What better way to wish fall away and usher in spring than to spend the evening at the 6th annual Panhandle Sportsman's Banquet

What better way to wish fall away and usher in spring than to spend the evening at the 6th annual Panhandle Sportsman's Banquet sharing with friends your outdoor adventures of the fall and plannng new ones for the spring. One of the area's most anticipated sportsmen's events is soon to occur.

 The date of the annual Panhandle Sportsman's Banquet has been set for Thursday evening, Feb. 21. Port St. Joe Lions Club members are busy working to make this year's event not only one of the biggest and best ever, but another special moment to remember.

 Attendees will enjoy the historic surroundings of the Port St. Joe Centennial Building while socializing with numerous area sportsmen and friends, and enjoying appetizers of Apalachicola oysters, boiled shrimp and all the trimmings beginning at 5:00 p.m. The beverage bar will also open at that time.

 At 6:30 p.m. the serious eating begins. Chef Charlie Norton's "famous, no-man-left-hungry" ribeye steaks will take up a goodly portion of the dinner plate, leaving just enough room for the salad, potato and rolls. Don't forget to save room for Sister's "almost equally famous" banana pudding.

The Centennial Building will remove the threat of inclement weather impacting the evening and provide the backdrop of the historic building, erected in recognition of the signing site of Florida's First Constitution.

At 7:30 p.m., it's time to let a few notches out of your belt and get ready for the real excitement.

Over $20,000 worth of contributions and prizes will be distributed to the guests through live auctions and raffles. A few of the items offered will include over 24 shotguns, hunting rifles and pistols, along with numerous other outdoor products. There will also be items available for women and children. This will mark the third year of the $8,000 cash drawing held during the event. The lucky winner could win up to $8,000 if his ticket is drawn last from the box, but each ticket holder will have a one in 25 chance of at least doubling their money.

Tickets for the event are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. They can be purchased at Hannon Insurance and Ramsey's Printing and Office Products in Port St. Joe and from any Lions Club member. Additional information or ticket purchases can be made by calling 227-1133, 227-7767 or 527-1338.

 The real winners at this year's banquet will be the beneficiaries of the community service projects supported by the Lions Club. Nearly $15,000 was raised at 2011's banquet for community service programs in the panhandle.