‘Under the Big Top’ gala benefits Marco Island Historical Society

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Standing: Garrett Smith, Kevin Dohm, Dianna Dohm, Jean Grela, Lary Grela and Carolyn Huffor; seated: Judy Smith, Allyson Richards, Jim Richards and Mark Huffor at the Marco Island Historical Society’s annual gala, Under the Big Top on Feb. 20.

The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) held its annual gala, "Under the Big Top," on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Social distancing protocols were followed and guests were provided with Under the Big Top masks. However, most arrived wearing their own masks, and many chose to add a playful twist with circus-themed face wear.

Michelle Richards, Allyson Richards and Alisha Pacheco at the Marco Island Historical Society’s annual gala, Under the Big Top on Feb. 20.

A light, refreshing breeze and comfortable temperatures provided the ideal weather for the outdoor evening Under the Big Top at the Island Country Club. Guests were clearly happy to be with friends in a setting in the open air. They wandered the “Midway” bidding on silent auction items and enjoying jugglers, magicians and carnival games from balloon darts to ring toss for prizes. They later gathered under a large white tent for dinner and dancing to the Too Hot Trio.

Auctioneer Jay Zeager led a high energy live auction. A call for donations to support the MIHS met with many enthusiastic responses and paddles were raised throughout the room as guests made their pledges.

Patty Pangborn, Mike Pangborn, Rene Champagne and Tish Champagne at the Marco Island Historical Society’s annual gala, Under the Big Top on Feb. 20.

“When we began planning this year’s gala, there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether it would actually happen with current circumstances,” said MIHS Executive Director Pat Rutledge. “However, we began working out how we could safely gather in an outdoor setting and voila, with the great help of the Island Country Club, we came up with Under the Big Top! We are so grateful to our gala chairs, Allyson and Jim Richards, our volunteers, our sponsors and our many friends in the community for their support — and that everyone had such a good time.”  

Emily James and Allyson Richards at the Marco Island Historical Society’s annual gala, Under the Big Top on Feb. 20.

The Marco Island Historical Society and Marco Island Historical Museum are located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and the site is handicapped accessible. Face coverings are required for entry, and social distancing and sanitizing practices are being followed.

For information visit themihs.org or call 239-389-6447.