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‘Sanibel Lighthouse’ makes move to bank before raffle

By Staff | Sep 19, 2011

The Sanibel Lighthouse replica arrives at Bank Of The Islands. Pictured top row from left is Rusty Farst, Rob Lisenbee and Luis Quintero. Bottom row from left is Heather Harrison, Vanessa Flynt and Holly Quick.

For those of you who have been waiting to see if you will be the winner of the scaled down replica of the Sanibel Lighthouse that made Bailey’s General Store its home for the past few months, the wait is almost over.

Last week, the model was moved to a new home at the Bank of the Islands, where it will remain until Sunday, Oct. 23, when the official raffle will be held during Baileyfest.

There are only 200 raffle tickets remaining to be sold. Rusty Farst, a filmmaker based on Sanibel, has been selling the limited set of tickets to start a fund that will help pay for the repainting of the original Sanibel Lighthouse.

For the final part of the fundraising effort, Farst partnered with Bank of the Islands, to help sell the remaining tickets that cost $10 each.

And there is an additional perk: any individual or business that buys 25 raffle tickets or more will receive free publicity and a photo shoot with the lighthouse. This will be available on first come, first serve basis until the remaining tickets run out.

Sanibel good samaritan Mark Steger, right, helps Rusty Farst carry the lighthouse out of Bailey’s General Store and load it onto the truck.

“We have had overwhelming support on this project and I can’t wait to see who the lucky winner will be,” said Farst. “I can’t say enough for how this is both a great opportunity to walk away with your own piece of Sanibel history and at the same time, help us repaint the original.”

Farst has been an underwater videographer for more than 15 years. He has been on several underwater cave explorations for National Geographic, and has been assisting the Lee County Natural Resources Division for almost 10 years by filming and documenting the artificial reefs placed in local waters.

The replica is a 1/10th scale model of the best known and much loved Sanibel landmark, seen and recognized as a sign that we have returned to our most favorite place as we come over the causeway or visit Lighthouse Beach.

Its creator, Ken Idle of Fort Myers Beach, spent nearly 60 hours welding and assembling this perfect replica, accurate in almost every detail. Idle has been a welder for over 45 years and does specialty work on boats and other marine structures.

The lighthouse was built with aviation aluminum for its lightness and strength, stands about 10 feet tall, weighs only about 70 pounds and is the winner’s to keep. The additional perk is that the light at the top actually works and, due to the chosen material, it will never rust.

Tickets can be bought at Bank Of The Islands, located at 1699 Periwinkle Way, or from Rusty Farst, whom you can contact via e-mail at rustyfarst@rustyfarst.com.