Over 150 people attended the first annual "Watercolors Gala" Sunday, April 2, at the St. James City Civic Association Community Center to benefit the Matlacha Civic Association Environ-mental Fund.
The guests feasted on local specialties contributed by restauranteurs El Polo Rico, Hurricane Hideout, Red Dog Grill, Sandy Hook Fish and Rib House, Island Seafood and Olde Fish House Marina. Carlos Portela, the owner of Hurricane Hideout, donated the iconic "RED'S" mermaid signs for auction.
The event raised over $20,000 for the litigation fund, which now exceeds $60,000.
Those attending the 'Watercolors Gala' enjoy the food provided by several local restaurants.
Other noteworthy contributions were original watercolor paintings of Matlacha by Diane Wickes, vacation days at the Angler Inn, a personalized painting of Bert's Bar and noteworthy works of art from Wildchild Gallery.
Nearly 100 local artists and businesses donated items for the silent and live auction, conducted by Angler Inn's own licensed auctioneer Karl Deigert.
Pine Island artist Rachi Farrow presented the association with a 5-foot-tall canvas painting, which was autographed by all attendees to memorialize the occasion.
The event was accompanied by the music of Diane and Alan Bickford and their musical group Pine Island Sound.
Special thanks was given to the principal sponsor of the event, Bernard Johnson.
The association litigation fund supports a lawsuit by the Matlacha Civic Association and other island residents against the city of Cape Coral to overturn the annexation of lots on Pine Island Road at the entrance to Matlacha. The association is also supporting a legal challenge to force Cape Coral to comply with the federal Clean Water Act by restoring effective storm water controls to its canals and estuaries.
Donations to the fund can be made at www.matlachacivicassociation.org.