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Baileyfest celebrates 26 years of community togetherness, firemen’s calendar to debut

By Staff | Oct 21, 2011


The 26th annual Baileyfest, hosted by the Bailey’s Center Merchants Association (BCMA), will take place this Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Bailey’s Center, located on the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.

While the BCMA is thrilled to be celebrating this cherished community tradition, this is the second year that Baileyfest will go on without its founder, Sam Bailey, who passed away this time last year at the age of 87.

“The Sam’s team has been working hard to make this event special just for you,” said Richard Johnson, general manager of Bailey’s General Store. “Sam left good instructions, as we still have his play book to follow.”

Baileyfest is one of those keystone events Sam was very proud of and community was always important to him. One could see that in his life here on Sanibel and in his life in Tampa. It was Sam Bailey’s passion for his Sanibel community that made him create Baileyfest 26 years ago.

This year’s event will feature many of the traditional elements that Sanibel and Captiva residents have come to know and love: a wide variety of games for the kids, food and beverages, the crowing of Baileyfest King and Queen, incredible raffle prizes from the BCMA and lots of live entertainment.

“The merchants of Bailey Center are excited to invite our community to the 26th annual Baileyfest,” said Johnson.

The Baileyfest stage will feature performances from the BIG Arts Community Chorus, The Sanibel School band, the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, the Country Rhythm Cloggers and Frank Torino will be the master of ceremonies.

In addition to the Baileyfest activities, the Sanibel Fire District will add some heat to the day with the debut of its calendar. Packed with 13 months of the island’s bravest, bare-chested firefighters, it is sure to be a hot item.

“We have some new ‘talent’ this year and it is more themed to the island,” said Training officer Tim Barrett, who appeared as Mr. December 2009.

Most of the 13 firemen who “moonlighted” as models will be at Baileyfest to sell and sign calendars, which are $10 each. Last year, the Sanibel Fire District raised more than $8,000, which was divided between the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and the local March of Dimes.

This year the money raised will benefit Sanible’s very own Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) and local charity Caleb’s Crusade, which helps families with children fighting cancer. Stop by the firefighter’s tent during Baileyfest to purchase your 2012 calendar and have it autographed.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone out in the parking lot Sunday,” said Johnson.

The BCMA is made up of Bailey’s General Store, Bailey’s True Value Hardware, The Grog Shop, Nick’s Place, Hillgate Communications, Island Cleaners, Island Cinema, Sanibel Barber Shop, Lily & Co Jewelers, Sanibel Shell Automotive, Select Vacation Properties, Video Scene and Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s.