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Island gets ready to Celebrate Sanibel! beginning Sunday, Nov. 8

By Staff | Nov 5, 2009

Wildlife, pristine beaches and an environment unfettered by fast food joints and high rise buildings is what makes Sanibel Sanibel.

But keeping the island’s natural beauty and charm did not and does not come easy.

In order to reflect the hard work and dedication put into incorporating Sanibel as well as the continued efforts to keep it as natural as possible, several community leaders decided to form Celebrate Sanibel!

The week-long event displays many of the groups and agencies that contribute to Sanibel’s naturesque way of life.

The Second Annual Celebrate Sanibel! kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8, with free festivities and a Club Expo at the Sanibel Community House and culminates Friday, Nov. 13, with a Historic Beach Buffet at Thistle Lodge, according to a press report.

In between, various non-profit island organizations and sites will host special talks, open houses, tours, and other activities. The week’s schedule is included below. For more information visit www.CelebrateSanibel.com or email CelebrateSanibel@zebis.com.

Throughout the week, residents and visitors will be able to learn about what agencies such as the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation do to preserve and maintain the environment.

During the week “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge will be offering a free guided tram tour, CROW will be hosting an Open House with guided tours of the new Healing Winds Visitor Education Center and on Friday, Nov. 13 from 12-2 p.m. the Thistle Lodge will be offering an Historic Beach Buffet and Turtle-Trails-to-Treasure Raffle Drawing. Cost is $14.95 for the buffet.

Alex Werner, president of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, and co-coordinator for Celebrate Sanibel! said the event is a good way for people to learn about how the island’s way of life is maintained and what needs to be done for its future.

Werner said a speech by former CIA director and Sanibel May Porter Goss at Committee of the Islands (COTI) meeting a few years ago triggered the event. He told everyone “We should be forever vigilant to keep the island a treasure.”

Those words resonated with Werner, former COTI president John Harries and former COTI board member Linda Kramer. They wanted to share the importance of the City become incorporated in 1974 and creating a land plan.

Kramer, Werner and Sanibel Library director Margaret Mohundro decided to form a steering committee and do something to remind the islander how valuable their way of life is.

“We want to keep the islands according to the land plan,” Werner said. “That’s our Bible.”

Linda Kramer encourages residents to come out and enjoy the festivities and learn about the island’s past, present and future. Getting incorporated represents Sanibel’s past. In the present numerous additions to enhance life have come about, including the Causeway and State-of-the art Rec Center, Kramer said.

As far as the future goes water quality is an issue being looked at by community leaders and non-profit agencies.

Jimmy Jordan, director of planning for the City, will be speaking about Sanibel on Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Kickoff at Sanibel Community House.

“Its our duty to maintain it and protect what was done,” Jordan said. “Its kind of nice to see that our forefathers had enough foresight to plan for the future.”

Jordan said, there is however, a need to be working on water quality.

The City will be also be looking towards redevelopment issues to around the first of the year, Jordan said.

Jordan and many of his ancestors grew up on Sanibel. He remembers the untouched beauty of the beaches on a less populated island. The fact that the beaches are still devoid of tourist spots and high rise condos speaks measures about the city’s efforts to keep Sanibel Sanibel.

“It’s time for people to come together new and existing residents and celebrate a common interest,” Jordan said.

With the variety of activities and events there should be something to fit in most people’s schedules.

“We hope everybody will attend the kickoff and as many events as they can,” Kramer said.