he Barbecue on the Bay, held annually as the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce’s May “After Five” social gathering, serves as the quasi-official end of season marker on the island. Area businesspeople and merchants have been going flat out for months, and with the snowbirds largely flown to their northern coops, this is the chance for locals to relax and unwind. So on Wednesday afternoon, Chamber members and supporters gathered at CJ’s on the Bay to catch up with their counterparts, and enjoy picnic food, perhaps along with an adult beverage. But the highlight of the affair focused on the younger generation.
The art scene on Marco Island got a lot brighter this weekend. Specifically, the headquarters building of the Marco Island Center for the Arts received a makeover Saturday, with volunteers applying a splashy multi-colored paint job on the formerly white building. Over two dozen volunteers came out to lend their support, their brushes and rollers, transforming the plain vanilla gallery on Winterberry Drive to a tutti frutti palette of colors reminiscent of Italian ceramics.
The Four Diamonds that the “Three A’s” awarded to the Marco Hilton made Mac Chaudhry one happy manager. AAA, the American Automobile Association, presented a plaque to Chaudhry and the senior staff of the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa on Wednesday afternoon, recognizing the hotel for earning, once again, the coveted “Four Diamond” status in the annual AAA ratings. In a ceremony at the hotel attended by almost two dozen of the Hilton’s managers, from white-toqued chefs to spa director Rachel Coleman, Chaudhry credited his employees with the win.
As is traditional on the Saturday before Mother’s Day Mackle Park was decked out for a mother/daughter social. With a Mad Hatter theme the kids enjoyed everything from arts and crafts, dances, costumes, staff and volunteers in character plus a formal tea party complete with home made finger sandwiches and treats. Lots of the girls were decked out in fancy dresses and hats and it looked like a great day out for those in attendance.
In partnership with Marco Island Academy, with a cast made up of students largely drawn from the Island’s new high school, MISF opens “Twelfth Night” tonight (Friday) at Marco Lutheran Church, with a schedule of performances over the next two weekends. Director Wolff has been working with English classes at MIA, doing readings of the play, and bringing it to the stage allows the students, as well as the audience, to hear Shakespeare in the format for which it was written.
The Marco Island Brewery was packed Saturday afternoon for “Talk Derby to Me,” with enough extravagant hats to make it difficult to see around the restaurant, let alone move around freely. The occasion was the annual fundraiser for Marco’s Upon A Star Foundation, their seventh year holding the Kentucky Derby-themed party. This year, “Talk Derby” featured a new wrinkle, with two causes for the price of one. Proceeds from the afternoon were split between Upon A Star and the Marco Island Academy, the island’s new charter high school. Adding the school’s backers and fund-raising prowess to the established local Upon A Star, which helps local children and families in need, generated a daily double of giving, making all involved winners, regardless of what happened up at that horse race. With 260 attending, the event raised over $40,000 for the two local groups.
Marco Island’s, and Southwest Florida’s, freshman U.S. Congressman came to the island Wednesday evening, spending an hour with the Caxambas Republican Club. This was a homecoming of sorts for Trey Radel, who was preaching to the choir on Marco, comfortable among a group of folks who share his conservative views and helped elect him.
It was tearful and joyful for “Miss Dottie” Weiner as the Greater Marco Family YMCA Aquatics Center was dedicated to her. Ceremonies were held Saturday next to the pool she helped design and raise the money to build. Age didn’t matter, young and older praised Dottie. “I have had many memorable experiences, but coming to Marco was the greatest of them all,” she said to an overflow crowd in and out of the spacious pavilion constructed in Weiner’s honor.
They get such a turnout, said Dianna Dohm, they can’t put on the event at the height of the season. The Marco Island Fire-Rescue Foundation held their pancake breakfast on Sunday, inside the fire station on San Marco Road, and business was brisk. For six dollars, patrons get “all you can eat” pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, coffee and orange juice. Breakfast is an even better deal for police officers and emergency responders, who eat free. A tableful of MIPD officers shared breakfast and conversation with EMT Lt. Isabel Favier.
Marco Island Academy threw an open house to dedicate their new campus Tuesday, and in the bright sunshine, the shadow of Jane Watt loomed large. She is the visionary who imagined a high school for the island, and went out and made it happen. Tuesday afternoon, MIA threw a party, an open house and grand opening to celebrate their new campus on San Marco Road. About 250 wellwishers came out to tour the facilities, congratulate the school’s creators, and in some cases, do a little school shopping for their own children’s education.
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