You can’t really “hide” eggs on a soccer field. The pancake-flat, clipped grassy area held no cover for 20,000 brightly colored plastic eggs, waiting for swarms of eager, not to say rapacious, young children to come and scoop them up into buckets, bags and baskets. The Easter egg hunt and, again, “hunt” is the traditional term, but it could perhaps more accurately be termed the Easter egg grab provides the culmination of the massive kiddie party that is the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Spring Jubilee.
The section of the island is called “Old Marco,” and the name may be more apt than many people realize. Just steps away from the Snook Inn at the north end of Bald Eagle Drive, Gene Erjavec led a group of Boy Scouts on a tour down into Marco Island’s past, excavating their way down through the remains of 10,000 years of human habitation. The area is a hotbed of history. Just around the corner at what is now Vernon Place, the storied Key Marco Cat was unearthed in 1896 by a Smithsonian expedition led by Frank Cushing. The earliest modern settlement of Marco Island took place here, and the spot chosen for the dig once held the home of Ralph Doxee, whose family clam cannery provided a major early economic engine for Marco.
Local Re/Max real estate associates have a lot of reasons to celebrate about 430,000,000 of them. That figure, $430 million, is the total dollar volume for the brokerage group as a whole last year. This number, which should cheer all Marco Island property owners and the office’s friendly competitors, puts the Re/Max Affinity Plus at number two for Re/Max offices in the entire state of Florida, behind only the Sarasota affiliate.
With their legs a little heavier, but their hearts and wallets a little lighter, Marco Island has put another Relay for Life into the record books. Uncounted hundreds, comprising 29 different teams, walked around and around the track, moved for this year to Mackle Park, starting at 4 p.m. on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and carrying on through the night till 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
The Friends Of Tigertail Beach once again called on volunteers to help clean up Tigertail Beach on Saturday, at the annual Bay Days cleanup event. Garbage bags and work gloves were provided courtesy of Keep Collier Beautiful.
Members of Just Friends enjoyed a cooking demo at CJ’s with Chef Laura Owen. They were given a tour of the kitchen as Owen explained the various posts of food preparation. The lunch demo included a main dish, salad, dessert and wine. Owen gave cooking hints and shared some favorite cook book titles with the group.
What is a cycling event without a scandal? In the aftermath of the fourth annual Tour de Marco on Sunday morning, controversy reared its head. Okay, not really. But rider Eric Emmer, who signed up for and completed the 30-mile ride, the longest of the three distances available, did point out afterward that it wasn’t really 30 miles.
Marco Island boasts many exhibits, galleries, and shows opportunities to “expose yourself to art,” as the saying goes but over the weekend, the island took a step into the big leagues of art. The Marco Island Festival of the Arts, held Saturday and Sunday in Veterans Community Park, brought over 150 artists together, both top national names and accomplished locals, in a juried show put on by promoter Howard Alan. He is responsible for some of the nation’s most-respected art fairs, including the Downtown Aspen Art Festival, the Downtown Venice Art Classic, St. Armands Circle Art Festival, and the Las Olas Art Fairs.
Attendance was strong at the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Monday afternoon. For this 14th annual event, the official clicker showed 393 visitors with 45 minutes still to go at 5:45. The function room at the Marriott was filled, and so was the parking lot, with essentially every space taken, creative interpretations used to make additional spots, and cars trailing anyone who walked toward the parked cars, eager to snap up the vacancy created.
Just over 100 years ago, a father and son team explored the wilderness surrounding Marco Island. A sampling of their work is on display through March 29 at the Marco Island Historical Museum, and on March 19, the academic who helped bring them to light lectured on how they came to be.
What a difference a day makes. While the Knights of Columbus fish fry Friday has pulled in as many as 800 diners to the San Marco parish hall, Wednesday’s spaghetti dinner drew “only” 270, said K of C Deputy Grand Knight Joseph Fatony. “It’s very light. There were other things going on on the island,” he said, mentioning a lunch that day at the Italian-American Club, as well as the Mutts & Martinis event at the Esplanade. In an ironic blend of cultures and cuisines, the dinner, hosted by the K of C, was a benefit for the Sons and Daughters of Erin, to help defray the expenses of their recent St. Patrick’s Day parade. Sons and Daughters founder Kathleen Reynolds, who is also a Columbiette, the knights’ ladies auxiliary, was on hand helping out.
No dog has a burning desire to dress up in a fancy costume. Their owners, on the other paw, eat this stuff up like dog yummies. Hundreds came out to the Esplanade on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon for “Mutts & Martinis,” the sixth annual “Yappy Hour” event. Mutts & Martinis raises funds for Bedtime Bundles, the local children’s charity, and does a great job of it.
Over 500 got up early to run the 6th Annual Bridge Run, with both a half marathon and 5k distance available. The half marathoners set off first, starting from the Shops of Marco at 7:30 a.m. before the sun rose, although the spectacular full moon had just dipped below the opposite horizon. Over 300 ran the longer distance, which included ascending the Stan Gober Memorial Bridge by Goodland, then turning around and climbing it again, after running through the tree-lined streets of Key Marco.
A convocation of eagle lovers met at the Island Country Club for an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing. The bywords for Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation’s March 16 Fourth Annual Nest Fest Gala’s were education and conservation. Their goal is to continue to conserve the eagles and Marco Eagle Sanctuary located on Tigertail Court, where over 100 species of birds have been identified.
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.”
Dr. Frankenstein had only the best intentions really. But his plan to ease the suffering of mankind, by making it possible to bring people back from the dead, hit some serious snags. These are recounted onstage this weekend during three performances of “Frankenstein A New Musical” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday” at Marco Lutheran Church.
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