Calendar of Events


During the 2012-2013 Rotary year, the club raised charitable dollars by attending special "Rotary Nights" at the Alhambra Dinner Theater.  

Charity Dollars awarded:
Hands On Jacksonville
YMCA Of Florida's First Coast
Children's Home Society
Pine Castle
Episcopal Children's Services

Also funded this year...EDDY Award, RYLA, Speech Scholarships, and our on-going water project.

Total charity funds awarded this Rotary year:  $32,000.  

Charity Press Archives: 
South Jax Rotary Gives $42,000 to Charity
Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney Assists South Jacksonville Rotary
Terry Parker Culinary Arts Wins Gingerbread Award
Gingerbread House Winners
Rotary Raises $50,000 With Gingerbread

Club Charity Project 2003-2011

For eight years, the club hosted Jacksonville's premier holiday exhibit, the Rotary Gingerbread House Extravaganza.  This 30 day event showcased some of the most beautiful and intricate Gingerbread houses in the nation.  Not only were they visually attractive, but they were large, averaging 4' x 4' in size.

The Board of Directors, led by President Odette Struys, suspended this project August 2011.

Read and Print Our Digital 'Cookie Sheet' Event Magazine

Rotary Gingerbread House Extravaganza Website


The Rotary Gingerbread Extravaganza was the flagship charity fundraiser for the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville from 2003 until August 2011.  In the last four years, additional area Rotary clubs have joined in to make this one of the top Rotary fundraisers in North Florida.  Since it was established, this unique fundraiser has raised nearly $750,000 dollars and has aided the Habijax Foundation to build three new houses for those in need.  In addition,  Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville, has received the majority of these funds and has utilized it to add additional children's rooms and much-needed equipment.

Joe Miller (L) and P.P. George Linville
Club member, Joseph Miller, a professionally trained culinary arts chef, who had a history of baking giant event cakes, wedding cakes, and gingerbread houses, approached the club's Board of Directors and described his idea.  When asked about its start, Joe said,"George Linville told me to take this idea to the Board. Otherwise, Gingerbread may have never happened." President Hobard Joost and Charity Fundraising Chair Gary Wilkinson (Club President  2004-2005) took a leap of faith and along with the Board of Directors approved this project.  Since its creation, Joe has created two other successful versions of the Gingerbread Extravaganza for the Rotary Club of Daytona and the Rotary Club of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The original charter sponsors who were responsible for its kickoff and immediate success were William and Barbara Harrell  (Coastal Construction Products, Inc.), W.W.Gay Mechanical Contractors, Firehouse Subs, and America Online.  Soon after the first year,  Wayne and Delores Weaver (Owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars) agreed to sponsor this fundraiser.

The first house was built by Gene Wilson, daughter-in-law of Past Rotary District Governor Wilson Smith.  This original house is still on display during the event, nine years later.  The first winning house was designed to look like a part of the Wizard of Oz movie set and was constructed by the architecture firm of R. Dean Scott.  Dean not only built the first winning house but took Joe's vision for a 'World of Gingerbread,' and designed the original Gingerbread Village.  Joe said,"I attribute Dean's vision and design for the outstanding success that first year." Dean Scott served as the club's President from 2010-2011.

Also during the first year, Firehouse Subs (then in its infancy and now with 500 stores) assisted the club in building the "Largest Gingerbread Man Cookie in the World."  At 12 ft. tall, this record-setting gingerbread cookie was beaten soon thereafter by one built in Canada.  But, for those few short months, its held the world record.

Over the years, 2011 Club President Odette Struys built three of the outstanding crowd pleasers including the Flintstone House, Winnie the Pooh house, and most recently a big drop of blood.  Each of these houses required nearly $1000 in supplies and three months to create.

No other Rotary charity project in the history of Jacksonville Florida's Rotary clubs, has received more press, more attention, touched more people, or has provided more Rotary awareness to the community.

2006 Replica of Avenues Mall
Size: 4' x 6'
Distribution of Funds

The donations, sponsorship funds, and attendance fees are collected until the Gingerbread event is completed.   Approximately 95% of all funds are distributed to charities or needy individuals.  The two largest recipients are the Ronald McDonald House and the Jacksonville Historical Society.  A small percentage is distributed to the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville fund which is use for $1000 to $2000 selected recipients.  Nearly all funds are distributed with 90 days after the event.

From 1987 until 2003, the club would hold an annual auction for fundraising purposes.  Members were asked to donate funds or items for the auction.  Around April of each year, the auction would be held.