The sixth annual Lake-A-Palooza charity party kicks off this Sunday from noon-5 p.m. at Wobble Island, Lake Gaston, to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and Land4Heros.
Lake-A-Palooza is a family friendly event with live entertainment by country musician Colton James, a live auction, and 50/50 drawing.
“We bring out an 80-foot barge, hang a huge American flag, and the band sets up to play,” said event organizer Pete Richardson, of Lake Gaston Pizza. “We also have a flat bed pontoon boat we display auction items on. When the band stops playing, I’ll get on stage and auction off everything from Yeti coolers to a dove hunt in Argentina.”
All of the auction items are donated and the proceeds are split equally between the charities.
Land4Heroes is Colton James’ charity retreat for wounded veterans and their families. Veterans can go hunting, fishing, and have community time with other soldiers.
“They also have recovery sessions where they can sit down with other soldiers and hear about how they’re dealing with things,” said Richardson.
“We’ve helped children with leukemia and other cancers, and a mother of two fighting breast cancer,” said Richardson of past events. “This year we just wanted to do something for the children’s hospital.”
Richardson also holds a toy drive for the children’s hospital around Christmas.
Richardson and James started Lake-A-Palooza after meeting on Wobble Island about six years ago. It was in the middle of the week when Richardson saw a girl about 5 years old without hair on the island. He started talking to her mother, and found out that the girl had Leukemia.
A little while later, Richardson was approached by James, and after their introduction, James also asked about the little girl. James told Richardson that he’s a country music artist, and they should do something to help.
Richardson had the idea for Lake-A-Palooza, and it snowballed from there.
“We had about six weeks to pull it off,” Richardson said. “I made some phone calls and asked a few favors, and we made it happen.”
“I saw that same little girl a few weeks ago. Here it is, five or six years later, she has hair halfway down her back, and she is leukemia free,” Richardson said. “It hits you in a good way. It humbles me when people come out and donate thousands of dollars to help other people.”
Last year, Lake-A-Palooza raised about $18,000. Richardson said there were probably 400 or 500 boats in and out through the day, and over 2,000 people attended.
The event has raised about $75,000 in the past five years.
Wobble Island is an island and sandbar about 250 feet wide near the mouth of Pea Hill Creek. Wobble Island is only accessible by water; there is no land access.
For more information, call 252-586-8086 or visit lakegastonpizza.com.