Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sanibel Event Marks 30th Year:

It isn't often that visitors to Sanibel Island--- as well as residents--- can come together to enjoy a hallmark Sanibel fund-raiser and get a real taste of the Island at the same time.

In its 30th year, The Taste of the Islands will be held on November 13, once again delighting those who attend with a nice variety of Island restaurant fare. The food tasting will be held from 12:30 - 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park located at 2231 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island, Florida.

Set to the tune of live bands, local restaurants will descend on Sanibel Community Park with their most decadent delicacies and enter a friendly competition to earn top honors for their dish from a panel of esteemed judges and a welcoming crowd.

Over the past few decades, island restaurants have come together to put their dishes to the test in the food festival and competition. Many different food categories will be cooked up, sure to please any palate. A celebrity judge panel will decide which restaurant will win Taste of the Taste, while the People's Choice award will be chosen by attending appetites. Awards will be issued for other categories including Best Vegetarian, Best Appetizer, Best Meat, Best Seafood, Best Dessert, Best Take-out, and Best Booth Presentation. In a new a new twist this year, chefs will be challenged to incorporate one indigenous ingredient to test their culinary talent. While vying to satisfy discerning judges and hungry attendees, this event is also a great chance for local restaurants to reach a hungry audience and an opportunity to give to an island charity.

Nearly half of each restaurant's proceeds, 100% of admissions from the gate, gift store and raffle sale tents will be donated to CROW, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife: Saving Wildlife Through Compassion, Care and Education.

A very special offering will be the music provided by two bands, Marty Stokes and the Captiva Band as well as The Riverside Band.

Marty Stokes was originally raised on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, and appeases the musical enthusiast who enjoys great, solid rhythm and blues tunes. The Captiva Band is named after the island that is the home of Stokes' family since the late 1800s. A group of long-time friends and extremely talented musicians, The Captiva Band delivers the goods with tasteful grooves of both Stokes' originals and creative arrangements of well-known covers. Todd Haut on bass, Carv Clauson on drums, Jennifer Mazziotti on sax, Paul Brewer on keyboards, and Marty Stokes on guitar makes up the soul and "core" of this group of musical professionals. Vocalist Summer Kilgore will be joining the band for a special performance at CROW's 30th annual Taste of the Islands Festival.

The Riverside Band has been a Southwest Florida favorite since 2002. The band's members are experienced professionals with roots in New York, Detroit and the Caribbean, blending these influences into a unique musical sound. Riverside covers popular tunes in a varied repertoire of classic, world, and modern material with instrumental proficiency and lush vocal harmonies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sanibel Distinguished by Distinguished Performances

There are beaches galore in Florida and on the west coast of the USA.

Certainly Sanibel Island is one of the most natural beach destinations with a tropical sweep of land and sea as well as a cornucopia of wild life.

Those features alone keep Sanibel on the radar of vacationers seeking a unique respite from the real world.

But the diversity and quality of cultural entertainment found on this tiny barrier island also sets it apart.

Here's a sampling of what guests and residents can look forward to:

Beginning in mid November, there is a menu of classical musical selections in venues from movies to concert halls. Symphony performances, string concerts, and piano offerings dot the artistic landscape. Even first class opera can be viewed and heard in the series of opera in cinema presenting such classics as Tosca, Rigoletto and Don Giovanni well as some lesser known operas rarely presented in traditional houses.

Dance selections encompass ballet, acrobatics and contemporary.

But for Island residents and regulars, one of the most exciting and talked about offerings on Sanibel in high season is the renowned Winter Academy. The Winter Academy, as the name implies, is a series of lectures with subject areas covering a wide gamut of interests. Music, Psychology, Law and Religion are areas addressed in the academy. Not only is the academy intellectually stimulating, it will provide a jump start to the day as the special classes are all held in the mornings.

Just imagine the fun of an early walk, light breakfast and a brain tease that begins at 9 a.m.

But if you'd rather sleep in and hit the beach, there is plenty of stimulation to be found at night. To take a look at what's available, you might want to check out the Big Arts website for all the details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pre-Christmas Celebration on Sanibel Filled with Cheer

Christmas week is generally a popular time on Sanibel. Families enjoy the holiday----or avoid it---in balmy weather surrounded by birds and palms.

But Christmas week, because of its popularity, is priced as a high season week while the weeks preceding are still low season. High season, in general, is twice the price of low season.

In addition to favorable pricing on accommodations in earlier December, there is a special Sanibel celebration that truly provides the vacationer another view of the Island.

The Sanibel Luminary Festival is exactly what its name indicates...a time of light.

Luminary is always the first full weekend in December. This year, Sanibel's is December 2 and Captiva's is the 3rd. The fun starts at dusk and ends approximately 9:30pm.

Luminary is the traditional island thank you to their communities and kick-off to the Holidays. Periwinkle is lined with luminaria from Tarpon Bay to Causeway Boulevard (with more in Olde Sanibel), stores and shopping plazas along the way are decorated for the event and Santa (aboard a firetruck) can be found almost everywhere, along with lot of music and fun. Pretty much anything that can be decorated, is. The Community Church is a not-to-be-missed stop. Don't eat beforehand....most of the shops have food and drink set out and the selections are excellent.

The Trolley is running throughout the evening from scheduled stops. Driving that night is fun if you're of the mind set to just relax and enjoy. Yes, traffic is bumper-to-bumper at pretty much idle speed but there is so much to see, music to listen to and lots of good natured hollering between cars, folks on the path, etc.

If you're taking the Trolley, the easiest thing is just to park at Bailey's and hop on. The trolley is free.

A good attack plan for driving is to start at Bailey's and head down Periwinkle working your way towards the Lighthouse. Make the loop at Lighthouse Cafe and then head back doing the opposite side of the road. Stick to one side of the road at a time and this lets you make right turns all the way without missing anything. Give up any thoughts of a left turn now.

Captiva's Luminary is the next night, December 3rd this year. Its basically the same thing, except its all walking because everything is within the Village. It's easiest to park in McCarthy's Marina ($5 for all day).

The weather is quite beautiful in early December so plan your trip now and experience one of the best events of the year on Sanibel Island!