Date ArticleType
12/31/2018 Member News


            Gulfport, FL, February 22, 2019—An exciting evening of food, entertainment, music and dance will be hosted at the Gulfport Casino as a fund-raiser for Life-skills, Empowerment, And Development Services (LEADS).  LEADS is a non-profit agency dedicated to educating children and supporting families throughout Pinellas County.

            In honor of Black History Month, the Cotton Club will re-create the original Cotton Club, a New York City nightclub located in Harlem from 1923 to 1935.  The club featured many of the most popular black entertainers of the era, including musicians Duke Ellington, Louie Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Waller, and vocalists, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, and Lena Horne.

            Local Pinellas favorite, Elder Ricardo Welch, is featured as Duke Ellington.  Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity whose motto is, “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity,” is a major sponsor for the event.  Performers from Gibbs High School Center of the Arts will sing and dance to songs of the era under the direction of Dr. Cody Clark, while cigar and cigarette girls wander through the room selling chocolate cigarettes and bubble gum cigars.  There will also be ample time for attendees to hit the dance floor and swing to live music.  The first five dance clubs to purchase a table of ten will be featured and invited to perform.

 Everyone coming to The Cotton Club is encouraged to dress in costumes of the times.  Flapper dresses, elegant clothes, mobster suits, spats, art deco fashions are welcome but not required.  Come as you are and enjoy our photo booth with props and silent auction. 

Doors will open at 7:00 p.m., Friday, February 22.  The Gulfport Casino is located at 5500 Shore Blvd. S.  The Casino itself is a beautiful ballroom from the era designated a local historical landmark by The Historic Preservation Committee. Pinellas residents are invited to put on their “glad rags” and come swing the night away with good food, fun, and friends while helping to support the children and families of Pinellas County.

Tickets for The Cotton Club are $30.00 in advance, $25.00 for military and students with identification and $35.00 at the door.   Tickets can be purchased at

For more information about The Cotton Club fund-raiser call Vicki Draeger at 727-307-8379. To learn more about LEADS and its programs, visit the website:


              About LEADS: Life-skills, Empowerment And Development Services (LEADS), is a Pinellas County, Florida non-profit dedicated to helping families with children prenatal to 18 years. LEADS offers FREE programs designed to work jointly to promote physical and emotional, health, as well as social and academic competence.  It is the mission of LEADS to develop strong communities by empowering families with the knowledge and skills necessary for healthy functioning and self-sufficiency in the 21st Century.  LEADS seeks to partner with area Tampa Bay non-profits, knowing that we are stronger together.