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Pirates of Lanier Poker Run is this weekend
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Forsyth County News

At glance

Pirates of Lanier Poker Run schedule of events: Today and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., vendor village, Lake Lanier Islands Resort; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Poker Run on Lake Lanier; Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m., after-event party and awards ceremony with live music, laser light show, fireworks at Sunset Cove.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Pirates, poker and a run for the winning hand is on deck this weekend as boaters participate in Lanier Partners of North Georgia’s annual poker run to benefit kids.

This year’s Pirates of Lanier Poker Run has a goal of raising $300,000 to benefit Camp Sunshine, Naval Special Warfare Kids and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County.

The pirates’ home base will be Sunset Cove on the grounds of Lake Lanier Islands Resort. Organizers expect quite the crowd of boaters.

“We’re anticipating 300 or so,” said Rea Williams, a member of the group’s board of directors. “Our goal is to raise a lot of money for children.”

On Saturday, Poker Run captains will navigate their vessels to a number of stops around the lake, where they will receive a sealed envelope containing oversized playing cards.

They will then return to Lake Lanier Island’s Sunset Cove, between 4 and 8 p.m. to play their existing hand with an option to purchase additional cards.

Captains selecting the event’s “long run” will circle up at Buford Dam and streak across the lake to Gainesville Marina, ultimately returning to dock at Aqualand Marina in Flowery Branch or Holiday Marina, adjacent to Lake Lanier Islands resort.

Although not a timed event, boaters may run in excess of 100 mph. Safety is of utmost importance, say run organizers, so a system of flags designating a required slow-down is used as well as helicopter monitoring of the course.

The public is invited to attend, throughout the weekend, for a $10 gate entrance. Saturday will include a vendor village, a costume contest for boats and crew, and some top-level boats.

“Saturday night there’s a laser light show at the islands. They shine it into the trees,” Williams said. There will also be fireworks and live music.

Lanier Partners of North Georgia Inc. was founded in 2010 to help in children in need throughout Hall, Gwinnett, Atlanta and north Georgia.