By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Over 500 participants are expected to take part this year's 16th Annual HK Powersports Land and Lake Poker Run to benefit Easter Seals New Hampshire which will be held Saturday.
The event, which is dedicated to Peter Makris, the late owner of the Naswa Resort, sees participants travel by cars, motorcycles, boats, personal watercraft, trucks and Jeeps, around or in Lake Winnipesaukee, collecting poker cards as they go which make them eligible for prizes which are awarded at a gathering Saturday afternoon at the Naswa.
Last year's event raised a record $88,000, bringing the total raised since 2001 to $931,000 according to Christine Pederson, Easter Seals New Hampshire's director of event and corporate relations. She says that this year the goal is to raise enough money to pass the $1 million mark.
"The majority of our participants have been involved in this event since 2001 and we pride ourselves in bringing something new to the day to keep it exciting and fresh for all. Our event committee, made of up passionate community leaders, makes sure it is a memorable and fun day for everyone," says Pederson. She noted that for nearly 80 years, Easter Seals New Hampshire has provided services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Among those helping plan the event is Cynthia Makris, general manager of the Naswa, who serves on the board for Easter Seals. "Since Easter Seals helps people through the whole life cycle, with a broad range of services for everyone, from disadvantaged children to veterans, to adults with disabilities and the elderly, it offered the perfect match for the Naswa family," said Makris. "We are grateful for the popularity the Naswa enjoys and wanted to work with an organization that serves more than just our neighborhood. We wanted the benefits to extend across the state and also across age and demographic lines."
Participants register at the Naswa at 9 a.m. and depart at 10:30 a.m. to four destination points around the lake where they collect sealed playing cards before returning to the Naswa. Land participants make stops at Tanger Outlet Center in Tilton, HK Powersports in Laconia , Patrick's Pub in Gilford and Lago Restaurant in Meredith. Lake participants stop at the town docks in Weirs Beach and Center Harbor, Shibley's at the Pier in Alton and Lago Restaurant dock in Meredith.
Back at the resort, participants play their poker hand and enjoy a beach party which includes a buffet by Sysco, music from Crown Entertainment, water games sponsored by Coors Light and The Cohen Family, and other family-fun activities throughout the day, including an exciting live auction which last year raised almost $15,000.
Prizes awarded in a raffle include a grand prize of a Sea Doo Spark 900 HC with trailer, an $8,693 value, donated by HK Powersports. Second prize is a Saber grill with cover, a $1,200 value, donated by Fireside Living. Third prize is an Old Town Guide 147 canoe, an $824 value, donated by Irwin Marine and fourth prize is an Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak, valued at $565, donated by Irwin Marine.
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