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LABOR of Love -- American Legion offers Labor Day celebration for all

September 1, 2016
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Proud to offer a big Labor Day celebration for all, Monday, Sept. 5, the folks of the American Legion Post 274 have been planning the operation for weeks, with the grand barbecue party taking place from 11 a.m. to close, both inside and outside of the 899 Buttonwood location.

With a wealth of fun on the roster for kids and families of all ages, the Legion will be offering tasty BBQ?treats throughout the day, along with live music from Sh-Boom and Chicago Heat, a dunk tank, cake walk, and even Firecracker, the mechanical bull.

Bob Penta, the legion's Second Vice Commander, Adjutant and lounge manager, said there is no cost for any of this all-day fun and all donations will go toward the organization's many non-profit charitable endeavors.

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"We are hoping to turn this into an annual event. We usually do an indoor picnic for our members, but this year, we decided to offer it for everyone and put on a great celebration," Bob said. "You have to make sure you're here to enjoy the music of the two bands performing that day:?Sh-Boom and Chicago Heat. Both mainly perform 1950s and '60s doo wop and rock n' roll songs, but you'll also catch some disco, some Village People, a Tony Bennett impression, I swear at times you'd think Frankie Valli was in the room with you, and some great jazz-type sounds, as well."

Following the Labor Day benefit, Sh-Boom and Chicago Heat will perform regularly at the Legion.

"Make sure you have some of our delicious barbecue lunch, featuring hot dogs, bratwursts, hamburgers, hot wings all for a donation and our members are making homemade ambrosia, potato salads, macaroni salads and other sides for the meal," Bob said.

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Cool off in the dunk take (or take a shot at hitting that bullseye), and speaking of bulls, for those really willing to fly high for a cause, take a ride on Firecracker, the mechanical bull, set up in the outside party area that day.

"Then there's the cake walk, with more than 20 cakes either donated by Publix and Winn-Dixie, or homemade from our auxiliary members," Bob said. "It's like a game of musical chairs, only each winner gets a cake."

Bob, a 25-year veteran of the?U.S. Army, thanks all who have made this event possible, including his sponsors, Cheney Brothers, GFS?and Sysco.

"Everything we raise Monday will go to our charities we're trying to send the bulk of it to the Children's Welfare Fund, one of our larger non-profits," he said. "We also have a couple of veteran's homes in the area one in Punta Gorda that just opened housing veterans in need, offering them schooling for job placement, among other things. Everything we do, we do to help these causes. Come on down and have a good time everything is free and all donations go to a wonderful cause."

About Post 274

With more than 2,000 local members of the American Legion Post 274, this is one of the most active lodges in the state, according to Bob. The establishment boasts a full bar, daily activities and full kitchen, with some of the tastiest meals around. The flavors and dishes that roll out of that kitchen day in and day out are unbelievable, and all meals are served on modern platewear with modern flatwear at very affordable prices.

"Although only Legion members can drink there, the public may come in and enjoy our food anytime," Bob said. "Our food is just as good as high-end restaurants and a fraction of the price. You have to come in and try our queen-cut prime rib it's delicious."

If you're looking for a history lesson, stop by the Legion and peruse its 30-foot behind-glass display of military memorabilia that go back centuries.

"We have some rifles that date back to the Civil War, uniforms, pictures, helmets, a collage of Guadalcanal, and many other memorable pieces worth seeing," Bob said.

Other big events on the American Legion's horizon include its very special Sept. 11 ceremony, a Halloween party for charity, Nov. 11 ceremony, and then its enormous New Year's Eve celebration.

There's no charge to stop by and see what the Legion has to offer, and for a full list of upcoming events and activities, visit



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