Sure, there are learned scientific exhibits, and breathtaking artistic creations. But when the doors opened Thursday morning at the Marco Island Shell Club’s 34th annual Shell Show, the line of ladies, and a few gentlemen, headed straight to the sales tables. Over 150 members of the shell club have been laboring over a hot glue gun for months, creating floral arrangements, Christmas tree ornaments, whimsical animals, and even complete layer cakes, sliced open to show the interior, entirely out of seashells. For the next three days Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the fellowship hall at the United Church of Marco on Barfield Drive will host thousands of shell enthusiasts going through the creations to pick and purchase their favorites.
It was “After Five,” but before Mutts & Martinis. The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce moved their monthly networking event up a week so as not to conflict with next week’s “dogs and drinks” affair at the Esplanade. They also moved up in the world, holding the After Five on the rooftop courtyard at the San Marco Road office of co-sponsor Mutual of Omaha Bank. It was, literally, “drinks on the house,” as not only the comestibles from Nacho Mama’s, but alcoholic beverages were provided free of charge to attendees. Why hold a chamber schmoozefest at a bank? Well, as noted bank robber Willie Sutton put it, “that’s where the money is.”
There’s a method in their March marching madness. Marco Island traditionally holds its St. Patrick’s Day parade early, one week ahead of the massive St. Paddy’s parade in Naples, thereby allowing bands and floats to march in both. The Sons and Daughters of Erin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade marched up Bald Eagle Drive on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of spectators sat in the bright sun or sought the shade of trees along the parade route, with children dashing out to grab the candy tossed by the passing paraders.
It may not have been feeding the 5,000, but it wasn’t far from it. The first fish fry of the season was thronged Friday evening in the parish hall at San Marco Catholic Church. Over 900 diners came to be served by dozens of volunteers at the event put on by the Knights of Columbus San Marco Council, number 6344. If Henry Ford had invented the restaurant, it would have looked like this, with an assembly line technique making it possible to move the horde of patrons through the process, loading up with baked or fried fish, side dishes and beer or wine from the cash bar. City Councilman Joe Batte directed traffic, steering diners into the long rows of tables for maximum efficiency, and crews showed up on cue to offer ice cream for dessert, bus the tables and clean up for the next wave in the “fish factory.”
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