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NAPLES — Adria Starkey didn’t have a goal in mind when she started the day.
Instead, Starkey, one of this year’s chairwomen, said she just wanted to raise enough money to cover all of the requests the Naples Children & Education Foundation is expected to get in a year.
She may get her wish. The 14th Naples Winter Wine Festival raised $13.5 million Saturday.
“I am over the moon,” she said.
The 2014 event ranks in the top three festivals since 2001. In 2006, the festival raised about $13.6 million; the 2007 event raised more than $15 million for children’s charities in Southwest Florida.
Starkey said the final numbers show the economy is bouncing back, despite a rough week in the stock market. She said “last year was a big year” for festival-goers, and one rocky week wasn’t going to stop them from raising their paddles.
“A couple of crazy days aren’t going to change things,” she said. “They were here to support (the children).”
Anne Welsh McNulty, who co-chaired the event with Starkey and Linda Richards Malone, said the final tally shows donors are feeling good about the future.
“I think it means people are optimistic,” she said.
The event has raised $123.5 million since 2001.