Traditional Jacksonville Beach party with James Bond theme helps local families in need

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The annual Jacksonville Pier Dance teamed up yet again with the Casa Marina Hotel to help raise money for B.E.A.M (Beaches Area Assisted Ministry) and celebrate the birthday of the hotel’s beloved Maître d, Sterling Joyce, on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

The party has become a Jacksonville tradition that brings holiday cheer while benefiting local families in need. Now in its 21st year, the Pier Dance features live music from BayStreet band and a locally sourced fashion show — all in a sleek James Bond themed event.

In 1998, the original bassist of the BayStreet band, John Miller, founded the Pier Dance, making the admission one unwrapped child’s toy and non-perishable food item. Originally held on the Jacksonville Pier, the following year brought Hurricane Floyd, which destroyed the original event’s location. It was eventually decided to hold the Jacksonville Pier Dance at the Casa Marina Hotel, where it has been for the past twenty years. Sterling Joyce, who had been celebrating his birthday in a charity-styled event, decided to combine both parties into one iconic Jacksonville Beach tradition.

The highlight of this year’s event was the glamourous runway fashion show, which featured styles from local boutiques and clothing stores. Participants included Fashion Group Intl of Northeast Florida featuring Venus, Dillard’s, Scout & Molly’s and Sweet Repeats. Additionally, the show included local designers Joseph Lago, Zula, JtVinson and Gie Designs.

Proceeds went to B.E.A.M, Jacksonville’s community charity devoted to serving low income Beaches-area residents. Attendees donated 735 pounds of food, equivalent to more than 600 meals to families in need. Additionally, the event provided half a truckload of toys to St. Vincent De Paul’s for their Adopt a Family Program.

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