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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Crawlin on the Chain Raises Money to Keep Lakes Clean for 5th Year

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Crawlin on the Chain Raises Money to Keep Lakes Clean for 5th Year

by James Coulter

What does barbecue gator and environmentalism have in common? Well, alligators live in lakes, and if those lakes are polluted, then there won’t be any gators left to barbecue. So, it’simportant to keep our local lakes clean and beautiful.

The fifth annual Crawlin on the Chain fundraiser was hosted last Saturday at Tanner’s Lakeside. The annual fundraiser was hosted to raise proceeds for Project Eagle, the annual initiative hosted by Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful to clean up local lakes for Earth Day.

Attendees were able to enjoy a barbecue dinner (as well as sample grilled gator), listen to live music, order drink specials, and participate in raffles and silent auctions to help raise proceeds for Project Eagle.

Crawlin on the Chain

Originally, the event existed as the Gator Crawl. However, when that event ended five years ago, Melanie Brown Culpepper, a local philanthropist and community advocate, decided to keep the tradition going with Crawlin on the Chain.

Not only does Crawlin on the Chain serve as a fundraiser for Project Eagle through Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful, but also as a joint fundraiser for Saving Lives Matter through Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, Melanie’s non-profit organization that donates AEDs to local businesses and establishments across the county.

“[I appreciate] everybody coming out and enjoying the beautiful day, the community supporting in the fun,” Melanie said. “We have a great team. They have gone over and beyond. The turnout was better than I thought it was. It was amazing. I love the whole vibe of Gator Barbecue with the music and rock and roll, everyone coming together and supporting one another.”

Tracey Mercer, Winter Haven City Commissioner and Organizer for Project Eagle, has been overseeing the local cleanup initiative for many years. She appreciates the efforts by the community through the fundraiser to help keep the initiative going, and, through that, keeping local lakes and waterways clean.

“I think the event was pretty good,” Mercer said. “I was here to serve the gator and help with the fundraising. I like the people. They know it, and a lot of them participate every year. They love doing it. We are doing it for a good cause.”

Rhonda Todd, Executive Director for Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful, appreciates how the annual fundraiser has helped support their cause and keep it going for many years.

“This event has been a big support for many years,” she said. “We have a bunch of residents and great citizens who support it. It has been put on for many years. The community atmosphere and support keep me coming back every year. Melanie and her team have done a great job. We appreciate her. It is fantastic. A great event.”

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