By Suzanne Schmidt
LAND O’ LAKES — Bands will be rocking, restaurants will offer tasty treats and the best part is all the proceeds raised will go to finding a cure for cancer.
The Concert 4 a Cure will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center. Festivities will include live music, food, baked goods, vendors and a taste of the town. A children’s area will have bounce houses, a beanbag toss and sack races. Tickets are $5 for the event and include five tickets for the taste of the town.
The event will raise funds for the Relay For Life Land O’ Lakes Sun Rays team. The relay will be April 23 and 24 at Land O’ Lakes High School.
Lilly Fontanez, co-captain of the Sun Rays team, said the most important part of the event is to raise money for cancer.
“I just want to thank everybody who stuck with us to do this,” Fontanez said. “The reason is so simple. We really need to find a cure for cancer. You would be surprised by how many people are dealing with cancer. It is the number one killer out there. People need to realize if we all work together we can do something about it.”
Juan Fontanez, coordinator and founder for the event, said this year is going to be bigger and better than last year. The concert raised $2,500 last year and this year’s goal is $5,000.
“Since this is our second year, we plan to have everything twice as big,” Fontanez said. “We have more restaurants and more sponsors. Hopefully we will get twice as many people. Last year we had such a great time and such a great turn out. I just hope it is bigger and better this year.”
Some of the bands that really rocked the stage last year will be returning, like Sonic Wave.
“They were really popular last year,” Fontanez said. “They have two cancer survivors in the band so they are really excited about being a part of it.”
A few other bands will also be playing including 212 Degrees, Cold Pizza and Penny Bonitez and Robert Lester will be playing country and gospel.
The Taste of Town will be bigger and better this year as well with more restaurants participating. Lilly Fontanez and Lillie Lopez, captain of the Sun Rays relay team, worked together to get the restaurant sponsors.
“Everyone is willing to step up to the plate and donate something,” Lopez said. “Cancer is something that touches everybody. It never ceases to surprise me how people care. This is really a tight-knit community.”
Many area restaurants will be offering tastes of their food including ABC Pizza, Rapscallions, Smoothie King, Golden Inn, Big Apple Bagels, Domino’s, Papa John’s, The Coffee Cup Café and the Chick-Fil-A on N. Dale Mabry. This year the event will also have vendors like Avon and Artistic Designs, which offers permanent makeup.
Fontanez said he and his mom Lilly have been participating in the relay for seven years.
“When I used to live in Lake Padgett East, there was a girl there named Taylor Johnson who was diagnosed with brain cancer,” Fontanez said. “We did a fundraiser for her and the money went to her medical bills. She died shortly after but we became involved with a relay team because it was a way to raise money for cancer research.”
More recently cancer struck home with Lilly Fontanez’s brother George Calderon being diagnosed with lymphoma.
“George just moved here from Conneticut and he is in remission,” Lilly Fontanez said. “I am glad he can be with us. He is going to be volunteering at the event.”
Fontanez said she is already looking forward to having the event next year.
“We plan on having this as an annual event,” Lilly Fontanez said. “It is not about the money raised, it is about getting people together to fight for this cause.”
For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/relay or call (813) 359-7933.
If you go:
- What Concert 4 a Cure
- When Feb. 20
- Where 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
- How much $5 a person