The Emerald Coast Foundation is gearing up for year 26 of "The Big One," the original Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run Aug. 8-12.

This 26-year-old event welcomes both power boats as well as smaller, family style boats. For $295, all boats can participate in all of the boat week events, receive the famous Poker Run soft sided cooler, official event T-shirts and receive a free weekend stay from the presenting sponsor, The IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi.

Participants will pick up their poker hands either on the power boat only "Gulf to Gulf Run" on Aug 10 or in the all boat run Aug 11. They will then play their poker hand at the Emerald Coast Convention Center Saturday night at the big poker party, with all you can eat and drink, music and entertainment, and a chance to win either a Harley Davidson motorcycle donated by Emerald Coast Harley Davidson or a Jet Ski donated by KM Motorsports.

This is the original event, not to be confused with the EC Powerboat Poker Run the following week, a new event for powerboats only, hosted by the for-profit Florida Powerboat Club.

Participants can register online in advance at www.emeraldcoastpokerrun.com. A locals discount of $100 is offered until Aug. 1 by entering the code BIG18LOC. Participants can also register in person at The Island hotel on Okaloosa Island (formerly the Ramada) on Aug. 9, and 10. All boats must have proof of insurance and captains must attend one of five safety meetings.

This event is produced each year by the Emerald Coast Foundation, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to providing funds for local children's charities. Having raised more than $2.5 million in the last 26 years, the foundation supports Children in Crisis, The Eleanor Johnson Foundation, All Sports, and The Arc of the Emerald Coast.

Anyone interested in volunteering can email ecfoundationfl@gmail.com.

For more information about the Emerald Coast Foundation, call 850-243-3800. Additional information can be found at www.emeraldcoastpokerrun.com.