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Taste of the Islands to feature animal ambassadors, special programs

By Staff | Nov 8, 2017

This year “A Taste of CROW at Taste” is the theme of the popular fundraising event this weekend, due to individuals having the opportunity to attend programs and visit with some animal ambassadors.a

“We want to make sure everyone who comes understands where their investment goes,” CROW Development Director Mary Schoeffel said. “Their food purchases helps feed the animals. Their admission purchase helps feed the animals and take care of everything we do.”

The 36th Taste of the Islands will be held Sunday, Nov. 12, from noon to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park, next to the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way.

“We know that people make themselves at home, so please remember to bring your lawn chairs and we will have more than enough food and beverages, so leave your coolers at home,” Schoeffel said. “Because we will have wildlife there this year, please leave your pets at home.”

Tickets, which are $7 for adults, and free for children 12 and younger, can be purchased online at www.crowclinic.org until Thursday, Nov. 9. They can also be purchased the day of the event.

“For those who live off island, save your toll receipt and redeem it for two CROW bucks,” Schoeffel said.

The excitement for this year’s addition, Schoeffel said is because CROW can showcase their three components.

“We train the next generation of wildlife professionals. We rescue and rehabilitate native and migratory animals. We provide the public opportunities to learn about the absolutely wonderful benefits of coexisting with our wildlife neighbors and how to prevent injuries,” she said.

CROW Development & Education Coordinator Rachel Rainbolt said CROW has always had an informational tent available at each of the Taste of the Islands to share their printed literature.

“We are very excited this year to expand and really make Taste mission focused by incorporating an entire CROW area within the Community House,” she said.

Within the Community House, CROW presentations will be offered at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. CROW will also have some of their animal ambassadors available for attendees to meet them, learn their story and take photographs with them.

Animal ambassadors, Bashful, a Virginia opossum; Shelldon, the gopher tortoise, Lola, an American Kestrel and Violet, an Eastern Indigo snake will be present during the festivities. Violet is part of a partnership with Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Schoeffel said Shelldon and Violet are threatened species.

“CROW will also be offering different areas within the Community House that tell a story of each of the components of CROW’s mission,” Rainbolt said. “Both from a student program perspective, as well as an outreach event perspective and ways for people to help further support the mission and efforts.”

The Adopt A Species program will also be available for purchase within the Community House. She said with the holidays around the corner, the Adopt A Series program is a popular item for a gift.

Rainbolt said for $55, if the attendee takes it home that day, they will receive a stuffed plushy, a rescue box, a species identification card with patient specifics and a certificate of adoption signed by CROW’s Executive Director Dr. Linda Estep, as well as a picture.

Some of the species that will be available to adopt include a bald eagle, sea turtle and gopher tortoise.

Attendees can also purchase discounted admission tickets at the Community House, which will be good until the end of the season 2018.

The silent auction will also be hosted inside the Community House. Some of the items will include i Love Shelling with Pam Rambo, pottery from Jerry Edelman, Barb Warling’s shell wreaths, Kim Patmore’s photography and Western Michigan University providing 30 minutes in their flight stimulator. In addition, Schoeffel said all of their restaurants have contributed something for the auction.

The auction will close at 4:30 p.m.

This year 14 restaurants are participating in the event, including two new, The Clam Shack and La Bella Vita. Returning restaurants include the Blue Giraffe, The Bubble Room, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, IL Cielo, Matzaluna, Rosie’s Cafe & Grill, Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory, Sanibel Fish House, Sanibel Sweet Shoppe, Shima Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, Thistle Lodge and The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market.

“That’s what Taste is all about, getting the chance to experience island cuisine. They are serving fan favorites in hopes of getting a vote for People’s Choice,” Schoeffel said.

The restaurants will compete for such honors as “Best Appetizer,” “Best Seafood,” “Taste of the Taste” and the “People’s Choice” award.

The restaurants will have dishes ranging for $1 to $6, which are purchased through CROW bucks. There will be kid favorites, as well as dishes for the culinary connoisseurs.

A larger selection of beer will be sold during Taste of the Islands, as well as the popular margaritas and wine.

LCEC Killa-Watts will perform a vast array of music during the event.

“LCEC is a long standing supporter of CROW in many different ways. The band only does charity events, so we are excited to have their partnership this year,” Schoeffel said.

Both of CROW’s local volunteer artists will be at the event – Patmore and Joan Marsh Mikelsons. She said Patmore will sign her CROW calendars and Mikelsons will be on hand to sign this year’s T-shirts, due to her talent appearing as this year’s logo.

There will be designated parking areas, and trolley service during Taste of the Islands to accommodate all attendees.

“Please only use the designated parking lots, or ride your bike,” Schoeffel said. “We want to be respectful of our retail neighbors and to make sure their patrons have easy access.”

One of the designated parking areas, the Strauss Theater, fills up quickly due to its proximity to the event.

“It will take you less time on the shuttle from Bank of the Islands to the site, than waiting in line to park there,” Schoeffel said.

The trolley starts at 11 a.m. at Bank of the Islands, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company and the US Post Office.

The Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, Sanibel Community Church and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church are also designated parking areas, starting at 1 p.m.

“If you can’t make it on Sunday to Taste please come visit us Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Schoeffel said.

CROW is located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. For more information visit www.crowclinic.org.