Flagler County, FL – Ushering in the Christmas holiday with America’s favorite family, the Flagler County Education Foundation celebrated the 11th annual Josh Crews Writing Project fundraiser with a Griswold Family Christmas and Drive-In Movie night on Friday evening.

Erecting a tent at the Epic Theaters in Palm Coast, guests came dressed in their Griswold Family finest enjoying dinner, drinks and the hap-hap-happiest Christmas event of the season.

Joe Rizzo, director of the Flagler County Education Foundation, and co-founder of the annual fundraising event shucked suit and tie formal role for the night, coming with wife Teresa as the theme’s most iconic couple, Clark and Ellen Griswold.

“The theme is a little different this year. In year’s past it’s always themed after a book and this year with the uncertainty of COVID, when we started planning it we wanted to give people an option to be safe so, we did a drive-in movie based on the movie ‘Christmas Vacation’, so we have a private party on one side of the deal and an option for people to be socially distanced and safe on the other side of the parking lot. They’re watching the movie and we’re celebrating the fact that COVID has died down in Flagler County,” said Rizzo, impressed by the quality and creativity of the costumes.

“Absolutely. I think Judge Distler wins, though,” he said with a chuckle.

The entire cast of characters made an appearance from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, with Flagler County Judge Melissa Distler as Aunt Bethany and husband John Distler as the cigar smoking Lewis, plenty of Cousin Eddies running around, and a enough festive attire to put anyone is the holiday spirit.

Created as a way to honor Josh Crews, a lifelong friend of Rizzo and Flagler Beach shop owner Carla Cline, after his passing in a car accident in 2010 at the age of 34. Josh’s brother Adam sees the annual event as a way to carry on his brother’s legacy and passion for writing by inspiring the next generation through the Josh Crews Writing Project, and publishing young authors in Flagler County school district.

“This event’s amazing. It’s done awesome things for the kids as far as writing and the kids going further with what they can do,” said Crews. “It’s just raising a lot of money and it’s good for the community and really good for the kids and the school system. We really enjoy it and want to keep it going.”

Raising $30,000 during the evening’s fundraiser and silent auction, Rizzo credits the entire community for making great strides in education happen year after year.

“I think it’s important to remind people that it really does take a village to raise a kid and the way these people come together and support education in Flagler County, that is why we continue to improve our school system and it’s people like this that understand the importance of education and that’s priceless,” said Rizzo.

For more information on the Flagler County Education Foundation, visit here.

See the full gallery of photos here.



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