Redlands Christian Migrant Assn. hopes Lady Antebellum’s touch is magic

FELLSMERE – Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), a Florida nonprofit that operates childcare centers for the rural poor, placed is hoping for the magic touch with a very unique guitar placed for bid on eBay.

A nice, new electric guitar retails for $300 to $500, but this one is even more special.  The guitar body has been custom-carved into the shape of a shiny red strawberry, and has been autographed by the high-flying country trio, Lady Antebellum.

Lady Antebellum played the strawberry guitar in concert a month after winning five Grammy awards.  How much can this guitar be worth? Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) plans to find out.

RCMA placed the autographed strawberry guitar for auction on eBay Thursday, May 5 and the auction will end at 10 p.m. Sunday, May 15. The guitar’s eBay item number is 330561022401.

“I know people who are willing to pay $3,000 for the autographed guitar right now,” said Gary Wishnatzki, an RCMA board member and one of Florida’s leading strawberry growers. “But I think we can get considerably more.”

The guitar auction was Wishnatzki’s idea. His company, Wish Farms, sponsors the largest concert stage at the annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL. Wishnatzki ordered the guitar in December 2010 from Musical Harvest, a Salinas, Calif. company that makes custom designs.

When Lady Antebellum arrived to perform on March 13, Strawberry Festival General Manager Paul Davis asked the group’s members – Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood – to   autograph Wishnatzki’s strawberry guitar.

Haywood decided to try it out and that night, during an encore version of Our Kind of Love, he played it for the audience.

RCMA has long been a favorite charity in Florida farm communities; its childcare centers prepare the children of migrant farm workers and other low-income families to succeed in public schools.

“You can add me to the huge list of Lady Antebellum fans,” said Barbara Mainster, RCMA’s Executive Director. “They play music from the heart, and they have a big heart for needy kids.”


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