Two DeLand business owners will go head-to-head in a friendly competition to raise money for charitable causes, and to be crowned Grand Marshal of this year’s Wild Wild West Charity Event.

The Junior Service League, which puts on the Wild Wild West fundraising event, invites two DeLand locals each year to face off in the name of fundraising. Local business owners Harper Hill, of Harper Hill Allstate Insurance, and Matthew Maniscalco, of Page Insurance Agency, are competing to head up this year’s event, in its 17th year. 

“Wild Wild West is one of our largest fundraisers of the year,” JSL President Barbara Purvis said. “Each year, two Grand Marshal candidates are selected, and they spend the summer competing to see who can raise the most money. Every dollar they raise is a vote for their candidacy, and the winner will be this year’s Grand Marshal.” 

“Both candidates are really enthusiastic and competitive, so it’s going to be a close race!” she added.

All proceeds from the event, including Grand Marshal earnings, fund JSL projects and grants in the coming year. 

Both Hill and Maniscalco have hit the ground running with innovative fundraising. 

Hill’s team planned a private cocktail event at Hill's home, as well as an evening nine-hole golf tournament at Victoria Park. 

Maniscalco’s team hosted a yard sale, as well as creating a small-business video spotlight feature on Facebook. Many of the featured businesses have been offering specials, with a percentage of proceeds benefiting JSL. 

Maniscalco also threw an end-of-summer bash at City Limits Taproom. Guests enjoyed a stand-up comedian, live music, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle. 

The two candidates are thinking outside the box when it comes to new ways to get donors involved. 

Hill said he is proud to support JSL and other causes in the DeLand community. 

“I've always promised my team at Allstate that we will be the most community-involved insurance agency in town; this was just another way to prove it,” Hill said. “I also know JSL does some amazing things in and for our community, similar to my involvement in Rotary.”

Last year’s JSL fundraisers, Wild Wild West and the Birdies and Bogies Golf Tournament, allowed JSL to give back more than $50,000 to women and children in the DeLand community. League members also contributed more than 5,100 hours in service to the community.

Maniscalco said he was also honored to raise money for JSL. 

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you put your heart and soul into something,” he said. “People really come together to support you when you lead with that heart and soul. I don’t see this as a campaign, I see this as an opportunity for two individuals to do something very special for the place we call home.”

Hill and Maniscalco have until Sept. 7, the day of the event, to continue raising money. The big winner will be revealed live at the event. 

To donate to the candidates or buy tickets to the event, please visit www.jslofdeland.org

This year's Wild Wild West Charity Event takes place 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in the Tommy Lawrence Arena, at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, 3150 E. New York Ave., DeLand.

— Weeks is recording secretary of the Junior Service League of DeLand for the 2019-2020 year. A DeLand native, she and her husband, Wade, are raising a family of three boys in DeLand, which she calls “our amazing town.”

WHO WILL BE GRAND MARSHAL?