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Second Annual New Year’s Eve party enjoys great success

By Staff | Jan 5, 2011

Ringing in 2011 at the Sanibel Recreation Center are, from left, Judie Zimomra, Francis Bailey, Dick Muench and Barry Alan Roth.

Although attendance may have dipped at the Second Annual New Year’s Eve party at the Sanibel Recreation Center, the four-hour-plus extravaganza exceeded last year’s festivities in offering participants a variety of dining, dancing and activity options as the island bid farewell to 2010 and welcomed in 2011.

“We tried to do something that would make everybody happy,” said Barry Alan Roth, organizer of the event. “I think we were successful in find entertainment that would appeal to all ages, dancing for kids and adults, a Rock Band/Guitar Hero tournament for teenagers. And everybody I spoke to said it was terrific.”

According to Roth, approximately 350 people attended Friday’s festivities — down from last year’s total of 490 party-goers — which was staffed by more than 30 volunteers who donated their time and talents to the cause. The party was organized as a fundraiser for the Rec Center’s financial assistance program. It provides help for island workers to enroll their children in the After School Program, Fun Days Program and Summer Camp.

Monies raised from the New Year’s Eve event — which Roth will announce next week — and from the New Year’s Eve Sponsorship Program will enable the Rec Center to provide financial assistance to qualifying parents so their children will have a safe and happy place to participate in fun and healthy activities while their parents are working.

Following a theme of “Come Together,” revelers enjoyed chicken fingers, cake, deli, fruit and vegetable platters (provided by Bailey’s General Store), pizza (provided by Island Pizza), hot dogs (provided by Lazy Flamingo II), mini donuts (provided by Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory), soda and root beer floats (provided by Jerry’s Foods), gourmet coffee and hot tea (provided by Coffee Bar @ Baileys), fresh squeezed juices (provided by Sun Harvest Citrus), water (provided by Costco) and other snacks.

Entertainment included live music and dancing with Gene Federico, strolling magicians Professor Patches, Keith Raygor and Robbie The Ringmaster, a Rock Band and Guitar Hero tournament, bingo, a 50/50 raffle and other games and activities for all ages.

This year’s raffle winner, island resident Roxanne Vanbokkelen, took home $1,240, half of the $2,480 raised. In 2009, the winner and the Rec Center each received $1,037.50.

Joel Soobitsky was dubbed “Father Time,” Caroline Donato was named “Mother Time” and Dominique Martinez Sanchez was crowned “Baby New Year.”

“When we threw the confetti at midnight, there were still about 175 people there,” added Roth, who estimated that he’ll begin work on the 2012 celebration in the next few months. “There were a lot of familiar faces there, and some faces you don’t see very often, so it was a good mix.”

Roth was also pleased that island patriarch Francis Bailey attended the party. One of the gifts included in the gift bag, handed to each attendee as they exited the Rec Center, featured a tribute to Sam Bailey, who passed away on Sept. 21, 2010.

“Everything that was successful at this party is an acknowledgment that we live in a great community,” Roth added. “Wonderful people… a great place to live.”