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Hunt for deals at annual Island Senior Center Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 21

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

Every year, members of the Island Senior Center, Inc. get excited for their annual Holiday Bazaar to get underway. For the members it’s like Christmas – just a month early.

The Island Seniors will hold their annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at The Senior Center, located at the corner of Library Way and Palm Ridge Road.

During the annual fundraiser, tables filled with crafts, artwork, plants and gently used household items will be for sale, said Debra Butler, president of the Island Seniors.

“It’s something the members look forward to all year,” Butler said.

It’s a community draw as well. Last year 800 people showed up to score deals and have fun at the annual bazaar. Butler said.

The “Trash & Treasures” one-day-only sale will provide fertile grounds for bargain hunters.

There will be a $5 raffle for a watercolor painting created by local artist Bea Pappas.

Refreshments will also be available for sale. In addition, craft and artistic items will be displayed for purchase, according to a press report.

Anyone interested in renting a table to present their items for sale may sign up at The Senior Center. The cost for a full table is $20 for Island Seniors, Inc. members and $25 for non-members. For a half table, members pay $10 and non-members pay $12.50. For more information, call Carole Anne Fallon at 395-2115.

The money raised from the Holiday Bazaar will help subsidize senior programs at the center, including buses used to transport members taking day trips. Last year the Island Senior Center raised $1,800 – mostly from the “Trash & Treasures” portion of the bazaar, Butler said.

The Island Seniors have been holding the bazaar for 15 years. The event is almost as old as the Island Senior Center itself which began its program in 1991. The Island Senior Center, Inc. is operated under the City of Sanibel’s Recreation Department. Sandi McDougal who is the administrator for the program and oversees the day-to-day operations said the Island Senior Center was started by several seniors who wanted to have a place to play cards and do things together.

In 1994 the City gave the seniors the old library located across from Wachovia Bank at 2401 Library Way. Before that the founding members rented space at the Sanibel Community House. Now there are about 250 year round members and several hundred more seasonal ones, McDougal said.

Island Seniors have the opportunity to participate in programs throughout the year including the Coping with Life Series held every Friday during season and Summer Cinema Therapy on Fridays during the summer.

Kayaking trips and day trips around Southwest Florida are popular events at the Center. Though the program is geared for folks over 50, people of many different ages join.

Members are committed to creating a lively, engaging center to enjoy leisure and social activities. “People who come to our Senior Center are so surprised,” McDougal said. “It’s like no other senior center.” Rocking chairs and Bingo do not rule here.

“We’re not a center for the frail,” said Lois Allen, one of the founding members. In fact aerobics and kayaking are some of the more rigorous and fun activities enjoyed by the members.

But with so many programs, members want to make fees associated with them affordable to all, McDougal said. And since the City does not pay for the Center, all programs must be paid for by Island Senior Center funds. Fundraisers, such as the Annual Holiday Bazaar, keep the program afloat.