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Jason Kelce poses for a selfie with his fans during an autism awareness fundraiser in 2023 at O'Donnell's Pour House in Sea Isle City.

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI

Sea Isle City’s most famous part-time bartender will be returning this summer to pour some drinks, entertain his fans and raise money for autism awareness.

For the fourth year in a row, the now-retired Jason Kelce will appear at the Ocean Drive bar and sister property O’Donnell’s Pour House on Landis Avenue to play the role of celebrity bartender while headlining a fundraiser that benefits the Eagles Autism Foundation.

Based on the turnout in previous years, hundreds of fans are expected to pack the Pour House’s outdoor Paddy’s Green dining area and the Sandbar and Grill next door at the Ocean Drive for Kelce’s appearance on Wednesday, June 26.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. at the Ocean Drive and Pour House. The event runs through 8 p.m. Tickets will be $10 each and available at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Eagles Autism Foundation.

A limited number of VIP tickets will be sold by the foundation for photos with Kelce and early entry to the event starting at 3 p.m.

Kelce, the Eagles All-Pro and Pro-Bowl center, announced his retirement from the NFL in March to close out a 13-year career. The national media reported in April that he will join “Monday Night Countdown,” the pregame show for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Kelce and his wife, Kylie, own a summer vacation home in Sea Isle. Kelce is the town’s most famous part-time bartender. He will be serving drinks again on June 26 in his role as celebrity bartender during the fundraiser.

The event not only benefits the Eagles Autism Foundation, but also creates an economic boost for Sea Isle’s downtown business district by drawing customers to the bars, restaurants and retail shops.

“It’s such a big event. The whole town loves it,” said Kathy Larkin, general manager of the Ocean Drive and O’Donnell’s Pour House. “Everyone wants to be a part of it. It’s really a great thing for the whole town, not just us.”

Larkin said she has people calling her for months wanting to know when the fundraising event will be held so that they can schedule their vacations at the same time in Sea Isle.

The event has become increasingly popular because Kelce brings along some of the current and former Eagles. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Landon Dickerson, Dallas Goedert, Jake Elliot, Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans were among the current and former players who showed up in 2023.

Also stopping by in 2023 was Travis Kelce, Jason’s brother and All-Pro and Pro-Bowl tight end with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Travis Kelce has been in the national and international spotlight in recent months because of his relationship with pop music superstar Taylor Swift.

The line of fans waiting to enter the 2023 fundraiser at O’Donnell’s Pour House wraps around the block.

Larkin said current and former Eagles are expected to take part in the fundraiser on June 26, but she is not yet sure which ones. She also didn’t know whether Travis Kelce would be there.

“They are bringing even more guys. They said a bunch of guys from last year are coming back and some will be new guys,” Larkin said of this year’s lineup of current and former players.

Larkin was among a group of local officials who were part of a planning meeting Tuesday with Kylie Kelce and Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Eagles Autism Foundation.

Other related events are expected in Sea Isle the same weekend as the Eagles Autism Foundation fundraiser. Details will be announced later.

According to media reports, last year’s event in Sea Isle raised more than $375,000 for the foundation. Altogether, the foundation’s Eagles Autism Challenge has raised more than $25 million in six years for autism research and care programs, according to the organization’s website.

Kelce was elated last year that so many fans turned out in Sea Isle to help him raise money for his “Team 62” charity, which is part of the Eagles Autism Challenge.

“It’s been incredible. The last three years have been a whirlwind,” Kelce said in an interview with SeaIsleNews.com during the 2023 event. “This community supports any type of charitable benefit like no other. Considering my first time ever stepping foot in Sea Isle, I found it’s a very community-driven island and it’s a very family-driven island.”

Store manager Anthony Edwardi and Mike’s Seafood owner Mike Monichetti display a sign in the front window of the Sea Isle restaurant paying tribute to Jason Kelce after he announced his retirement.