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Shell Factory celebrates its 80th year

By Staff | Jun 27, 2018

Area residents came out in droves Sunday to help the Shell Factory & Nature Park celebrate its 80th anniversary

The attraction marked the milestone with not only an old-fashioned carnival with games, music and all sorts of fun – it offered1938 prices, drawing a crowd that was much bigger than anticipated.

So big, in fact, that Rick Tupper, marketing director and CFO at the Shell Factory, said he would consider bringing in more summer events for year-round residents.

“We thought it would be a steady crowd, but it’s a big crowd. There are a lot of people who have never been to the Shell Factory,” Tupper said. “We’re really happy that this is a local crowd, not a ‘snowbird’ crowd. If we can pull this local crowd, it’s very good for us.”

The event featured food at discounted prices, carnival games for 38 cents, and admission to the nature park for a quarter.

The line extended about 50 yards from the entrance.

Sheila Long, of North Fort Myers, came with friends and her children to see the animals.

“The line is moving slowly, but it’s a little busier than usual, the prices are bringing a lot of people out,” Long said. “We came to the nature park a couple years ago and it was good.”

Local organizations came forward to support their various causes. The North Fort Myers Civic Association was looking for new members and advertising its first North Fort Myers Community Night with the Fort Myers Miracle on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Century Link Sports Complex.

“The Miracle has offered us a discount on their tickets. We’re selling prime box seats for $10, with a portion of the proceeds going to the civic association,” Dailey said. “We’ve sold three tickets in an hour and sales are looking up.”

Also, there was Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions, which came looking for homes for their animals. The dogs lay under a tent, staying cool by sipping ice water and wading in a small pool.

“They make great pets. We have two and would adopt more if I wasn’t so old,” said Bob Navin, who has adopted greyhounds and who volunteers for the organization. “There are so many lies being told about them and we’re trying to educate people, especially about Amendment 13 to ban greyhound racing. About 95 percent of greyhounds get adopted.”

Phil Graham, from Naples, brought his family to see the dogs and try out the Shell Factory for the first time, which they seemed to enjoy.

“My wife found the event on Facebook. What we’ve seen in absolutely amazing and I think we’ll have a good time here,” Graham said. “What they’re doing with the greyhounds is wonderful.”