annual Celebrity Bartender Bash at CJs on the Bay in the Esplanade on South Collier Boulevard. This karaoke event showcases celebrities singing their hearts out and serving refreshments to raise funds. Tickets costs $50 each. Discounted tickets are available when combined with tickets to the Night of Stars event.
■ An afternoon of “Cruisin’ Boozin’ & Schmoozin’ With The Stars” aboard the Marco Island Princess, boarding at 951 Bald Eagle Drive, is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 16. Participants mix with daytime stars during a sightseeing tour of Marco Island, with opportunities for autographs, photos, games, raffle prizes and auction items. Cruise tickets cost $75 per person and space is limited. This event includes buffet lunch and entertainment.
■ A new feature, a live play reading of “Specter,” starring Emmy award winning and former “Guiding Light” actor Tom Pelphrey and “As The World Turns” actor Marnie Schulenburg on Sunday.
“Specter,” by author Don Nigro, is the story of a young woman and a man she has never met before, stuck in a car in the mud on in a ditch in the middle of nowhere on a dark and stormy night. Tickets cost $50 each and include a cocktail reception with the actors after the play. All proceeds from this inaugural event will benefit the Apothecary Theatre Co., a non-profit organization.
Auctions throughout the weekend will include exclusive one-of-a-kind items such as original artwork by actors, private studio tours on sets usually closed to the public, ticket packages to the Emmy Awards and lunch with a favorite star. All bidding must be in person as items will be offered and auctioned off during each event.