By MAUREEN HOLLAND

South Venice Civic Association

On July 4, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the South Venice Civic Association will host an afternoon Community celebration at the Civic Association building and property at 720 Alligator Drive in South Venice, featuring everyone’s favorite rock and roll band, Bandana.

Cover fee at the door will be $10. Kids under 12 are free.

Beer, wine, burgers, dogs and barbecue will available for purchase, along with outdoor and indoor games for the kids, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. SVCA President Duke Doogue notes “there will be plenty of time to get to the fireworks afterward!”

The BBQ Bash is a “friendraiser and fundraiser” for the organization which has been The Heart of South Venice Since 1955. A volunteer organization, the SVCA has had a long and consequential history in South Venice. It was formed in 1955, just three years after construction of the first homes in the South Venice subdivision, which now has well over 20,000 residents.

For 50 years, the SVCA maintained the community’s deeded beach, ferry operation and boat ramp and in 2001 incorporated the South Venice Beach Endowment Trust to hold and manage those properties. Since then, besides continuing its role as center for social and civic events, it serves to host County officials on a regular basis to meet with residents, address their concerns and answer questions that matter to the community. Issues like code enforcement, water and sewer, ditch mowing, tree trimming, mosquito spraying and much more.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by phone to 941-493-0006, by email to info@southvenicebeach.org or in person at the SVCA office, located at 720 Alligator Drive in South Venice. Office hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bandana are Venice’s favorite rockers. Leader and lead vocalist Tony ‘Butch’ Gerace and his wife Sharon are long-time residents of South Venice. Besides Gerace, the band includes Dave Hartman (bass), Larry Kuran (guitar and vocals), Steve Shower (keyboard and vocals) and Bill Glover (drums). Venice has voted them Best Local Band for 20 years.

Gerace formed his first rock band in the 1960’s, called Tony Gee & the Gypsys, later renamed Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs. With L’il Red Riding Hood the number one hit in the world, the group became one of the era’s top recording groups. Other hits followed, like “Wooly Bully,” “Red Hot,” “Oh that’s good” and “How do you catch a girl.”

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