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Saturday's Delray Bus Loop Builds on the City’s Spirit and History

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“We are frequently changing the route within Delray to keep it interesting and fresh,” says John Haley, coordinator of the Bus Loop. “The Delray Beach Bus Loop began in 2011 and has added much excitement for some of the more innovative fundraising events within the city.”

For the uninitiated, the Bus Loop is an event that partners a charitable entity with a number of bars and restaurants for an evening of fund-raising fun. Prepaid tickets cost $25 or $30 at the “door,” which is more like a registration, ticket-pickup table than an actual door – no matter, it’s a laughable fee if one does the loop successfully.

The basic idea for the loop involves a cadre of trolleys and deputized buses running in a “loop” through a predetermined map featuring a number of bars and restaurants that provide either a complimentary beverage or appetizer to the riders.

“For this upcoming bus loop, we are connecting the Delray downtown area with the new Delray Marketplace out west by Lyons Road and Atlantic Avenue,” says Haley. “The Delray Marketplace is a highly trendy and upscale restaurant/shopping mecca. Probably 80 percent of the bus loop attendees have never been to Delray Marketplace, so it serves a great purpose for all.”

But the bus loop is more than just a fun way of getting drinks and food while leisurely riding around town. It is a multilevel, community-building approach to creating an “involved” generation. While the loop is open to anyone who ponies up the fee, its target demographic is Broward’s young professionals. In this way, they are subliminally reinforcing the benefits of participating in charitable work (with the just rewards of food and drink), area restaurants and bars can gain new clientele, and institutions looking to foment the next line of private funding are making first contact with tomorrow’s movers and shakers.

And to top it all off, it’s a concise and fun way of taking a “vacation” approach to one’s neighborhood. With the majority of South Floridians accustomed to driving to their entertainment locations, this forces a renewed perspective to what’s available nearby. Haley adds, “The Bus Loop is a great opportunity for new restaurants and bars to gain exposure. Some of the newer East Delray venues on this upcoming bus loop include Smoke BBQ, Mastino Wood Fire Kitchen, Vintage Tap, and Hyatt Place.” These are nice additions to past places also featured in this round, like Apeiro, Bella Amici, Burt and Max's, Cabo Flats, Shula Burger, the Grind, Olive Tap, and Tap Global.

For this Bus Loop, the Delray Center for the Arts will be the charitable partner, receiving 100 percent of ticket sales.

“The Delray Center for the Arts has been part of the Delray Beach Bus Loop since the beginning when it was formerly known as Old School Square. Delray Center for the Arts was chosen as a charity recipient because it truly represents the City of Delray's spirit and history,” says Haley, reinforcing the Loop’s commitment to the neighborhood and community. They bring the same energy and chutzpah to their other successful jaunts in West Palm and Fort Lauderdale, so if you haven’t checked one out yet, Delray’s a great start.

The Delray Bus Loop benefitting the Delray Center for the Arts from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Advance tickets cost $25, $30 at the door. For rules, check-in information, volunteering opportunities, hotel deals, and tickets, call 954-574-6000, or visit busloop.org.

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