Pensacola, Florida
Monday September 16th 2019


Big Top on the Beach


Covenant Hospice Hosts 16th Annual Evening of Comedy

The big top is on the beach, and its purpose includes a better cause than just making you laugh.

Covenant Hospice is hosting its 16th Annual Evening of Comedy Aug. 14 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, and this year’s theme is none other than the circus.

“Each year we do something new, and we brainstormed, threw out a couple of ideas and thought the big top would be tons of fun and we could do a lot with it,” said Leah Harrison, development manager of Covenant Hospice, in an e-mail interview. “Think cotton candy, popcorn, a magician and tarot card reader.”

Not only is laughter the best medicine, but donating to a worthy cause feels great too. Money raised at the event will benefit programs including children’s support services, bereavement services and indigent care for patients who have little to no ability to pay.

“The impact is surreal,” Harrison said. “Those who help support this event truly help us fulfill the mission of adding life into days when days can no longer be added to life.”

The Evening of Comedy will be hosted by WEAR-TV 3′s Sue Straughn and includes a cocktail hour, gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions and a stand-up performance by comedian Vic Henley.

Alabama-born Henley has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He has also starred in his own “Comedy Central Presents” half-hour special.

“Vic Henley is a southern boy who lives in the city,” Harrison said. “He still has his quirky southern accent and is sure to have the crowd cackling.”

Some big-ticket items to be auctioned off have themes, such as the “A Night in Vegas” package, which includes airfare from AirTran Airways, accommodations and tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show. Another fun package is titled “Dinner Party,” which includes dinner for a group in your home cooked by Chef Kemo Massey along with a wine tasting. There are also passes to attractions in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga.; New Orleans, La.; and Orlando and Sarasota, Fla. In addition, local gyms, photographers, spas, jewelers and restaurants have all donated items to the auction.

“This year’s auction is even bigger than the big top,” Harrison said.

New to this year’s Evening of Comedy is the Promote Pensacola program. The program was created to pick up the business this area has lost since the oil spill. Covenant Hospice partnered with Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front and Portofino Island Resort to offer special overnight rates.

“In talking to many of the businesses on the beach and in the area, they were feeling the effects of the oil spill, as are so many,” Harrison said. “One day we were discussing the issue with Teri Levin, and she was telling us the different actions their realty properties were taking to bring people to the beach, and we agreed that we should promote for our guests to stay out on the beach.”

By attending the event, not only can you support Covenant Hospice, but you can support our community.

“Each year we are blessed with a great crowd of our local community,” Harrison said. “This area really steps up to help the not-for-profits. Our mission is to enable patients to live as fully and as comfortably as possible during the end of their lives, and with the help of fundraisers like Evening of Comedy we are able to do so.”

WHEN: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14
WHERE: Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, 12 Via De Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach
COST: $100 per person, $900 for a table of 10, or $1,100 for a table of 12