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Southern Comfort on Sanibel scheduled for this weekend

By Staff | Mar 30, 2016

This year’s Southern Comfort On Sanibel will feature southern food prepared by The Pecking Order. PHOTO PROVIDED

The second annual Southern Comfort on Sanibel will be held this weekend to raise money for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife.

The fundraiser will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. Tickets are $55 in advance, or $65 at the door. Those interested in purchasing a ticket can call CROW Development Director Mary Schoeffel at (239) 472-3644 ext. 232.

Southern Comfort Chairperson Diane Nextel said this is CROW’s second annual spring fundraiser.

“It’s very casual. We invite people to come in their T-shirts, shorts and flip flops,” she said. “I encourage anybody that has any interest in CROW to come and join us. We would sure love to have you come and spend a fun evening with us.”

The event will feature delicious southern food prepared by The Pecking Order. Such southern favorites as fried chicken, mac and cheese, red beans and rice and collard greens will be served.

With a purchased ticket, attendees will also have the opportunity to choose a southern comfort drink cocktail of their choice.

David Flory, of the Island Ballroom, will provide the music for the event, as well as line dancing lessons. Nextel said Flory is often times found dancing with the attendees as well.

A silent auction will also be apart of the festivities featuring a private wild animal release of a recovered CROW patient; gift baskets, jewelry and lovely artwork.

A photo booth and a few games will also be sprinkled into the fun for the evening. The games include a wine bottle ring toss, dart toss game, a putting green and cornhole. Nextel said individuals who ring a bottle of wine get to take the bottle home with them.

All of the proceeds from the evening will go directly towards the care of the patients of CROW.

There are still a few sponsorship opportunities available for Southern Comfort on Sanibel. The sponsorships include complimentary wine, preferred seating and a cocktail party the following week at CROW’s Visitor Education Center.

Nextel and her husband moved to Sanibel full-time nine years ago. She said this is the first time she has chaired a fundraising event, which she really enjoyed.

“I worked with a super committee and staff with the administrative offices,” Nextel said. “I got to know some new people. It’s fun to meet new people and work with them.”

She began volunteering at CROW’s Visitor Education Center eight years ago.

“My husband is a retired veterinarian and we came from the midwest,” Nextel said.

As a veterinarian in central Illinois, her husband would see sick and injured animals that people brought it, some of which were wildlife. He became a wildlife animal rehabilitator and the entire family became involved.

At the time, in the early 60s and 70s there was not a wildlife animal care center close to the practice.

“When I came down here it was a natural segway volunteering at CROW,” Nextel said. “I am there at least once a week, often more than that.”

She said it is a delight to work with the students and Dr. Heather Barron.

“Dr. Barron is the perfect director for those students. She is so patient and allows them the opportunity to do so many procedures and work so closely with those patients,” Nextel said. “She is so good with them and they come away with so much knowledge.”