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Stars align for 3rd annual Celebrity Island Dinner

By Staff | Sep 14, 2012

Photo by SHANNEN HAYES “Celebrity waiters” Sandy Stilwell and Mark Blust, right, are ready to see who can deliver the best service during the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum's 3rd annual Celebrity Island Dinner Oct. 3 at Trader's Cafe and Store on Sanibel. The event will help raise funds for the non-profit shell museum. (Center, Dr. Jose Leal, museum director.)

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel Island features more than 30 exhibits of mollusks from around the world. Since it opened to the public in 1995, the shell museum has been an information and education center to many who are interested in the marine terrestrial and land mollusks of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

On Oct. 3, local “celebrities” will deliver star-studded service to guests during the 3rd annual Celebrity Island Dinner hosted at Trader’s Cafe & Store, 1551 Periwinkle Way, that benefits the non-profit shell museum. The evening will be begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

“It is a unique event for us,said returning celebrity waiter Mark Blust, marketing and operations for the Prawnbroker Restaurant Group. “Though we have a lot of museum supporters that attend, it really gives us the chance to market the museum in a non-traditional, extremely humorous way to folks that may not be familiar with us.”

Blust will be joined by the following celebrity servers dressed in eccentric costumes: Ric Base, president of The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce; Karen Bell, Lily & Company Jewelry Gallery; Sanibel Fire Chief Danny Duncan; Krista Fogelsong, NBC-2 co-anchor; Terry Igo, president of Sanibel-Captiva Trust Company; Anne Joffe, entrepreneur and museum board member; Clay Miller, NBC-2 co-anchor; John Naumann, principal of John Naumann & Associates; Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane; Dan Schuyler, Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery; and Sandy Stilwell, local restauranteur.

“It’s fun to be out of character for the shell museum,said Stilwell,” who is also a returning celebrity waiter. “We are all dressing up this year so come prepared to have great food and lots of fun.”

This annual event does guarantee to put the “fun” into fundraiser guests can win one of many raffle prizes from local hotels and merchants, as well as enjoy a great meal to help support the islands’ shell museum. Musician Chris Workman, whose work has been described as a refreshing blend of Pop and Americana with influences spanning several decades of popular music, will perform for the event.

“I enjoy the camaraderie and relaxed environment, friends and colleagues helping the museum, and excellent food and ambiance at Traders,said Shell Museum Director Dr. Jose Leal,” who started effective outreach programs not long after his tenure began in 1996.

Last year’s Celebrity Island Dinner event raised more than $10,000 for the museum’s educational programs with more than 120 guests in attendance. This year’s event tickets are $55 per person. To make the required reservations, visit shellmuseum.org/events. For questions, contact John Suau at jsuau@shellmuseum.org or call 239-395-2233.

“The Celebrity Dinner is our first event of the season each year,said Leal. “That awesome celebration brings together movers and shakers from our island community, who gather for an evening of fun and fund-raising to benefit museum educational programs. This showcases the cooperation and support the museum receives from our local supporters and businesses, in particular from Joe Archambault and Traders restaurant.”

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Its learning lab features a hands-on play area for children, displays, games and a tank with indigenous mollusks. The museum store offers a wide selection of shell books and gift items. It is located at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Rd.