by Alicia Wainwright
Preparations are now under way for the annual Cruise & Schmooze. The 2012 edition of the Niagara River Cruise & Schmooze, which benefits Niagara Hospice, will take place on Friday, July 13.
"It's probably the best kept secret in Western New York," said Paul Beatty Sr., chairman of the event.
Now in its 13th year, the event, which sees visitors enjoying a leisurely afternoon in boats down the lower Niagara River off Youngstown, is held in memory of Jack Beatty.
The day starts at 2 p.m. with people arriving at the Youngstown Yacht Club to meet their skipper and first mate. Members of the Youngstown Yacht Club donate their boats and time to take guests on this cruise.
Crews will be assigned to a power or sailing vessel for a scenic three-hour cruise on the scenic lower Niagara River. As they cruise, donated hors d'oeuvres and spirits plus on-the-water music will be provided.
There is no pre-determined path for your voyage; guests can decide where they wish to go. Most choose the smooth ride up the river toward Lewiston, where they'll meet up with the live band floating downstream. This year's live band on the water is The Junk Yard Dogs.
"So they enjoy the music, drift back down river with nice cocktails and hors d'oeuvres," explained Paul Beatty Sr.
Finally, guests will end up back at the Youngstown Yacht Club at approximately 5:30 p.m. to enjoy the clambake with steamed clams and live music, the band Soul Committee, for the rest of the night. Guests can enjoy salads, pulled pork, chicken, sausage, and fresh Niagara County corn-on-the-cob among other foods - served buffet style - along with plenty of beer and wine.
Following dinner, visitors will have time to peruse baskets and silent auction items set up at the Youngstown Yacht Club and participate in a 50/50 split.
The money raised from this casual and fun-filled day provides revenue for Niagara Hospice to use in its work with individuals and families dealing with end-of-life illnesses. This event has already raised approximately $300,000 for Niagara Hospice so far and is "Hospice's largest fundraising endeavor privately," Beatty said.
Tickets for the Cruise & Schmooze and/or clambake are priced as follows: cruise and clambake, $80 presale to June 13 and $125 afterward; clambake only, $35 presale to June 13 and $50 afterward; and business foursome, $450 to June 13 and $650 afterward. Tickets can be purchased at www.niagarahospiceregatta.com or contact Adam Burns at 713-5119.