Island club set to host annual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner
This weekend, the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club will cook up and serve thousands of meatballs, hundreds of pounds of spaghetti and dozens of gallons of marinara sauce in a long-standing tradition.
The 40th annual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner will take place on Feb. 29 starting at 4 p.m. at The Community House on Sanibel. One of the club’s major fundraisers for the year, it will feature an all-you-can-eat Italian feast until 7:30 p.m., followed by live and silent auctions, raffles and music.
President Aaron Pruss explained that the club only does a few fundraisers each year.
“This is one of our biggest ones,” he said, adding that the Kiwanis Foundation uses the proceeds to support education and recreation programs for island youth, including the Kiwanis Scholarship Program for deserving students. “This is a pretty significant fundraiser for our scholarship program.”
“In addition to supporting the scholarship efforts, it’s one of those Sanibel iconic events,” Pruss added. “People look forward to it. I know some people plan their vacation around the time of the dinner.”
He noted that the family aspect of the event makes it a favorite for islanders and visitors.
“You come in and get seated at a table it’s family-style. So, you’re going to be sitting with, in all likelihood, strangers who you may have never met before,” Pruss said. “It’s a unique experience.”
“This one, I think, really embodies the Sanibel community coming together and just enjoying each other’s company,” he added.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $11 at the door; children age 9 and under eat for free.
The dinner includes spaghetti, meatballs and sauce, garlic bread and salad, along with wine or soda. Coffee and dessert will also be available, but the items are not included in the price of the ticket.
Pruss explained that the homemade meal is prepared by the club.
“We have several crews. We’ve got a pasta crew, a sauce crew, a meatball crew and a bread crew,” he said. “The prep starts at about 8 o’clock in the morning with the guys getting everything set up.”
“After 40 years, we’ve got a pretty finely-tuned machine back there,” Pruss added.
He noted that the local Boy Scout Troop volunteers.
“Those young men show up and they help clean up, they take out garbage and run errands all day,” Pruss said. “It helps us – and I think it’s a good experience for them, as well.”
In addition, a committee of club members organizes and plans the event every year. This year, it included Pete Bender, Bill Hay, Dick Muench, Ed Ridlehoover, Shawn Shaffer and Tom Sharbaugh.
As for dessert, it will again be the famous cakes from The Bubble Room on Captiva.
“The Bubble Room’s fabulous selection of cakes,” he said. “We will have their most popular.”
There will be the Red Velvet and Orange Crunch, plus a chocolate one.
Following dinner, dozens of items will be up for grabs in the live and silent auctions.
The lineup of goodies will include wine and wine-related items, themed baskets and more.
“We’re going to have things related to travel and boating activities, plus island activities like bike riding,” Pruss said. “It’s a broad spectrum of activities that will be represented in the auctions.”
In addition, there will $1 raffle tickets for sale for a mix of prizes.
“There might be another 25 raffle items,” he said.
Live music will be provided by a deejay.
This year’s major sponsors include Cielo, The Bubble Room, Bank of the Islands, Billy’s Rentals, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Bailey’s General Store, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Sanibel Island Golf Club, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, Island Inn, Barefoot Charlie’s Painting Co., The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sundial Beach Resort and Spa, and The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.
Many others show their support by contributing food and raffle and auction items.
Pruss encouraged residents and visitors to get their tickets and come out.
“I think it’s a unique experience to go have dinner with 1,200 other islanders,” he said. “It’s really a return to small-town America, where everybody in the community gets together on a certain night and they see each other and share a meal, share a glass of wine and share stories. It’s an island staple.”
“If you’ve never experienced it, you need to,” Pruss added. “If you have experienced it, you know why you’re coming back.”
Advance tickets are available from any Kiwanis member and at Bailey’s General Store, Bank of the Islands, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Big Red Q Printing, Island Pharmacy and Periwinkle Park.
For more information, visit sanibelkiwanis.org or www.facebook.com/sanibelkiwanis.
The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.