Oyster roast to benefit Miracle League in Florence
FLORENCE, S.C. — Oysters and chicken bog will flow freely Saturday night at the fifth annual Miracle League of Florence County Oyster Roast at Southern Hops Brewing Company.
“All-you-can eat oysters and we’ll have chicken bog because not everybody eats oysters,” said Vickie Elliott with the Miracle League. “We’ll have drinks and water there for free and Southern Hops will provide a cash bar outside.”
There will also be a silent auction and the Jebb Mac Band will perform throughout the event, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m.
“We’ve had several things donated to that from several business. We have two fishing trips, inshore fishing trips,” Elliott said of items that will be offered at the silent auction.
This will be the league’s largest oyster roast yet, at least sponsorship-wise, Elliott said.
“We’ve been really blessed with sponsorships every year but this year it was a lot more.”
“Largest” may extend beyond sponsorship too as more than 900 people on Facebook have expressed interest in attending, Elliott said.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed there is no rain,” Elliott said.
Rain in the past, though, hasn’t affected turnout and Southern Hops has been great to the league, she said.
Tickets for the roast are $30 a person or $50 a couple and can be purchased at Southern Hops, Florence County Parks and Recreation, at the door Saturday night or online at www.southernhops.com/shop, she said.
Building a playground
Money raised Saturday night is targeted for the next phase of development at the league’s field on Pamplico Highway at Greenwood Athletic Park just outside Florence.
“Phase III, which is our all-inclusive playground, that’s where all of this will go,” Elliott said. “That’s our next big project once we get through our concession stand part.”
The concession stand is being paid for by money raised by board members, she said. It has hit a few bumps in the road on its journey to completion but progress continues and it could be open by the start of the spring season, tentatively set for April 6.
“That’ll be costly, maybe more than the field cost us,” Elliott said. “It’ll be all inclusive, not just special needs kids; their siblings can play as well.”
The local group is working with the Miracle League organization on planning and building.
There are several large units they want to include for wheelchair-bound participants and that will be the driver on how much the playground ultimately costs, Elliott said.
More than just baseball
Known for its buddy-baseball approach to the game, the Miracle League of Florence County is about more than just an athletic outing.
The league features a movie night for team members before the start of the fall season, a splash pad day at the conclusion of the spring season and a Christmas party.
For the movie the league owns an inflatable screen. Players and family members spread out on the field in bean bags and lawn chairs for the event.
“We try to plan as much for them between seasons,” Elliott said. “It’s just a good outlet for a lot of families to be able to come and these kids feel accepted at something.”
Between the games and social outings the league has tripled in size from the 44 players who started out to an average of more than 120 players over the last two years.
That’s enough for 12-15 players a team over eight teams, she said. Each season runs about eight weeks beyond opening day so that each team gets to play every other team once.
Players from across the Pee Dee compete in the league. The next closest Miracle League is in Horry County, Elliott said.
The growth the league has experienced has officials looking into the possibility of building a second field adjacent to the existing field, she said.
For the time being, though, the league is focused on Saturday’s fundraiser and the playground it will pay for.
“I have people tell me all the time how much a blessing miracle league is to their families. That makes it all worth it,” Elliott said.