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Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club to hold 27th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair

By Staff | Mar 19, 2010

With over 130 artists and artisans expected to display and sell items such as paintings, photographs, sculptures and jewelry, the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club is hoping to match – or surpass – the total raised last year at its annual Arts & Crafts Fair.

Now in its 27th year, the fair will take place Friday and Saturday, March 26-27 at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. The fair runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

Keeping with it’s strong tradition of being one of the Island’s most attended fundraisers, the Lions Club Arts & Crafts Fair figures to be a fun event, coinciding with the fundraising efforts to support many different charities and programs.

There will be live music featuring Harry and the Dixie Strollers, a Fabulous Food Court and an Incredible Raffle with many jewelry items from Lily & Co.

The event regularly draws approximately 4,000-5,000 people, said Bill Sadd, chairman of the Arts & Crafts Fair.

There is a requested donation of $4 with free admission for children 12 and under.

“It’s a well-established event,” said Jeremy Kane, public relations director for the Lions Club, “but along with the paintings, photographs and sculptures on display, there will be music, a food court and a raffle. The raffle should be a real draw and a bit of excitement for those attending.”

Last year, the hard work and effort that went into the event helped raise over $34,000.

The Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club, which formed in 1967, has been dedicated to helping the less fortunate.

The Lions Scholarship Program funds scholarships for children of Island residents and Island workers, in addition to helping handicap students at Edison State College.

Among the primary areas of focus for the Lions Club is helping the visually impaired.

“The biggest thing we do has to do with eyesight,” Sadd said. “That’s an international goal and we do that locally. We have local eyesight screenings, and diabetes and hearing screenings on Sanibel.”

The Lion’s Club fundraising events have helped raise approximately $3,000 annually to the Southeastern Guide Dogs to help prepare a successful guide dog team.

Sanibel resident and Lion’s Club member Tom Gray has benefited from the funding.

Gray is a former auto worker from Detroit, who began losing his sight at age 36 due to Stargt’s Macular Distrophy, which is known as the dry version of macular degeneration. After five years of struggling with his eyesight, Gray realized he needed the help of a guide dog.

The cost of preparing a successful guide dog team ranges from $40,000 to $60,000.

Gray attended and completed the training, which took a month, and was paired with his new companion, Jackson. The two have developed an important bond of trust, love and devotion over the past three years.

“He’s a good boy,” Gray said of Jackson, a crossbreed between a golden and labrador retriever known as a goldador. “He takes me where I need to go. “He’s saved my life several times, keeping me out of traffic.”

“I’m really grateful for the Lions Club for the help they’ve given me,” Gray added. “They’re good.”