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Inaugural Christmas-themed pub crawl fundraiser event is a holiday hit

Chad Opel of the nonprofit Edwardsville Neighbors was presented with a check for $5,405 in proceeds from the inaugural Crawlin’ Around the Christmas Tree holiday-themed benefit event by organizers Tara Riggs and Julie Fleck.

Christmas came early to downtown Edwardsville as more than 200 pub crawl participants strolled up and down Main Street.

The inaugural holiday-themed event, Crawlin’ Around the Christmas Tree, held on Dec. 10, 2022, raised funds for local nonprofit Edwardsville Neighbors.

Real estate agents Tara Riggs and Julie Fleck organized the event which included eight participating bars. Raffle items included two baskets brimming with gift cards and swag donated by local businesses and a signed St. Louis Blues Brett Hull jersey donated by Recess Brewing.

“We wanted to host a fun event that would bring the community together to raise money for a great cause while supporting local businesses,” Riggs stated.

Tickets, which were sold for $25 each, granted participants access to food and drink specials at bars along the pub crawl route and a swag bag. Bar crawlers donned everything from ugly sweaters and Christmas light-up necklaces to Santa suits and Grinch onesies.

“The community’s enthusiasm exceeded our expectations. We were hopeful to sell 100 tickets and ended up selling more than double that!” Fleck said. “We’re already discussing how we can make it even bigger and better next year!”

The admission price and raffle ticket sales combined to raise an impressive $5,405 for Edwardsville Neighbors. The organization, which works to ease the financial burdens of local families, was founded in 2009 by life-long Edwardsville resident Chad Opel and his wife Kathie.

“Our organization is incredibly grateful to Tara and Julie’s efforts along with the community’s generosity,” Opel stated. “These donations help us to continue assisting local families that are struggling—especially during the holidays.”

Riggs and Fleck said they are incredibly appreciative to everyone that joined in the holiday fun, the participating bars and local businesses that generously donated items to the raffle baskets.

Riggs and Fleck are RE/MAX Alliance realtors serving the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon communities and surrounding areas. Both specialize in residential buying, selling, building and investing.

To learn more about Edwardsville Neighbors, visit:

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