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Kiwanis Spaghetti Feed an annual Sanibel tradition

By Staff | Feb 24, 2016

The Kiwanis Spaghetti Feed organizers include (L to R) Bill Hay, Ed Riddlehoover, Tom Sharbaugh and Pete Bender. PHOTO PROVIDED

When the end of February starts rolling around, Sanibel residents know it’s time to start getting their spaghetti taste on.

The annual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner will be Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Sanibel Community House running from 4-8 p.m. and it has been a “must do” event for Islanders for well over 30 years.

This island tradition features a complete Italian feast: all-you-can-eat pasta and meatball served with Kiwanis’s famous marinara sauce; salad; toasted garlic bread, and soda or wine, all for $8 per person in advance or $9 per person at the door. (Kids under 10 get in free with an adult.)

“We haven’t had to raise the price for many years,” said Kiwanis member and organizer Tom Sharbaugh.

Advance tickets can be purchased from any Kiwanis member and also at Bank of the Islands, Big Red Q Printing and Periwinkle Park.

Meatballs coming up! Kiwanis President Eric Pfeifer keeps the meatballs coming at the Spaghetti Dinner. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Spaghetti Dinner is held at the Sanibel Community House. After dinner the excitement continues in the Community House auditorium, with coffee, dessert, musical entertainment and the irresistible action of the raffle and auction.

The competition for raffle and auction prizes can be spirited and fun to watch.

This year’s lineup of raffle and auction items is shaping up to be impressive, with items including vacations, golf outings and restaurant packages, plus a lot of unusual and interesting merchandising items.

While event provides fun for the entire community, the overriding purpose is a serious one raising funds which the Kiwanis Foundation uses for grants to youth education and recreation programs benefitting local Island kids.

“We try to make sure everyone who comes is well fed and has a good time,” said Eric Pfeifer, Kiwanis President. “But the real reason we do it is support the Kiwanis mission of supporting youth education and well-being. Our scholarship program alone has helped a lot of deserving Island kids attend college who would otherwise not have been able to go. “

Kiwanis Club relies on generous help from event sponsors to make the Spaghetti Dinner happen.

A long list of local sponsoring businesses, organizations and individuals provide cash donations, auction items and in-kind products & services to the event.

Last year, almost 40 sponsors were represented, at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. Sponsor banners are displayed the dining hall to let attendees know who the sponsors are and to encourage everyone to patronize those establishments throughout the year.

In 2015, the Kiwanis had put up 37 banners, with this year topping an all-time mark of 42-45.

Current beneficiaries of the Foundation (and the Kiwanis Club) include:

Post-Secondary Scholarships (Annual and Multi-Year Grants); The Sanibel School & Sanibel School PTA; Take Stock in Children (Foundation for Lee County Public Schools); Children’s Education Center of the Islands Scholarships; Sanibel Recreation Center Scholarships; Herb Strauss Theater and BIG Arts Summer Children’s Programs; Sanibel Sea School Scholarships; City Employees Scholarship Fund; Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Youth Programs; F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc.; SWFL Symphony (Performance for 4th & 5th Graders); CROW Children’s programs; Friends Who Care, Inc.; Sanibel-Captiva Youth Sports; Special Equestrians & Voices for Kids of SWFL; Golisano Children’s Hospital of SW Florida; “Ding” Darling Days; Autism Speaks; Kiwanis Science Fair (Lee County); Sanibel Children’s Library; Sanibel Community Association Youth Events; and CHR-Community Housing & Resources.