One Saturday afternoon in 2016, Kim Proano and Brittni Lynch were bar-hopping and shopping in downtown St. Pete when it occurred to them that they could host their own bar crawls – and raise money for charities at the same time. They presented this idea to local bars and boutiques, and each one they spoke to was eager to participate. They arranged to benefit Toys for Tots, sent out a Facebook invite to friends and family, and were very pleased at the turnout.
Proano and Lynch appropriately named their organization Booze and Boutiques, which now hosts a crawl along Central Avenue every winter. “Everyone starts at the first location where they check in and receive a wristband and map,” Lynch explained. “There’s a team leader so people know where they’re going.” Participants enjoy shopping and free food and drinks at every location, and attend a silent auction at the end of the crawl. Donations include items that are suited for anyone, such as gym memberships or staycations. There is also a raffle and a conversation about the beneficiary.
On December 8, the 2018 Booze and Boutiques crawl will benefit Heels to Heal, a local nonprofit that provides sexual assault and domestic violence survivors with the resources they need to move forward. The organization was also the beneficiary in 2017. “We’re doing Heels to Heal again because we had a great turnout last year and it’s a great organization,” said Lynch.
So far, participation is twice than what it was last year in terms of businesses, ticket sales and food. “We didn’t have enough food last year,” Lynch said, “but this year we have sushi from The Lure, appetizers from Buya, pizza from Pizza Box, and trays from Ciccio.”
There is more participation from local boutiques, and Proano and Lynch are excited to have corporate sponsors for the first time ever, including Compass Land & Title and Barkett Realty.
For $30 a ticket, participants get 20 percent off at every boutique with no restrictions, a free specialty drink and free food at every location, and a free raffle ticket. Booze and Boutiques also has a bus for transportation in case people get tired of walking.
According to Lynch, Booze and Boutiques is getting bigger and better every year. There’s a possible second crawl in the works for the springtime along Beach Drive.
Booze and Boutique’s 2018 crawl is on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 12 to 5 p.m. Information and tickets here.