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Thousands make Baileyfest bigger, better than ever

By Staff | Oct 27, 2009

The 24th annual Baileyfest, held on Sunday, Oct. 25, was attended by more people than ever before, making it the most successful Baileyfest in the long history of the event. All cash collected for charities on the day will be donated to Sanibel and Captiva non-profit organizations, many of which were present at Baileyfest with tables, displays, family activities and information.

“There was never a dull moment,” said Sam Bailey, who started Baileyfest in 1985 as a special thank you to the island community for their support over the years. “On behalf of the entire Bailey’s Center Merchants’ Association, I’d like to thank everyone who attended and made Baileyfest such a wonderful event.”

The Sanibel School fifth graders Matthew Lucker and Haley Keller were crowned as the Baileyfest 2009 King and Queen. The two students were chosen based on their essays titled, “What Sanibel Means To Me.” Last year’s winners, Zach Leonardi and Lauren Lockard, helped to pass on their titles.

Kevin Ruane, Vice Mayor of the City of Sanibel, and Judie Zimomra, City Manager, opened the event with Sam Bailey and Ken Kasten, BCMA president.

Stage performances included saxophone player Jennifer Valiquette, Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater, The Sanibel School Steel Drum Band, The Sanibel School Performing Arts Class and BIG Arts Chorus.

Ric Base, President, and Bridgit Stone-Budd, Director of Marketing from the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, emceed the program.

“A special thanks is owed to Ric and Bridgit,” said Kasten. “They helped us make this year’s Baileyfest fun and entertaining.”

Children were invited to the stage to participate in contests like hula hooping and making the scariest face. Adults who were born in 1928, 1935 and 1941 were given special prizes as well.

More than $2,500 worth of prizes were awarded to many lucky winners. Sanibel resident “Popop” Brown won the pumpkin carving contest. He received a freshly cooked turkey dinner from Bailey’s General Store. The two grand prize raffle winners were Maureen Valiquette and Marvin “Rookie” Bradley. Maureen Valiquette won a $500 jewelry set donated by Lily & Co. and Bradley won a $500 barbecque grill donated by Bailey’s. Forty-two other lucky winners received prizes from the 14 merchants in the BCMA.

Members of the BCMA include Bailey’s General Store, Bailey’s True Value Hardware, Biddles Bucket, The Grog Shop, Nick’s Frozen Yogurt, Hillgate Communications, Island Cleaners, Island Cinema, Lily & Co., Sanibel Barber Shop, Sanibel Beauty Salon, Sanibel Shell Automotive, Select Vacation Properties and The Video Scene.

The merchants of Bailey’s Center thank everyone who attended this year and made Baileyfest 2009 a tremendous success. They look forward to seeing everyone next year for the 25th annual Baileyfest.