MARCO ISLAND — Three hours of toe tapping jazz marked Christmas Island Style’s Jazz Jam on Sunday at CJ’s on the Bay.
Three hours to socialize, enjoy good food and celebrate, said Nellie Adams, who hadn’t tasted beignets since the last time she visited New Orleans.
As new Marco Islanders, Adams and her husband, Ed, joined friends at the Jazz Jam to experience an afternoon at the Esplanade and were not disappointed.
“Everything about this was fabulous,” Nellie Adams said.
Local musicians Bobby Gideons and friends and Jim Long ramped up the beat with favorites like “Rosetta,” “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” and “What a Wonderful World” crooned by local Frank Camposano.
Accompanying all that jazz was a New Orleans style buffet complete with Creole chicken puffs, shrimp etouffee, crispy fried okra and homemade warm, powdery beignets.
“Chef Laura outdid herself again,” said Donna Niemczyk.
For Jeanne Glogouski and Eve Tschantz, this was their first time at the jazz event. They were particularly enjoying the beautiful day.
“It’s snowing up north and we live in paradise,” Tschantz said. “What’s not to like?”
Phyllis Healey of Newburyport, Mass., and Mary Jo Wickersham of Winchester, Ind., agreed that being out of the snow was a good reason to enjoy the Jazz Jam and the weather on Sunday.
“It snowed 8 inches where I live in Massachusetts,” said Healey, “so I’m glad I’m here and don’t have to deal with it.”
A recurring theme from those who attended the event was the way jazz seemed to bring old and new friends together. Karen DuMontier dined with Jim Gilligan, Debbie Silvestri and Candice Churchwell.
“I’m loving it,” said DuMontier. “The temperature is perfect, the food is excellent and I’m making new friends.”
Mary Ellen Orr agreed that she was in good company at an event that supported such an important community cause.
Gate receipts from the fundraiser will go directly to Christmas Island Style because CJ’s on the Bay donated all the food, said Debra Sanders, who sits on the organization’s board.
“I love the music,” said Bud Palmer, “especially the outstanding clarinet player. You know that’s the premier jazz instrument.”
Clarinet may be the premier instrument, but the trombone, trumpet and keyboard sounded awesome at Sunday’s event, too.
Christmas Island Style’s next fundraiser will be a spaghetti dinner from 5-7 p.m., Nov. 8, at San Marco Catholic Church hosted by the San Marco Knights of Columbus.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Takeout will be available at $10 per plate. San Marco Catholic Church is located at 851 San Marco Road.
Christmas Island Style community events begin with Santa’s arrival at 6 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the Shops of Marco. The annual tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Veterans’ Community Park. The annual boat parade on the Marco River and Smokehouse Bay is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, and the street parade along San Marco Road will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 17.