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Fall Family Festival to be held at Community House

By Staff | Oct 26, 2017

Salli Kirkland and Tom Louwers, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank board of directors and Friends Who Care trustee donated $500 Salli Kirkland of the Sanibel Community Association for this year’s Fall Festival. MEGHAN McCOY

The Candy and Costume Fall Family Festival will kick off the Halloween night festivities at the Community House with fun for the entire family.

Salli Kirkland and her daughter Vanessa Flynt have been organizing the event since 2001.

“We came up with the carnival idea,” Flynt said. “We always had Halloween carnivals at the elementary schools I went to up north.”

Kirkland said the event took shape right after 9/11, when everyone was still very scared with kids dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating in the dark.

The event also made sense, Flynt said because there are still not a lot of people who have returned for the winter months.

“For really young kids after you do three houses climbing all those stairs it’s really not that much fun,” she said.

The mother, daughter duo decided to hold the carnival themed get together on the night of Halloween to give the youngsters an opportunity to dress up and receive candy.

“We decided to have it on Halloween, so the younger kids didn’t have to go trick-or-treating, as a substitute for that. A lot of times we would get a lot of families, all of them play games and eat and then the older kids go trick-or-treating,” Flynt said. “That way a family with kids of different ages can be together for a little while.”

This year the event will be held in the brand new Community House from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31. Those who attend are asked to bring one bag of Halloween candy for admission. Kirkland said individuals do not have to have kids to come to the event, just bring a bag of candy and play some games and have fun.

“We funnel the candy to the carnival games. We usually have 12 to 15 carnival games. When you play the game you get candy no matter what, win or lose,” Flynt said.

Kirkland said no one goes home with less than two pounds of candy and lots of stuffed animals.

“It’s a fun event for the kids,” she said.

The popular hayride across Periwinkle Way to the Strauss Theater will be held where Bobby Logue and his team will provide some entertainment. Many popular carnival type games, such as a ring toss and a fishing pond, will also grace the Community House.

“Most of them are geared towards younger kids,” Kirkland said.

The event will also include a blind-folded taste test, which the women said is a popular attraction.

“Any age can have fun doing that,” Kirkland said.

Costume prizes will also be given out throughout the event.

“We hand out little cards that say awesome costume, come to the stage,” Flynt said. “They go to the stage and we take pictures and they get prizes.”

Dinner, hamburgers and hot dogs, will be served for $2 during the event.

New this year is a pumpkin carving class with Chef Jarred Harris from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29. Participants will roast pumpkin seeds, make a pumpkin spice cake with citrus glaze and ginger whipped cream. The mature participants will help decorate the house for the carnival, with decorated carved pumpkins. Prepaid registration is required. The class is $35.

The pumpkins will be tagged and put on display throughout the Community House.

Forty volunteers, anywhere from greeters to carnival games, are needed to provide a helping hand during the event. Those interested can send Kirkland an email at salli@sanibelbike.com.

The entire event is made possible through sponsors, which helps in purchasing prizes and decorations. Judy and Sandy Montclare have been huge supporters, the Kiwanis Club, Friends Who Care and the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. CVS has always given them candy to get them started.

This is the final year the two women will be organizing the event.

“This year is our final hurray. Next year we have some new members of the board that are going to take it over. They get to design it in whatever fashion they want to design it,” Kirkland said.