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Baileyfest a memorable tribute, a great island tradition

By Staff | Oct 27, 2010

Jacob Ramsey, left, and Nikko Rocha, fifth graders at The Sanibel School, were crowned as the 2010 Baileyfest King and Queen.

Twenty five years ago, island native Sam Bailey created an event designed to thank all the people who were a part of the Sanibel community who had supported him and the Bailey Center merchants over the years. He wanted a community event where everyone could participate and have fun.

In 1985, Baileyfest was born.

Over 1,000 people visited the 25th annual Baileyfest, held on Sunday, Oct. 24. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Sanibel and Captiva non-profit organizations, many of which were present at Baileyfest with tables, displays, family activities and information.

“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 and a marvelous tribute to its founder, Sam Bailey,” said Richard Johnson, general manager of Bailey’s General Store and the Bailey’s Center.

The Sanibel School fifth graders Nikko Rocha and Jacob Ramsey were crowned as the Baileyfest 2010 King and Queen. The two students were chosen based on their essays titled: “What Sanibel Means to Me.”

The BIG ARTS Community Chorus filled the Baileyfest main stage.

Mick Denham, Vice Mayor of the City of Sanibel, and Judie Zimomra, City Manager, both spoke of Sam Bailey’s contributions to his community during the opening ceremony.

Ric Base, President, and Bridgit Stone-Budd, Director of Marketing from the Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce, returned to the stage again this year to help emcee the program.

Stage performances included Jennifer Valiquette on the saxophone, The Hat Boys, Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theatre, Bishop Verot Catholic High School’s Drumline Band and BIG ARTS Community Chorus.

“We’d like to thank Ric and Bridgit and all the performers for their continuing support and participation at this year’s Baileyfest,” said Ken Kasten, President of BCMA.

Children were also invited to the stage to participate in contests like hula hooping, Simon Says and dancing. Adults who answered some trivia questions about Sam Bailey were given special prizes.

Dave Godfrey from The Bait Box amazed onlookers by getting a blowfish to puff up.

More than $2,000 worth of prizes were awarded to some lucky winners. The prizes were donated by all the 13 merchants in the BCMA, including Coca-Cola and Banana Boat.

Once again, the merchants of Bailey’s Center would like to thank everyone who attended this year and made Baileyfest 2010 a celebrated success. They look forward to seeing everyone again next year as they continue to uphold this great island tradition.

Baileyfest 2010 was attended by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, The International Osprey Foundation, F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service Here) of Sanibel, Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, Sanibel-Captiva Lions, American Red Cross, Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, Captiva Fire Department, Billy’s Bikes, The City of Sanibel, Queenie’s Homemade Ice Cream, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, C.R.O.W., Sanibel Sea School, The Sanibel Recreation Center, Dietz & Watson, Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, American Heart Association, Sanibel Captiva Sail and Power Squadron, the Fort Myers Miracle and Madam Sandy.

The BCMA was formed to develop and enhance the relationships among individual merchants and promote the Center as the prime retail resource for island customers; residents and visitors alike.

Dane Johnson rides around as the Baileyfest Sweetheart.

Mike Smith and Tammy Anderson, left, loved their very informative visit to the "optimistic" San-Cap Optimists, with Randy Carson, Stan and Dani Howard, Amy and Ian Wainwright.