CLARKS SUMMIT — Friends say Barry Kaplan always seems to be up to something good, whether it’s sponsoring a community event, chairing an Abington Business and Professional Association (ABPA) committee or raising money through his business, Everything Natural, for one local non-profit or another.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Glenn Oak Country Club, things will be no different, although the spotlight will be a little brighter than the local businessman is used to. The ABPA will host an event to raise money and share some laughs — at Kaplan’s expense.
The Barry Kaplan Roast will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., also featuring open bar. Seating for the black tie optional event is limited to 200 and tickets are pre-sale only. They can be purchased online at theabingtons.org.
Event co-chair Diane Calabro said the event was conceived out of a need for a new fundraiser after the organization’s previous annual Men In Black event was phased out. When the idea of a “roast” was introduced, it was clear Kaplan was the perfect candidate.
“Barry is so generous to the area here,” Calabro said. “He’s a team player. He’s community-oriented.”
She said the event will include dinner, several “roasters,” featuring Frank Santoriello as head roastmaster and “all kinds of surprises.”
“It’s just a fun night,” she said, later adding, “It’s a tribute to Barry, a compliment to be ‘roasted.’”
Co-chair Ellen Yuscavage agrees.
“He’s a good-natured human being,” she said of Kaplan. “He will do anything for anybody, he goes above and beyond, he’s got a quirky sense of humor. He’s a person who is out in the public eye a lot, but doesn’t garner that attention. …He’s really good at taking the bad in life and turning it around into a positive.”
Kaplan, although honored, isn’t quite sure what to make of the ordeal.
“I’m somewhere between being thrilled and in a panic,” he said, laughing. “It is an honor, and I’m flattered that they thought I was worth roasting, but at the same time, it’s like, really? This is weird. …I’m more of a doer, and I’m not shy, I don’t mind public speaking and being out in front of whatever, but I’m not usually the focus. That is a weird spot for me.”
But the “worthy cause” of the Abington Business and Professional Association makes it worth the bundled nerves.
“That’s why when I was asked, I didn’t event hesitate — I said yes,” Kaplan said. “The organization does so much good in the community.”
He explained the ABPA not only hosts community events, such as the Festival of Ice and Fall Fun Days, but it also supports other area organizations and projects, such as the Borough of Clarks Summit’s tree lighting, local parades, the Rotary Club of the Abingtons’ annual fireworks display and more.
“It’ll be funny,” Kaplan said. “It’s going to be a lot of laughs, and so I’m really looking forward to an evening full of laughter. And yeah, I’ll be the butt of many a joke, but I’m a big boy — I can take it. They promised me they’ll be kind, if I can believe them.”