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Weekend Swamp Fest to feature motorcycle fun

By Staff | May 27, 2009

The Shell Factory is hosting a motorcycle rally Friday-Sunday, full of bike fun, music, food, prizes and safety awareness at the Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers.
The festival will feature a bike contest and a poker run. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Numerous vendors will be on hand displaying bike paraphernalia, with bike games and other activities.
Music will also be part of the fun.
“We have live bands, one Saturday and one Sunday,” said Donna Ellis, marketing manager for the Shell Factory.
On Saturday, The Treetop Flyers will start at 1 p.m., and Capt. Jack and the Black Pearls will rock from noon-3 p.m. Sunday.
“Treetop Flyers are classic southern rock and Capt. Jack is classic rock,” said Ellis.
The Swamp Fest event will start at 4 p.m. Friday and run though 4 p.m. Sunday. Gates will be open all day Friday before the event’s start, and the festival will run until 10 p.m. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Besides vendors, the Shell Factory will offer an All You Can Eat Fish Fry Friday, a Prime Rib Saturday special and a Bloody Mary Breakfast Sunday from 9-11 a.m.
Motorcycle safety advocate organization ABATE of Southwest Florida is one of the participants as May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. ABATE devotes much of its time to charitable work along with its regular mission of promoting motorcycle safety.
“The acronym ABATE stands for American Bikers Aimed Toward Education,” said ABATE of Florida Inc. President Frank M. Kennedy Sr. “With the onset of the dramatic increase in motorcycle riders, it’s imperative that we bring our Motorcycle Safety Awareness Program to all the people in the tricounty area.”
He also noted that his group is the only motorcycle rights organization in the state.
“ABATE is a great cause,” said Ellis. “It is well known for its commitment as a safety, educational, charitable and advocacy motorcyclist organization. Part of the funds raised from the event will benefit the Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation, which supplies funds to transport school field trips to the nature park in trying economic times. A portion will also benefit ABATE.”
ABATE will have a safety booth and promote the Motorcycle Safety Awareness Program program. It will also run the Poker Run that will be held Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. with the last bike coming in at 3 p.m. The run proceeds will benefit the local ABATE chapter with all other proceeds benefiting The Nature Park Foundation.
Among the vendors will be Harley-Davidson/Buell of Fort Myers.
“We are going to support Motorcycle Safety Month and ABATE,” said Jennifer Ferraro, hospitality director for the local Harley-Davidson.
“I’ll be doing biker games on Saturday, including a Slow Bike Crawl,” she said. “That’s basically two bikes who compete to go the distance at the slowest speed they can. We’ll also do a water balloon toss.”
Stuffed bears will also be collected as donations for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department for children in trauma situations.
“There’s a program that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has had in place for children in trauma situations, and the bears that are being collected now at the Shell Factory to be donated to that fund,” said Ellis.
“ABATE does this every year,” said Kennedy of the bear drive. “Sheriff’s deputies keep the bears in the trunks of their cars to give out to those children in trauma situations such as domestic violence on the spot.”
For more information on the Swamp Fest event, contact Ellis at 995-2141, ext. 145, or donna@shellfactory.com.
For more information on ABATE, e-mail Kennedy at swchief2000@yahoo.com.
The Shell Factory & Nature Park is located at 2787 North Tamiami Trail in North Fort Myers.