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Margaritaville brings the tropics to Meredith



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Beth Wichland and Arthur Karageorges dressed for the occasion. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
April 21, 2010
MEREDITH — Snow made a comeback on Friday, but the inside of Church Landing was tropical for Margaritaville in Meredith.

The event benefiting the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce was all about the tropics with margarita tastings, a Caribbean-themed menu, and party music. Tropical shirts, straw hats, parrots, and leis were the attire of choice for the attendees.

This is Margaritaville's fourth year, and the event is the Chamber's major fundraiser.

"It's a great mix of people this year from young and old, everyone out supporting the Chamber and having a fun time," said Chamber board member Paul Cole, who is also on the Margaritaville committee.

Chamber Executive Director Sue Cerutti said the event was sold out two weeks before it took place.

"Word has gotten around how much fun it is," Cerutti said. "There's something for everyone, and it's also set up as a networking event. People just enjoy seeing one another."

The event also showcased the new Web site, which will be going live on May 1. Cerutti said the Web site will give members greater exposure as well as advertising opportunities.

A wide variety of items and services were up for bidding during the silent auction. Cerutti said over half of the Chamber's members have either donated to the auction or have been a co-sponsor of the event.

"It kind of shows the strength of the Chamber," Cerutti said.

The Common Man provided Caribbean-themed cuisine for a buffet dinner and Annie and the Orphans provided musical entertainment.

Attendees could sample different margaritas from several local restaurants.

Margaux Bell from Mame's mixed drinks for people who handed over a ticket.

"We serve them all the time at the restaurant," Bell said. "They think it's that special dash of orange juice that makes it special."

Mame's has served samples previously at the event, though this was Bell's first time serving.

"It seems like a good time," she said. "The whole town is coming together and doing something fun."

Bartender Julie Ellis and Banquet Coordinator Ginny McNeil served Key Lime margaritas for Hart's Turkey Farm. The process was overseen by a large parrot sculpture that belongs to a member of the Hart family.

"Have fun, meet a lot of people," McNeil said of why she likes to attend Margaritaville.

Arthur Karageorges went to the event with his wife Linda while wearing a tie shaped like a parrot. He said found it at a party store and was one of the only parrot or pirate-themed items left as the pirate section had been picked over.

"It's been fantastic and we know half the people," he said. "It's very colorful."

This was Beth Wichland's first year at the party.

"(I like) the margaritas (and seeing) all the people, people that I don't get to see very often that I get to talk to," she said.

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