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Star-studded service: Island Celebrity Dinner returns for a good cause

By Staff | Sep 17, 2011

The second annual Celebrity Island Dinner will be held Oct. 3 at Traders Restaurant to benefit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. Trading in their island celebrity status for aprons and trays are Craig Albert, Karen Bell, Friedrich Jaeger, Mike Valiquette and Mark Blust. Tickets are on sale now.

For one night, island celebrities will trade in their star status for aprons and trays to serve dinner guests at the 2nd annual Celebrity Island Dinner from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Traders Restaurant.

“The attendance was good last year,” said Mark Blust, who is a returning celebrity server and Bailey-Matthew Shell Museum board member. “Our goal this year is to have a sold out crowd and exceed last year with some extra twists.”

Blust will be joined by 13 other celebrities Craig Albert, Ric Base, Karen Bell, Terry Igo, Friedrich Jaeger, Richard Johnson, Anne Joffe (museum board president), Leoma Lovegrove, Tim Murty, Sandy Stilwell, Mike Valiquette and Bob Walsh to bring a unique dinner experience and help raise money for the museum.

“I will be pulling in some big tips,” said Valiquette, who is also a returning celebrity but wouldn’t divulge his plans. “It’s top secret.”

Blust said there would be a little more “wow” at this year’s dinner, which raised more than $12,000 last year for the museum. Darlene Grossman started the event in hopes of putting “fun” back into fundraiser.

“We really want to just have fun,” she said last year. “October is a slow month, so it’s a win/win for Traders and the museum.We’re gathering much-needed funds for the museum and teaching people how important it is for the community.”

Last year, celebrity waiter and co-owner of Sanibel’s own Lily & Co. Dan Schuyler brought his fun-side and used his previous career as a professional clown in Maryland to win over tips. Until he became a museum board member, Schulyer said he never realized how important the museum is to the community.

“We are the number one shelling location in the country and Dr. Jose Leal does such a wonderful job,” he said. “The fact the museum was accredited a few years ago is so important.”

As an added bonus, Lily & Co. donated a dazzling Italian silver necklace and matching earrings — valued at $1,000 for the raffle. There will be a sensational selection of Chinese auction items available for bidding.

The menu designed by Traders owner Joe Archambault and prepared by chef Mike Patnode will include a choice of soup or salad (white gazpacho, crab bisque or Caesar salad); an entre of shrimp scampi, parmesan-encrusted chicken, grilled salmon or a 10-ounce New York strip steak; and key lime pie for dessert.

Danny Morgan, along with John McLane, will be taking the stage to provide musical entertainment. Bruce Akioka will provide tropical entertainment.

Reservations are required. Tickets are on sale now and cost $45 per person. All proceeds benefit the museum. To make your reservations, visit the Celebrity Island Dinner post in the news section at shellmuseum.org.

For any questions about the celebrity dinner, contact Amanda Stirn at 395-2233 or by email at astirn@shellmuseum.org.