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Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner looking to fill-out again

By Staff | Feb 25, 2015

The Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner will be held Saturday, Feb. 28, from 4-8 p.m. at the Community House. Organizers of the dinner include (L to R) Ed Ridlehoover, Tom Sharbaugh, Pete Bender and Bill Hay. Cost is $9 for adults and kids under 10 years old eat for free. Last year, the Kiwanis raised over $25,000 to help fund their charities.

So what exactly can a group do with 220 pounds of meatballs, 260 pounds of dry spaghetti and 81 gallons of marinara sauce?

The answer is feeding a lot of people to help raise over $25,000 for charity, that’s what.

The Sanibel Kiwanis will be holding their annual Spaghetti Dinner Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Community House from 4-8 p.m. with the after party running until 10 p.m. and they will need every single minute to suffice the 1,600 people who are estimated to come through to feast on the noodles.

Cost is $9 for adults, with kids under 10 eating free. It’s an all you can eat format, which also includes bread and a salad. All proceeds benefit Kiwanis, which funds scholarships and youth programs on Sanibel.

There also will be a live auction, silent auction and a Chinese auction/raffle, as well, during the spaghetti festivities.

Kiwanis volunteers tend to the beverages in last year's spaghetti dinner. PHOTO PROVIDED

“It’s an inexpensive, family event,” said Kiwanis organizer Tom Sharbaugh. “The local merchants have donated some terrific items, it’s just a community event and everyone gets behind it.”

There are over 80 items which have been donated by local businesses, which will go into a raffle and the live auction.

“Without the businesses’ support, this dinner wouldn’t happen,” Sharbaugh said.

The silent auction will have approximately 30 items and 14 will be on the live auction block. There will also be an after-party, which will feature beverages, dessert and socializing.

The Kiwanis is already prepped with a ton of food to prepare and serve to the estimated 1,600 people who will flock to the event. The day will include making 3,500 meatballs, 260 pounds of spaghetti, 81 gallons of marinara sauce with the “secret” Kiwanis seasonings, 230 pounds of greens for salads and 67 gallons of wine to help wash all that food down with.

Over 1,600 people attended the Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner last year at the Community House. PHOTO PROVIDED

“We start arriving to make the food at 8 a.m.,” said Kiwanis Bill Hay. “The bread people start in cutting the bread and in the afternoon, the salad people get in.”

With the event starting at 4 p.m., people go through the line, eat and move into the auditorium where the dessert and beverages are served.

“It’s not a fine dining experience,” Sharbaugh laughed. “People are jammed in and out, because we are full to capacity the full four hours. But that’s the fun of it, it’s a great socializing event.”

The Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner is over 30 years old and has been a great success each time. Last year, $25,000 was raised through the dinner, raffle and auction.

Those proceeds help support scholarships and recreation programs for Island youths throughout the year.

Tim O'Neil delivers a tray full of spaghetti dinners last year. PHOTO PROVIDED

“Our scholarships have helped a number of kids from the island go to college,” Hay said.

With the Sanibel businesses being gracious and the community giving the Kiwanis Club great support, it’s the island which will benefit.

“The money raised here, stays here,” said Kiwanis member Pete Bender. “Anyone we help has an island connection.”

The Kiwanis Club also thank their sponsors by placing a banner in their name around the Community House during the Spaghetti Dinner for those donating $500 or more. The Master Sponsor is the Bank of the Islands, which has been since the inception of the Spaghetti Dinner benefit.

“We’ll have 34 banners this year,” Bender added.

Eric Pfeifer holds a vat full of meatballs for the Spaghetti Dinner last year. PHOTO PROVIDED

As for the food, everyone leaves happy and very full.

“We are always receiving compliments about our secret sauce,” Hay said. “We’ve never had a complaint.”