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Annual holiday celebration to feature fun and fellowship

By Staff | Nov 19, 2019


For nearly three decades, island residents and visitors have come together on the Sunday before Thanksgiving to mark the approaching holiday with some music, fellowship and fun.

The Annual Thanksgiving Celebration will take place on Nov. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Community House on Sanibel. First held in 1991, the event is free and open to the community and will feature a non-denominational service, musical performances, tasty drinks and treats, and more.

“It’s to bring the community together and to celebrate and support everyone in the community,” event coordinator Mary Bondurant said. “Just to be thankful for what our community gives back to us.”

The annual celebration is well attended.

“We usually have over 100 people,” she said.


City Manager Judie Zimomra prepares a written prayer to start off the program.

“There’s also a Thanksgiving proclamation given by the city of Sanibel,” Bondurant said. “If it’s not given by the mayor, than it’s usually one of the city council members that reads it.”

Representatives from the island houses of worship take part. The Rev. John Danner, senior pastor at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, leads the group in a holiday presentation, of sorts.

She noted that the program usually involves readings and storytelling.

Guest speaker F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva Board Chair Nicole McHale will talk about the needs of the islands and how F.I.S.H. strives to meet the needs with the help of donations from those within the community.


Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for F.I.S.H.

“We ask them, if they want, to bring food items for the food pantry at F.I.S.H. or to make a monetary donation that day,” Bondurant said.

One of the highlights of the celebration is the music and audience sing-a-longs.

Led by Director Ellen Whitten, the BIG ARTS Community Chorus will perform “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi, “Thankful People, Come” by Susan Dengler and Lee Dengler, “Hine Ma Tov” by Allan Naplan, and “God Bless Us Everyone” by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens and arranged by J. Higgins.

The program will conclude with complimentary cider from Bailey’s General Store and complimentary cookies from Jerry’s Foods for attendees. Formerly Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream, Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream will serve up complimentary ice cream.

Residents and visitors are invited to come out.

“This is open to the entire community,” she said. “It’s a time for the community to come together and be thankful and share in fellowship with friends and neighbors over cookies, cider and ice cream.”

For more information, contact Mary Bondurant at 239-839-3633.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.