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Lady Antebellum helps local charter school build classrooms | Community Spirit

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Lady Antebellum helps local charter school build classrooms
Lady Antebellum helps local charter school build classrooms

Plant City, FL -- A nice, new electric guitar retails for $300 to $500.

But what if the guitar body has been custom-carved into the shape of a shiny red strawberry?  What if this same guitar was autographed by the high-flying country trio, Lady Antebellum?  What if 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.

The Florida nonprofit, which operates childcare centers for the rural poor, placed the autographed strawberry guitar for auction on eBay Thursday, May 5.

The guitar’s eBay item number is 330561022401. The auction will end at 10 p.m. on May 15.

“I know people who are willing to pay $3,000 for the autographed guitar right now,” Gary Wishnatzki, an RCMA board member and one of Florida’s leading strawberry growers said in a release. “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. 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. Facing an empty amphitheater on a sunlit Sunday afternoon, Haywood paced and strummed. That night, during an encore version of "Our Kind of Love", he played it for the audience.

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

Not far from Plant City, RCMA operates a charter school with 200 students in Wimauma.

RCMA is raising money to expand the school from elementary-only grades into middle-school grades. Proceeds from the strawberry guitar auction will help pay for construction of new classrooms.

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