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Welcome the new year with a splash, other choices for a safe, fun holiday

By Staff | Dec 31, 2014

Papa Bear John Carney. PHOTO PROVIDED

Celebrating the new year in Sanibel and Captiva traditionally is a family affair, with beach bonfires and cookouts counted as the most popular activities.

But there are other ways to welcome 2015, including:

  • Sanibel-Captiva Chapter of the National Polar Bear Club holding its 15th annual meeting at the “crack of noon” at Tarpon Bay Beach (the south/Gulf end of Tarpon Bay Road) on Jan. 1.

Parking for 89 cars is available at the city lot. Don’t forget to display a current new sticker or pay the parking fee.

The meeting will begin with the singing of the traditional Polar Bear anthem by the “Cubbies” (first timers), “Juveniles” (one-time previous dippers) and seasoned “Adult” bears (those who took the plunge in previous years).

Following the anthem the Polar Bears will enter the icy Gulf waters backwards, facing anticipated crowds of supporters, onlookers, tourists and “mice” (those who wished they had the courage to join in).

Following various bear-frolicking activities in the water and the traditional Polar Bear Group Hug/Huddle (a body-warming activity), all participants will receive a free membership card and a certificate suitable for framing.

There will also be an opportunity to sip from the giant Polar Bear champagne glass, have your picture taken in the infamous shell pith helmet and engage in story-telling about your heroic experience with fellow Polar Bears from around the world. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. Remember to wear your bathing suit and to bring a towel. Chairs and coolers are optional. Sign-in and song sheet distribution will begin at 11 a.m.

  • In Captiva, the South Seas Resorts is hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration on the King’s Crown lawn, with the Danny Morgan Band performing. The family-friendly celebration will be from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. with a $10 charge to adults (also benefitting the Community Cooperative), which includes a glass of champagne at midnight.

Partners for the New Year’s Eve included Galloway Ford-Lincoln (title sponsor), Captiva Cruiser, Island Store and Bailey’s. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at these locations.

“These kind of events are a great way to give back to the community,” South Seas Director of Marketing Daniel Smock said.

  • The BIG ARTS Holiday Spectacular

2200 Periwinkle, Sanibel/33957/(239) 395-0900/bigarts.org

  • Runs through Dec. 31. Strauss Theater is decked out for the season, and the on-stage talent shine like never before in a breathtaking holiday show that transforms the stage into a glistening winter wonderland.
  • J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge


New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, open 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, open 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, open 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. (tentative closure at noon)

New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, CLOSED

  • Tarpon Bay Explorers

New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, open 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, open 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

  • Traditions on the Beach

3111 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel/33957 (239) 472-4559/traditionsonthebeach.com

New Year’s Eve Gala

  • Only 1 seating (guests will have their table all night)
  • Special Menu- serving 5 Course Dinner- no regular menu
  • Doors open at 7 p.m.
  • Guests should arrive 7-7:30 or when they choose to arrive.
  • Upon arrival Hors d’oerves and Canapes will be served in the lounge.
  • Room decorated with a Balloon Drop, Midnight/ Champagne toast.
  • Like Times Square
  • Party Favors passed out
  • Line entertainment- Dancing all night w/ Joe McCormick and friends.
  • Price is $175 per person for the table for the night, band, 5 course menu, party favors, champagne toast, and the unforgettable experience bringing the New Years on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Dress is as formal as desired. When people ask our experience through past years have been most dress up and will be wearing jackets or even tuxedo’s. However it is not mandatory but management stresses most guests will be dressed in formal attire.
  • New Year at Sundial

sundialresort.com/1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel/ 33957

(239) 472-4151

  • Dinner, dancing, and live entertainment- New Year’s Eve at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is going to be a fabulous affair. Sundial will feature an exquisite prix-fixe menu, specially crafted for New Year’s Eve, and served in Waterview. After dinner, dance the night away and celebrate the arrival of 2015 with party favors and a champagne toast.
  • Reservations for the 9 p.m. 1 a.m. event are available by phoning (239) 395-6030. Sundial’s adult event is priced at $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Full bar service is available at an additional cost.
  • Kid’s Night Out” child care program is available for attendee children with 24 hour advance registration required. The program is intended for children ages 5-12 and is priced at $55 per child.
  • Sea Breeze Caf at Sundial will also be open serving dinner, appetizers, and drinks until 10 p.m.
  • Blue Coyote Supper Club

1100 Par View Drive, Sanibel/ 33957/(239) 472-9222/bluecoyotesupperclub.com

  • Seared Diver Scallops

Crispy Pork Belly Sweet Corn Puree’or

Smoked Duck Wellington Duck a l’Orange Dried Cranberry

  • A Little Something in the Middle

Arugula Salad

Champagne Vinaigrette

Fresh Strawberries – Slivered Almonds

Intermezzo – Tropical Sorbet

  • The Main

Bone – In Filet Mignon

Potato Gratinee Veal Reduction

Roasted Chilean SeaBass

Lobster Risotto Veloute

Roasted Rack of Veal

Parsnip Puree Wild Mushroom Demi

Twin Maine Lobster Tails

Parsley Fingerling Potato Drawn Butter

  • Happy Endings

Norman Love Chocolates

  • $80 per person plus tax plus gratuity
  • Jacaranda

1223 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957

(239) 472-1771/jacarandaonsanibel.com

  • Dec. 31

The New Vinyls. playing classic rock and dance

“New Year’s Eve” Balloon drop & Champagne

  • George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille

1223 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel 33957/(239) 472-1771/sanibelseafoodgrille.com

  • Dec. 31 Reks Bongo Blues Band. Great drink specials. Champagne toast at midnight, snowcrab special
  • Jan. 1 Football special, steak lover special and karaoke
  • Sanibel Recreation Center

3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road/(239) 472-0345/mysanibel.com

  • Holiday Rec will be Monday, Dec. 29 through Friday, Jan. 2 with no camp on New Year’s Day.

All days will operate from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Enrollment is available for children in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and towel. Each child will need to bring their own lunch for the day. Register in advance and receive the “Early Bird” rate.

  • Dec. 31

Youth Baseball/Softball Triple Play Camp, Sanibel Ball Fields

  • Captiva Cruises

Reservations (239) 472-5300/captivacruises.com

  • Dec. 31, Champagne Sunset Sail, 4-6 p.m. Begin the New Year’s Eve celebration with a Champagne Sunset Sail aboard a 40′ Sailing Catamaran as the sun sets into the Gulf of Mexico. Adult passengers receive a complimentary glass of Cchampagne. Reservations required. Cost: $45 Adults, $35 Children (12 and under).
  • Dec. 31, Champagne & Stars, 6:30-8 p.m., Enjoy the night sky on the water under the stars. Planets, stars, and constellations will be pointed out along the way as the magic of the night sky comes alive. Adult passengers receive a complimentary glass of champagne. Reservations required. Adults $45, Children $35 912 and under).
  • Jan. 2, Astronomy Stars Cruise, 6:30-8 p.m. Enjoy the night sky on the water under the stars. Planets, stars, and constellations will be pointed out along the way as the magic of the night sky comes alive. Reservations required. Adults $45, Children $35 (12 and under).