Editorial: Stars and nuts, dollars and spurs

A starfish to Immokalee hot-air balloon festivals — past and future.

The Seminole Casino has announced it will bring back the spectacle for a second try next spring, even though last weekend's inaugural event was marred by rare winds that kept the 30 or so mammoth balloons from even getting off the ground both days.

The casino says crowds were so large and so impressed to see the balloons merely inflated that the festival deserves at least one more try.

Note to event organizers: Please do better with advance information about parking. Some of those who chose to head straight for Immokalee Regional Airport rather than park at the casino and take shuttles, were surprised and disappointed to get caught in long lines to get in.

When fans get up before daybreak to get out there and see the glow of the balloons being inflated with flame-heated forced air, that's not good.

A double starfish for the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts.

Today, Earth Day, admission is free to the Naples Museum of Art in observance of all the environmentally friendly programs under way at the Pelican Bay facility.

Second, an exhibit of 300 pieces of art of all kinds by Collier County public and private school students of all ages starts next Saturday and runs through May 27, with $1,000 scholarships for the top three high school seniors and 20 smaller prizes. Regular museum admission prices will be in effect, though contestants and their teachers get into the fourth annual showcase at no charge.

A slam-dunk starfish to Lee County Public Schools.

They are launching a hall of fame for star student-athletes in all sports.

The first class of 36 gets inducted next month.

Might Collier schools take a cue?

A starfish to the city of Bonita Springs for crafting a very special little park on the west side of U.S. 41 just north of Bonita Beach Road.

River Park is mainly for launching canoes and kayaks, and fishing and crabbing on the Imperial River.

The two main amenities — big floating docks — are good for sitting and relaxing too.

Just one problem. Parking.

There are only a handful of spaces and signs warn that you can get busted for parking on the grass, though it is plentiful and seems quite hardy.

City officials say the park was designed to be passive, and more spaces are planned for phase two, for which there is no timetable yet.Headline

A starfish to the Humane Society of Naples.

It keeps raising the bar for clever names for fund-raising events.

First came Strut Your Mutt.

Then came Yappy Hour.

Now ... Cinco de Meow — a day early on May 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Old Naples Pub on 13th Avenue South.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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