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Annual Fossil Fest returns to the Shell Factory, new event starts

By Staff | Feb 12, 2020

There’s something old and something new being offered at the Shell Factory & Nature Park this week.

First, the 16th annual Fossil Fest, brought to you by the Fossil Club of Lee County, will return on Saturday, Feb. 15.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature dozens of fossil vendors offering rare fossils — everything from alligator and prehistoric animal bones and sharks’ teeth to minerals, fossil jewelry, books and historical exhibits.

It also will be a silent auction, grand raffle, a kids dig for fossils, games and prizes for the children, an opportunity to meet an actual fossil hunter, and free admission.

“The focus we have is on Florida fossils. Anyone can go out and dig for these fossils themselves. That is our emphasis,” said Beth Meyer, Fossil Club president.

The club has held the event at the Shell Factory since 2014, and every year it has grown, from the Dolphin Room to much of the center parking lot, where many of the special events are held.

“They have a lot of things geared toward kids now and not just for fossil collectors,” said Anne Sheridan, general manager of the Shell Factory. “You even get to meet fossil hunters who go all over the world to look for fossils. It’s very interesting.”

“The Shell Factory is a great facility. They have a fossil display that people can see as well as rare and unusual shells,” Meyer said. “We coordinate our programs because we have similar opportunities for education.”

Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, comes a new event called Canada Day, which will happen from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as a way to pay homage to those snowbirds who live north of the border.

The event will feature live entertainment by Chuck Peterson from noon to 4 p.m., followed by Michael Glean from 4 to 7 p.m.

There will be buckets of Labatt and Molson beers on special, Canada inspired specialty drinks and food specials from those still feeling the sugar rush following the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship.

There will be a 50/50 raffle and they will honor each of the provinces and territories.

Sheridan said she got the idea from a friend, who brought them to a Canada Day event last year and they loved it and decided to bring it here.

And you don’t have to be a Canadian to enjoy.

“Response to it has been great so far. We think it will be a great addition to the Shell Factory because many people from Canada come here,” Sheridan said. “We wanted to thank them for coming and have a nice day for them and make them feel at home.”

The Shell Factory is at 2787 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, go to www.shellfactory.com