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Fireworks show saved by generous islanders

By Staff | Jun 23, 2010

Pictured from left, Director of Finance Sylvia Edwards and City Councilman Jim Jennings accept a check for $15,000 from Sharon Michie and Judy Michie of Cottages To Castles.

It didn’t quite reach the 11th hour, but the chances for a traditional fireworks display in the skies above Sanibel were hanging by a thread. So when news that the annual Independence Day showcase was in serious jeopardy, Sharon Michie sprung into action.

The proprietor of Cottages To Castles, Michie began making phone calls shortly after the last City Council meeting — on June 1 —after councilman Jim Jennings alerted the public that the city’s fireworks display was still searching for private funding. After being cut from the 2009 budget, a local business stepped forward last year and the display went on as usual.

But only a couple of weeks ago, no similar donations had been collected to fund this year’s display.

Within days of Michie’s call to action, more than $10,000 — enough to secure a contract with Zambelli Fireworks — had been collected from various sources: friends of Michie’s, fellow Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce members as well as people around town who had heard of the city’s dilemma.

"You can’t have a Fourth of July without fireworks," she said.

On Friday, Sharon and Judy Michie presented a check to the City of Sanibel — represented by Jennings and Finance Director Sylvia Edwards — in the amount of $15,000 to cover the costs of this year’s Independence Day fireworks’ display. The amount includes $12,500 to Zambelli for a 12-minute fireworks presentation and $2,500 for the city’s Department of Public Works.

However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Michie had collected a total of $17,142.

"And counting!" she added, noting that the extra money collected could expand the showcase to a full 20-minute presentation. Any funds left over will be put towards next year’s fireworks display.

"This just reaffirms the fact that we all live in a great community," Michie said. "This has really been a wonderful surprise. Hopefully, this will inspire more people to get involved with things. You cannot fail if you at least try."


Sanibel’s annual Independence Day fireworks display will begin at dusk, Sunday, July 4. The fireworks are launched from the north end terminus of Bailey Road. Traditionally, the best viewing of the fireworks display is from the bayside of Sanibel and from any of the Sanibel Causeway Islands.


In addition to the fireworks display, the city has issued the following special event permits for the holiday weekend:

Saturday, July 3rd


9:30 a.m. — Independence Day Parade (Parade route begins at Island Inn Road to Tarpon Bay Road to Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road). Contact Trish Phillips at 246-2981 for additional information.


10:30 a.m. — Bailey’s Shopping Center (2477 Periwinkle Way) Fourh of July Backyard BBQ,

10:30 a.m. — Jerry’s Shopping Center ( 1700 Periwinkle Way) Independence Day Festival


Noon — Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club’s 31st Annual Fourth of July Road Rally starts and ends at Timbers Restaurant (703 Tarpon Bay Road) Contact Richard McCurry at 292-4631 for additional information.


Sunday, July 4th


4 p.m. — The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club (949 Sand Castle Road) Independence Day Celebration


Dusk — Fireworks


In addition, the following retailers have obtained a Retail Holiday Sidewalk Sales permit and may be holding special sidewalk sales over the holiday weekend:


• Periwinkle Place Shopping Center, 2075 Periwinkle Way

• The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way

• Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, 1975-2019 Periwinkle Way

• Olde Sanibel Shoppes, 630 Tarpon Bay Road

• Seahorse Shopping Center, 362 Periwinkle Way

• Sanibel Seashells, 1544 Periwinkle Way

• Sanibel Square, 2240 Periwinkle Way