By Sara Avalos
Johnson County residents will have the opportunity to try a variety of specialty cocktails, all for a cause.
HAVlife will host the Martini Shakeoff on June 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. for the third year in a row. This year it will take place at a new hotel in an old location, The Graduate, 210 S. Dubuque St.
The event aims to raise money for the kids of Johnson County. HAVlife originally started in the Quad Cities, and it has put on fundraisers for kids for nearly 10 years.
The organization helps kids from age 9 to 15, giving away around $130,000 in grants in the past two years and affecting more than 10,000 children.
Anne Barber Nessa, one of the organizers of HAVlife, said the Shakeoff is open to anyone who would like to come.
“I would encourage anyone in Johnson County to come,” Nessa said. “It’s such a good time.”
HAVlife has assisted youth organizations in Johnson County like the Youth Off-Road Riders, which HAVlife helped raise money so it could compete in various races.
Last year, the organization funded a program in middle schools that allowed every eighth-grader in Iowa City to see a show at Hancher.
“Our grants have helped give kids a chance to do something that many people can’t experience because they just don’t have the money,” Nessa said.
The Martini Shakeoff will have 12 signature cocktails from 12 local establishments. Before the event, there will be six judges who will taste the cocktails and decide which ones taste the best. Those will be the cocktails served during the event.
There will also be food, a performance by the Funk Daddies, and a raffle for prizes, including three pieces of jewelry, each worth more than $2,000, pizza prizes, car-wash prizes, among many other items. The tickets for this event are $50.
Nessa said she looks forward to the Shakeoff and the turnout this year. In the past two years that HAVlife has held the event, she said, more than 400 people have attended. She believes it’s a fun way to raise money for children who are not as fortunate as others so that they can enjoy such extracurricular activities as arts, music, and sports.
“The best part is knowing that you are raising a significant amount of money for children who really need it,” Nessa said.