The scent of barbecue and the sounds of bands belting out the blues aren’t the only sweet things to come out of the fifth annual Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ and Blues Fest at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.
There’s also the money that the event generates.
This year, the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce handed out more than $15,000 in donations to eight civic clubs and youth groups, thanks to money raised through the event. The donations ranged from $750 to $1,500.
The chamber also announced new scholarships of $1,000 each for performing arts and culinary arts that will be presented to two graduating Zephyrhills High School students in May.
“We are fortunate to have a community that embraces volunteer service and grateful for the enthusiasm by businesses and community organizations that support this event,” said Vonnie Mikkelsen, the chamber’s executive director.
Groups that received the money are excited about what it can do.
The YMCA of East Pasco will spend its donation to send four students and a supervisor to the YMCA’s Blue Ridge leadership program in Black Mountain, North Carolina this summer.
“It’s a huge event,” says AJ Hernandez, the East Pasco YMCA’s program director. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to network. It’s a great learning experience.”
The students work year-round to collect funds to pay for the trip with car washes, drawings, dinner events and selling snacks at sports events.
The Zephyrhills Museum of Military History, at 39444 South Ave., in Zephyrhills, will be getting some display cases, mannequins and other items to freshen up its look, said Cliff Moffett.
“It’s going to be huge for us,” Moffett said. “We need a lot of stuff to make the museum up-to-date and more modern.”
He thinks the museum visitors will enjoy the acquisitions.
Visitors, he said, “like to see something new.”
The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It also hosts some special events. It had an event on Dec. 7 to remember the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. It is planning a similar event on June 6, to honor D-Day in World War II.
About three-dozen members of the Interact Club at Zephyrhills High School plan to pass on their donation to a local charity at the end of the year. The club is the high school extension of the Noon Rotary Club of Zephyrhills.
Last year, the students donated funds to Sunrise Domestic Violence Center, Thomas Promise Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and East Pasco Meals on Wheels. They usually visit and do volunteer service at area charities throughout the year before deciding which charities will receive donations.
“They gain a broader understanding of the needs that are out there,” said Amy Chappell, the club’s advisor. She also serves on the chamber’s board of directors but not on the committee that awards the donations. “Locally, it’s an eye opener to the needs that are right here.”
In addition to local initiatives, club members reach out to global organizations that work on issues such as clean drinking water and human trafficking. But, Chappell said the local volunteer work gives them a unique perspective.
“They see what a difference it can make,” she said.
Other groups and organizations that received donations were the Pasco County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, Sunshine Swampers 4 x 4 Club Inc., Zephyr Airport Cadet Squadron, Zephyrhills High School Drama Club and Zephyrhills Army JROTC.
Nearly 10,000 people attended the barbecue and blues event.
Published March 11, 2015