BCMA pays tribute to Sam Bailey during Islands Night
It didn’t rain… not even a little bit. Sam took care of that, some said.
The Bailey’s Center Merchants Association (BCMA) participated in the 18th Annual Islands Night parade to honor its founder, “Coach” Sam Bailey, who passed away last September. Sam’s event is a long-standing tradition where he sought to preserve, create and uphold his favorite islands’ culture and history.
“We have always enjoyed being a part of Islands Night,” said Ken Kasten, BCMA president and owner of Sanibel Shell. “It’s a great way to honor Sam and to get everyone together for this cherished tradition. Our plan is to continue being a part of it every year.”
The 18th annual event was held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, drawing many Sanibel and Captiva island businesses to the parade and minor league baseball game between the hometown Miracle and the Brevard County Manatees.
Sam Bailey’s daughter, Tee Ann Bailey, threw out the first pitch. She, Bailey’s General Store general manager Richard Johnson and Kevin Ruane, Mayor of Sanibel, paid tribute to the “Coach” in a touching speech about one of Sam’s favorite island traditions.
Sanibel and Captiva Island residents and businesses showed up at the Lee County Sports Complex in full force. They showcased a parade of island cars, trucks, floats and even a hot air balloon decked out in colorful, creative and just plain quirky gear to represent their businesses. They tossed candy and other giveaways at the throng of spectators for squealing and excited kids, each trying to get as close to the field as possible to catch the loot.
“It was a great community event and one that we all enjoyed… including Sam, who was watching over us,” said Johnson. “We’re already looking forward to seeing everybody next year!”
And the game? Appropriately enough, in come-from-behind fashion, the Miracle topped the visiting Manatees, 6-5.