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Sanibel School hosts annual Seahorse Festival March 26

By Staff | Mar 16, 2011

Hope Tyska, Mya Brown, Annabel Crater and Kaitlyn Rothwell at last year’s event.

On Saturday, March 26, islanders and visitors are invited to come out to the

Sanibel School from 4 to 9 p.m. for the annual Seahorse Festival — and just

like festivals past, this year’s event promises to be fun for all ages.

“The 2011 Seahorse Festival will feature children’s games, bounce houses, laster tag, face painting, a performance from the Sanibel School’s performing arts class and a wonderful silent auction with lots of fabulous items,” said Sanibel School Parent-Teacher Association President Milissa Sprecher. “We’ll also have all that good, carnival-style food that we always do, but this year we’re doing something a bit different in that the New Vinyls will be playing from 6:30 to 8:30 during the festival. It’s the first time we’ve had live music and held our event in the evening hours. Our silent auction will once again be huge, with everything from services from island establishments to the incredible, themed baskets that each elementary grade puts together.”

And if you don’t think six-year-olds are capable of putting together an exciting prize package, consider this — not only is a team of dedicated parents helping each grade, but there is also a grade-wide pizza party on the line for the creators of the baskets that go to the highest bidder.

Offering up a sneak-peek at the Sanibel School First Grade silent auction Baskets are Sanibel School parents and basket-donors Tiani Macalka, Kay Casperson, who donated gift certificates for spa services, and artist Shelly Castle, who donated artwork. In the front row are Sanibel School first-graders Mason Macalka, Jake Mann, Kayla Nette, Riley Mann and Anna Willis.

“Some of the items in the first-graders seahorse-themed baskets will include two original acrylic seahorse paintings from area artist Shelly Castle, a full-day boat rental from Jensen’s Twin Palms Marina, gift certificates to the Lazy Flamingo and Gator Bites restaurants, hand-made seahorse themed

notecards, as well as other artwork,” said Jodi Willis, who helped coordinate the auction baskets for the Sanibel School first grade classes.

The first-graders’ baskets will also include gift certificates from Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa and Boutique, AMC movie theater and Holy Smoke

Heavenly BBQ.

And don’t forget the middle-schoolers — Sanibel School mom Gaither DeLuca formulated a unique idea for a series of items that will also be up for auction.

Last year, Addison Sprecher had her face painted by Miss Silvia.

“They’re dog poop compost bins,” Sprecher said, laughing at the straight-forwardness of the item’s title. “Gaither has gotten local artists to paint the tops of these garbage cans, which are buried in the ground so that it looks like a stepping stone in your garden, and you compost your dog poop in the can so that you can fertilize your plants.”

But even if you’re not in the market for a dog poop compost bin, Sprecher said there will be a wide variety of incredible items on the Seahorse Festival’s silent auction block — and of course, all the funds raised during the event will go back into the school.

“The money from this event buys things that the budget can’t cover, and goes towards things like sponsoring software subscriptions for the school,” Sprecher said. “Last year we were able to purchase a middle school laptop computer lab. The kids benefit so much from having this kind of equipment, and the Seahorse Festival is our most important event of the year in terms

of making up the slack in the district budget. The Seahorse Festival really is a showcase for the school, and it demonstrates why this money is so important to our students.”

The festival will run from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Sanibel School pavilion and ballfields, 3840 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. Admission is $10 for children, who will receive a wristband to participate in festival activities, and free for adults.

Max Vaughn at the fishing game during Seahorse Festival 2010.

The 2011 Sanibel School Seahorse Festival is open to the public and, according to Sprecher, “The more the merrier!”

One Seahorse Festival 2010 attendant attempts the flamingo ring toss.