Many communities have special events to acknowledge and celebrate who they are and what they offer. There can be music, parades and performances that make the event memorable and fun. Sanibel has a number of such events that are mostly held during the winter months when there are large numbers of people on the island. Here are several of the more popular events that take place each year on Sanibel and nearby Fort Myers. They demonstrate the wide range of interests on the island and assure those who are interested in island real estate and moving to Sanibel or Captiva that they will become part of a gifted and active community.
“Ding” Darling Days – takes place on Sanibel over a week in October. It celebrates the wildlife refuge and the island culture. They present fun-filled eco-activities such as tram tours, wildlife presentations, kayaking, paddleboarding and kid crafts. Parking is free and any fee-based activities are offered at a discount. It runs from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Taste of the Islands has been a Sanibel event for the past 35 years. It celebrates the culinary diversity of the island. It’s held in November with many of the island restaurants offering a taste of their specialty dish. There’s live music and entertainment. It runs from 12 to 5 PM at an outdoor location such as the Sanibel Community Park so bring your own lawn chair. The entrance fee is $5 with children under 12 free.
The Shell Fair is held annually in March. It started in 1938 at the Sanibel Community Center and celebrates Sanibel as one of the finest shelling areas in the country. There are judged entries of artistic and scientific displays inside the center. Outside the center are booths offering shells for sale. This is a world famous fair that’s attended by experts from many different countries. There is an entrance fee of $5.
Sanibel Music Festival has been held each year since 1985. It is in March at the 300 seat venue in the Sanibel Congregational Church. It presents classical music to help the careers of as many as seven emerging artists through their performances in piano, string quartets or voice. It celebrates the musical arts of the island and offers performances for over a month with tickets for $45 to $50.
ArtFest Fort Myers – is a three day festival in February and been judged as one of the top 100 art festivals in the country. It’s been attracting top notch artists from around the country for 17 years. It runs from 10 AM to 5 PM with each artist in a booth displaying and selling their works. It’s very popular so get there early to find parking.
Edison Festival of Light – has been a part of Fort Myers for 80 years. It runs over a 9 day period in February and features a wide range of displays and activities. It has been recognized by the International Festivals & Events Association with 4 awards including best educational programs.
This is just a part of the special events activity in and around Sanibel. There is also the Luminary Festival in December with Santa Claus visits, The Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner in February which is a popular community event, the annual Ding Darling Catch & Release Tarpon Tournament in May, the Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair in February and the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival in September. A report of events can be found at www.fortmyers-sanibel.com.