More than 130 boaters turned out July 11-13 for the Hartwell Lake Poker Run to raise money for Meals on Wheels in Anderson County.
The poker run was postponed from its original June date because of severe weather from a tropical storm. Ironically boaters this past weekend were dodging thunderstorms because of remnants of Hurricane Barry.
“I think with the heightened amount of expected thunderstorms we had good preregistration but those people that always come out and just register onsite was less than we normally have,” said Laurie Ashley, executive director of Meals on Wheels in Anderson County.
The Hartwell Lake Poker Run is one of the largest poker runs in the country but changing the date and weather presented challenges for organizers. Ashley said they don’t have a final fundraising total from the weekend but it should be similar to past years.
The Hartwell Lake Poker Run is the largest fundraiser for the organization, which provides meals to people who are homebound, elderly or disabled and live alone or with another person that is disabled. The group serves 400 people a day with a waiting list of more than 200 people.
The newest edition to the event was a welcome party and boat showcase at Palmetto Distillery in downtown Anderson. Ashley hopes to grow the showcase to raise community awareness and attract more volunteers to the organization.
“We put some boats on display in downtown Anderson so that was really good for us because we got some local attention folks that were just really curious about those big boats that came in on trailers,” Ashley said.
During the poker run on Saturday, July 13, boaters were chasing a few showers but the rain generally stayed away during the five-hour poker run.
“We had a great band on Friday night and we had another great band on Saturday night,” she said. “Like you said, a fun time was had by all.”
The dates for the 2020 Hartwell Lake Poker Run are June 11-13.