by Lisa Fieldhouse
On Friday, March 6 from 6:00 -p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the SOHO Cycling Studio will once again be in Curtis Hixon Park for their outdoor “Ride in The Park” benefitting the Gasparilla Music Foundation.
Michelle Gobea, owner and instructor at SOHO Cycling said the event, which is part of the Gasparilla Music Festival is their single biggest fundraiser of the year.
“This event helps to keep music alive in our local schools,” said Gobea. “All the money donated goes towards music programs for schools that don’t have the funding for it, and also provides scholarships and instruments to students. This event celebrates music which is so important for all our lives and what we do at SOHO Cycling”
Last year SOHO Cycling raised over $68,000 for the Gasparilla Music Foundation. The Ride in The Park will consist of nine of SOHO Cycling’s instructors on-stage, along with 150 riders who have donated to the cause. The ride will also be followed with a special guest performance by musician Tone Loc, as a kickoff to the Gasparilla Music Festival’s first celebration of the weekend.
“It is so awesome knowing that your contribution will go directly to our local schools and will buy instruments for underprivileged kids,” said Susan McGuire Finch, SOHO Cycling instructor who will be participating in this year’s ride. “Giving just feels so good.”
Over 480 instruments were donated to schools in the Hillsborough and Pinellas counties from the money raised from SOHO Cycling 2019’s Ride in The Park at GMF. For this year’s ride, they hope to do just as well, if not better.
“Huge thanks to SOHO Cycling for helping out with new musical instruments for the awesome and deserving kids at Crestwood Elementary School today. My son is more than excited,” said Perez Cecy, mother of sixth-grader, Ryan, who received a trombone from GMF.
Anyone who participates is allowed to ride as a team of three or ride solo. Riders will also be given access to the SOHO Cycling Lounge during the event and will receive a GMF ticket for the remainder of the weekend, along with a complimentary beer.
“In order to ride, there is a mandatory fundraising minimum for the event entry. Each team has to raise at least 2,500 dollars,” said Tim Powell, a rider and donor this year. When asking the participants why they have decided to be a part of this year’s Ride in The Park, Powel explained the joy he gets from being a part of the cause.
“I so enjoy supporting and being part of the event,” said Powell. “It was so fun last year to get to see some of the kids who benefit from the event doing a show for the riders. You could feel the energy and pride that these young people had. Great cause, great time and great people.”
After the 2020 Ride at GMF, the students themselves will head on stage and perform several songs using their new instruments as a thank you to SOHO Cycling, the riders and the Gasparilla Music Foundation.
For more information on how to register to ride or send a donation, visit sohoride.com.
Lisa Fieldhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org