COASTE Southwest Florida Spring 2018

YourCOASTE.com

SPRING

MARK YOUR CALENDAR : GET SET AND GO !

Where Business is

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: Once Upon a Time There Were the Storytellers

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March: The Olive Shell, Aquamarine, The Olive shell is a spiral shell characterized by intense energy; those born to this shell are courageous, healthy and perceptive

with a bright awareness and spiritual energy. As imaginative as they are compassionate,

those born to the Olive are known as intuitive and kind.

Pendants and rings available in Sterling Silver and 14k Gold. Specific to each month with matching birth gemstone.

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COASTE | EDITOR’S WELCOME

ODE TO PINK SAND.

This past New Year’s holiday, my family had the opportunity (and the blessing) to be able to visit Eleuthera, a sliver of an island more than 100 miles in length in the Bahamas. It was our first winter vacation. We loathe the cold and, as Sanibel residents and true island lovers, we’ve been fortunate to explore most of the islands of the Caribbean with our kids during warmer months and enjoy learning about new cultures by immersing ourselves in them. The online travel images and descriptions of Eleuthera suggest that it promises a somewhat similar experience to our own barrier islands — it’s not flashy touristy, natural beauty abounds, its pace is slow and its people friendly. We found all that to be true. Unfortunately, as our first winter vacation, we failed to account for the possibility that weather could affect our stay. And, as the first week of 2018 arrived, so did a major dose of Arctic cold — reaching not only all the way to southern Florida but eastward as well, to the Bahamas and beyond. Yup. Our long-awaited week of laying on a warm beach, snorkeling in brilliantly clear turquoise waters, exploring vistas and villages with our kids, and otherwise just chilling was just that. Chilly to the point of pretty much being a washout. As we were heading home, however, we spotted a young girl with a plastic jug of pink sand. The Atlantic side of Eluethera offers miles of breathtaking stretches of pure clean sand that does, in fact, have a pink hue. I realized, in that moment, for this little girl, her vacation wouldn’t be remembered for cold temps or cloudy skies or too much time indoors staring at devices. Instead: pink sand. Now, I’m not encouraging you to go grab a milk jug and fill it with sugar sand, please. But what I am encouraging you to do is to embrace your time here — heck, every day of your life — in discovering the wonders and joys all around you, holding them close and remembering them, like this little girl. And bitch less, as adults are wont to do and as I did occasionally during our cold week, about all the things aren’t right, right at the moment. Odds are, we’ll all be happier and healthier for it. John Sprecher Founder | Editor

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Volume IV Number 2

Founder | Executive Editor John Sprecher John@YourCoaste.com Creative Director Director of Photography Milissa Sprecher Milissa@YourCoaste.com Director of Sales Meg Giffen Sales@YourCoaste.com Associate Publisher Andrew Tate Contributing Photographers John Sprecher Various Artists Online & Calendar Editor Eric Sprecher

Periwinkle Place Shopping Center 2075 Periwinkle Way • Suite 24 Sanibel Island, Florida 33957 239.395.2220 • 877.695.1588 MM# 2782

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What’s Happening on Y

June - September — Community Events

Wed nes- days

For your information, you can learn more about the many outstanding destinations to be enjoyed in Lee County via these organizations. Just click or call them today! Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce BocaGrandeChamber.com 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce BonitaSpringsChamber.com 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce CapeCoralChamber.com 239.549.6900 Estero Chamber of Commerce EsteroChamber.com 239.948.7990 Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce FortMyersBeach.org 239.454.7500 Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce FortMyers.org 239.332.3624 Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau FortMyers-Sanibel.com 239.338.3500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce LehighAcresChamber.org 239.369.3322 Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce Sanibel-Captiva.org 239.472.1080 S pt 23- Oct 2 June 18 Enjoy your free Digital edition Of the best of sanibel, captiva and sw Florida 5 times a year, wherever you May be.

WORKING WATERFRONT WALKING TOUR Every Wed The Working Waterfront Walking tour is $15 for adults and $10 f AM, and is a three-hour guided tour that educates the public about the Os on Fort Myers Beach and the commercial fishing industry. Experience shr shop, ships, a seafood market and more. Reservations required. www.Fort CELEBRATE ISLANDS NIGHT WITH FORT MYERS MIRACLE J Celebrate the businesses and residents of Sanibel and Captiva on the 23rd Night on Wednesday, June 1! Come out and watch a pregame parade befo at 7:05 PM at Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. J Club and the Miracle will buy your first drink! For $12, patrons get a gene a voucher for one free drink. www.Sanibel-Captiva.org STORYTIME FOR KIDS AND CAREGIVERS Wednesdays Family Storytime is from 10 AM-11 AM at the Sanibel Public Library, an encourages the development of pre-reading skills through songs, rhymes, stories. Caregivers are asked to model storytime behavior by participating the room until the program ends. No registration is required for this even C aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters COASTE | ON STAGE Sept 10+ 11 Make Your Castle in the Sand! Nov – Jan Getaways Online INTERESTED IN A CRUISE ON THE BAY? 6 PEOPLE MAX CALL FOR RATES AND AVAILBILITY 239 . 229 . 4447 Or how about a shelling trip or lunch cruise?

Cayo Costa State Park # 1 shelling destination 2016 ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST Sept 23 – Oct 2 From Sanibel and Captiva, to Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers, there’s live music here, there and everywhere as 50-plus singer-songwriters come together in Southwest Florida’s fun-tastic festive event. You’ll have to pay attention who’s playing what where, but there’s never a cover charge and always a good time to be had. www.fortmyers-sanibel.com Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board Useppa Island picturesque island retreat GALLOWAY CAPTIVA TRIATHALON Sept 10 & 11 The Galloway Captiva Triathlon is now open to online registration. The Captiva Triathlon is a family, fun and fitness weekend at South Seas Island Resort centered on a children’s race on Saturday morning and an adult sprint-length race on Sunday morning. www.captivatri.org SUBSCRIBE FREE

June - September — On Stage

Lady Chadwick

Cabbage Key “cheeseburger in paradise”

Sunset Cruises wildlife, sailing, or live music

36 co ining an honest and unfiltered narrative of their life story with the world class dancing, creativity d passion they are known for. Collaborating with the greatest choreographers in he busine s and supported by a cast of fellow dance professionals, the show will surprise and delight with timeless elegance and steamy seduction. www.BBManPAH.com www.rentals.viprealty.com 1506 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel, FL 33957 Toll Free (877) 541-6681 239-472-5300 www.captivacruises.com Come out to beautiful Captiva Island. Explore our amazing “out islands” and watch dolphins in the wild. First class tours and expeditions. Customized private charters. Captiva Cruises will be your vacation highlight. MAKS & VAL LIVE ON TOUR: OUR WAY June 18 Brothers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the hottest stars of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” are bringing to life the show they’ve dreamed about since childhood,

St Patrick’s Day Block Party SAT URDAY, MARCH 1 7 TH • NOON–10PM

GET DOWN. HERE. Everyone’s Favorite Downtown Fort Myers River District

WWW.FORTMYERSRIVERDISTRICTALLIANCE.COM

MUSIC WALK Every 3rd Friday (6-10pm)

PET WALK Every 4th Friday

ART WALK Every 1st Friday (6-10pm)

MYSTERY WALK Every 2nd Friday (6-10pm) Seasonal

(6-8pm) Seasonal

RDA Special Events: Car Cruise-In, Bike Night, Downtown Countdown, St. Patrick’s Day, Holiday Stroll, Creative ARTs Market, Downtown Farmers & Arts Market, Freedom Fest, Veterans Day Parade

The River District Alliance would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers and event donors who make Downtown Fort Myers rock!

COASTE CONTENTS

SPRING 18

Sanibel residents Stephanie and Jeff Muddell enjoy a late afternoon walk on the beach. Photograph by Milissa Sprecher Photography.

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TAKE FIVE Lee Ellen Harder, Executive Director of BIG ARTS has momentum and has island culture moving in a big way. HAPPENINGS Play Ball, Fort Myers is home to some of the best baseball this side of opening day. BUZZWORTHY It’s called the Nickel Ride, but doesn’t cost a dime. Take a peek at SWFL’s newest transportation concept. COASTE CALENDAR It’s Southwest Florida’s premier calendar of events, so mark your calendar for all the entertainment, electricity and fun headed your way.

1 2 ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Barnett’s passion is to drive art and faith to collide, to bring positive change while transforming lives in our community.

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20 ATTRACTIONS

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After Hurricane Charley it looked like this South Fort Myers destination for fun had run out of gas. But now business is zooming!

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Visitor season is at its peak, and so is the SWFL event season. Mark your calendars and GO!

WELCOME TO Paradise. Now Where In the World Would You Like to Go?

The beauty of words on paper is in their power to transport you on a journey to any place, at any time. To see the world through another’s eyes. To experience another way of life, long ago or today or even far into the the future. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? What do you want to learn — about the world or about yourself? Your journey is waiting for you to discover, and all you have to do is turn the tturn first page. We’re MacIntosh Books. We love stories. We love people. And we’d love to put the two of you together. Come, visit us. Browse. Sit a while. Talk to us. Whether you’re headed to the beacgot beach or your favorite chair, we can help you get there with a great companion. The end. An Island Playground, Where the Gardens and Sea Unite Beach Front ∙ Sanibel Island’s Only Botanical Gardens ∙ Butterfly Garden ∙ Two Pools 1, 2 and 3 Bedroom Suites ∙ Business Center ∙ Free WiFi Tennis Courts ∙ Kayaks and Canoes ∙ Boat Docks and Dockage Available One of Sanibel Island’s Top Wedding Venues An Island Playground, Where the Gardens and Sea Unite Beach Front ∙ Sanibel Island’s Only Botanical Gardens ∙ Butterfly Garden ∙ Two Pools 1, 2 and 3 Bedroom Suites ∙ Business Center ∙ Free WiFi Tennis Courts ∙ Kayaks and Canoes ∙ Boat Docks and Dockage Available One of Sanibel Island’s Top Wedding Venues An Island Pl yground, Where the Gardens nd Sea Unite Beach Front ∙ Sanibel’s Only Botanical Gardens ∙ Butterfly Garden ∙ Two Pools 1, 2 & 3 Bedroom Suites ∙ Computer Stations ∙ Free WiFi Tennis Courts ∙ Kayaks & Canoes ∙ Boat Docks/Dockage Available One of Sanibel’s Top Wedding Venues 239-472-4 19 | 800-237-5144 | sanibelmoorings.com 845 East Gulf Drive | Sa i I , Fl rida 33957 Books For Adults & Children | Papers, Stationery & More 239-472-4119 | 800-237-5144 | www.sanibelmoorings.com 845 East Gulf Drive | Sanibel Island, Florida 33957 239-472-4119 | 800-237-5144 | www.sanibelmoorings.com 845 East Gulf Drive | Sanibel Island, Florida 33957 Mar 15 | 11 am-1pm John Keyse-Walker Book Signing “Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed” March 24 | 2 PM John DuFresne Book Signing “Flash!” Writing Very Brief Fiction All New Store! 2330 Palm Ridge Road | Sanibel | 239.472.1447 | MacIntoshBooks.com

ASTE - JUNJUL16MS.indd 35

5/24/16 2:45

WHEN A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST…

PANTHER PRINTING HEARS IT!

That is why Panther Printing is FSC ® Certified and FSC ® Certified by the Rainforest Alliance ™ . By using FSC ® certified paper and envelopes, you are:

What is FSC?

Join us, and feel your spirit soar at what your skills can accomplish. Gulfshore Ballet is Southwest Florida’s premier not-for-profit school for classical ballet. Artistically directed by Franklin Gamero and Iliana Lopez, former principal dancers with the Miami City Ballet, the school offers quality classical ballet programs in pre-ballet through pre- professional divisions, pas de deux with variations, as well as adult beginner and intermediate programs. Prepare for takeoff. • Protecting wildlife and their habitats, along with threatened and endangered species. • Preserving forests and natural resources. • Preven ing ch mical use and disposal. • Planting tr es in harve ted areas to create sustainable for ts. • Promoting worker safety. Afterall… Bears, Elk, Deer, Moose, Owls, and (of course) Panthers flourish in sustainably-harvested forests.

Learntoflywithout ever leaving theground.

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council ™ – an internationally recognized forest certification organization that rigorously certifies forest operations to ensure sustainable pulp and paper harvesting.

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Book a trip & CREATE MEMORIES on theWater!

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FULL-DAY EVERGLADES EXCURSION An Adventure You Won’t Forget!

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA By John Sprecher

HOW STORYTELLERS CREATIVE ARTS IS WORKING TO CONNECT FAITH WITH THE ARTS, ARTISTS WITH EACH OTHER AND TALENTS WITH CHALLENGES TO TRANSFORM LIVES THROUGH THE ARTS

BILL BARNETT IS A MAN ON A MISSION. A MISSION HE’S BEEN ON SINCE 1991. A MISSION HE FIRST FELT WAS HIS LIFE’S CALLING 27 YEARS AGO.

That mission is to utilize his skills as an artist, combine that perspective with a passionate Christian faith, and create opportunities for artists — of all talents, styles and genres — to reach out to each other, as well as to persons (young to old) of our community who are in various ways challenged, to affect positive change and transform the course of a person’s life. If that sounds like a lofty goal, well, it is. But Bill Barnett is not aman to back down from tough circumstances, or his life’s purpose. Bill was raised in a single parent home, one of six, facing many challenges that would try to thwart his realization of dreams to one day make a difference in the world.

The arts were his passion. “I attended a high school for the arts in New York, with close to 2,000 creatives and a lot of pressure to perform. Creating art was my escape — my way of connecting with God and experiencing acceptance, love and affirmation, which relieved these pressures, and gave me true identity.” Eventually, Barnett left school, and began serving the church and community by starting a graphic arts business. “The burden that I felt as an artist,” he recalls, “relating with my peers and other creatives, led me to want to find ways to nurture creative souls, connect them with each other, inspiring them to heal and transform lives through faith and the arts.”

“We’re connecting the arts to faith, and that’s our unique niche.” - Bill Barnett, Executive Director of Storytellers Creative Arts

COASTE | ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 15

Today, Barnett is realizing that visionas President of Storytellers Creative Arts, a faith-based, non-profit organization serving Collier and Lee Counties with the purpose to “heal and transform lives through the arts.” The board of seven creative and highly competent men andwomen are passionately driving the mission, enhancing the impact of Storytellers. Barnett explains that in the Bible, Ephesians 2:10 “affirms that we are God’s masterpiece and that He has called us to create, to glorify Him and impact the world. Our stories are connected to the story of the One who has made us unique —with creative gifts that can transform the lives of the least, the last and the lost.” Barnett, a graduate of Warner University, moved to Southwest Florida in 2003, and purposefully sought out the arts communities, focusing part of his efforts on connecting artists with each other for professional purposes and camaraderie — such as the Storytellers Creative Arts conference that presents inspirational workshops featuring artists in visual arts, film, acting, writing, music, the media and more. Storytellers also hosts social gatherings for artists, performers, writers and similar creative artists, as well as small community groups, concerts and art shows. At the same time, given his background, passion and faith, Storytellers also focused on reaching and helping artists struggling with emotional or lifestyle challenges find hope, direction and positive outcomes. Ultimately, that focus expanded to include more diverse needs — from dependency and recovery, to physical or developmental disabilities, to at-risk or disadvantaged youth. Today, his team of artistic volunteers and mentors, now numbering some 60 women and men, are regularly reaching out to transform lives in the community, partnering

{ WWW.STORYTELLERSCREATIVEARTS.ORG }

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with organizations such as the David Lawrence Center, St. Matthew’s House, PACE Center for Girls, Lighthouse of Collier (serving the blind and visually impaired) and even after-school programs. The ministry has expanded to other parts of Florida and recently, Georgia and Virginia. In all, Barnett estimates that close than 3,000 lives are touched each year by theministry of Storytellers Creative Arts. “We have a two-part mission,” he explains. “One, connecting with the heart of the artist and two, inspiring them to find ways to use their skills so that they can go out into the community and change lives.” While that outreach work may hint at the concept of art therapy, Bill Barnett emphasizes that it’s a different road he and Storytellers Creative Arts take. “A typical session at a recovery program would start with music, prayer and group discussion, before we transition to an arts project — it could be visual, drama, sculpture, or a drumming session. We’re connecting the arts to faith, and that’s our unique niche.”

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“The momentum has been incredible.”

By John Sprecher

BIG Arts of Sanibel Island (Barrier Island Group) is one of Lee County’s oldest and most prestigious organizations devoted to the expression and education of the arts. Founded in 1979, BIG ARTS will commemorate 40 years of service to Sanibel, Captiva and Southwest Florida next year. As Executive Director, Lee Ellen Harder has presided over BIG ARTS since 2005. Her leadership and vision — in concert with a passionate board of directors, a strategic planning initiative and more than 300 highly-invested volunteers — have seen the organization grow tremendously in programming and production in those 13 years. Today, BIG ARTS is demonstrating that one of America’s great beach destinations can also be one of America’s great arts and cultural communities. And everyone, be they residents or visitors, benefits by that.

Photo: John Sprecher

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Next year, BIGARTS celebrates 40 years of arts and cultural advocacy. That’s quite an accomplishment for an organization created by a group of artists who were just looking for a place tomeet. Yes, our founding artists would meet at homes, on the beach, wherever they could. As interest and the community grew, they explored options for a headquarters. A realtor donated an old cottage, and it wasmoved to city property andBIGARTS came to life. It’s been a wonderful public-private partnership with the City of Sanibel. We are so proud of what the organization has done over 40 years, adding programs and concerts and shows. Where does BIGARTS rank today among Southwest Florida arts organizations? I would prefer not to rank anything, but let’s say that by our location on Sanibel and Captiva, with the support of resident and visitors, we’re kind of in a class of our own. How has BIGARTS grown or evolved over the years? Today we have about 1,400 members, which has grown significantly over the past few years — and our communications database is much larger. But what’s most important is how our programming has evolved. We’ve made a conscientious effort to reach a wider demographic, and it’s working. We’ve sold out almost every show we’ve put on this year, and the momentum is incredible. I think it’s because we’re recognizing and responding to what the community wants and needs out of its arts group. What makes BIGARTS unique? I don’t know that we’re unique per se, but although we’re professionally led and we doprofessional strategic planning annually, we havemore than300 active volunteers and they’ve been influential and invaluable in helping us shape what we bring the community, be it film or classical music or educational programs. We wouldn’t be what we are without them. You enjoy exceptional support from the community, too? Yes we do. About 50% of our operating budget is derived of donations from our many community supporters. We’re a beach destination, true, yet a pretty tight knit community. We have a warm and welcoming feeling here when you visit BIG ARTS, whether you’re a long time member or first time guest. And that’s unique. Art classes, discussion groups, lecture series, the performers on our stages of a national level with equity actors — it’s all incredible. But it’s all because of the support of our community.

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COASTE | TAKE FIVE 19

Once abandoned for years as a casualty of Hurricane Charley, today this Fort Myers attraction stands as a beacon of success WHERE, YOU MIGHT SAY...

20 COASTE | ATTRACTIONS

BUSINESS IS

By John Sprecher

F or those who’ve lived or vacationed regularly in Southwest Florida since 2004, one of the longest-standing reminders of the destructive effects that Hurricane Charley rained on our community was a lonely promise of fun on the corner of Summerlin Road and Safety Street. There, a colorfully painted building that hinted at games and rides and laughter — identified by its signage as Zoomers Family Amusement Park — stood abandoned, overgrown and rusting. Year after year after year, seven years in all. Fortunately for kids everywhere (and the kid in all of us), a gentleman named Mike Barnes had taken notice .

It wasn’t that Barnes had much chance to avoid Zoomers, given that he passed the vacated property twice every day for those seven years while transporting his two girls to and from school. “The sight of Zoomers always got them excited,” he recalls. “And then one day, I had the opportunity to become interested.” When Zoomers first broke ground in 2002, the original partners and financiers of the project could hardly have imagined the stretch of rough road ahead of them, as well as their 18 acres of kiddie rides, arcade games and a go kart track that actually traveled right through the middle of the building. But a Category Four hurricane not only destroyed homes and businesses, but dreams up and down the Southwest Florida coast. Add to it a slowly tanking economy that eventually led to the Great Recession, and Zoomers in fact experienced bankruptcy twice — first declared by its owners and later, when the bank itself holding the papers was shuttered by the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

Barnes, A Fort Myers Beach resident for 25 years, with a history in real estate development and other commercial ventures mostly in his native Iowa, had followed the history and listing price of the property for a number of years. But when the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) took ownership in 2010, things got serious and he called a family meeting to address the subject of going into the attractions business. “Everybody voted yes,” he remembers. “The kids were 13 or 14 years old then, and very excited about going there and having birthday parties.” In 2011, the property and all of its assets — once upon a time listed for $14 million — was purchased at auction for only $1.4 million. Barnes immediately went to work and over the next year invested significantly via capital, hard work and enthusiastic vision to reopen on June 12, 2012. Roughly 10 years after the dream of Zoomers began, it finally had come true. And his kids, now 21 years old and who also once dreamed of playing there, realized that and more — getting jobs that lasted until they attended college.

COASTE | ATTRACTIONS 23

Today, with annual growth of more than 10% and 120,000-plus visitors last year, Zoomers Amusement Park ranks among the top tourism attractions in Lee County and comes highly recommended by visitors on TripAdvisor. Currently, the centerpiece of the park is its two go kart courses — a more traditional “road” track and a speed-lover’s “slick” track” — along with roller coaster, bumper boats, tilt-a-whirl, a 115-foot- long water-dry slide, midway rides for smaller children, mini-golf, plus more than $1 million of arcade games waiting for you indoors. “It’s fun towander around theplacewhen it’s packed and see all the smiling faces,” beams Barnes, whose favorite ride is letting it rip on a go kart. At Zoomers, those faces may be toddlers, a gathering of eight-year-olds for a catered birthday party or special event, teens and young adults on a date, even adult couples or groups sans children.

In an interesting marketing twist, admission to Zoomers is free; you become a paying customer when you choose to play games or ride rides.

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Oh, and those of legal alcohol consumption take note: while Zoomers has always served wine and beer, a new full-service watering hole just opened this January — what General Manager Yicela Almeida describes as something of an “outdoor sports bar with televisions, pool table, air hockey and more, right in the middle of the park, perfect whether you’re alone or keeping an eye on your kids.” With three to five acres still ready for development, Mike Barnes — who’s a very young 64 years of age — notes that there’s certainly the possibility of new fun and games coming to Zoomers. “We could expand quite easily,” he explains, “and we’ll have the parking to accommodate that growth. I have no attractions background, but I’ve learned a lot and love this place. It truly is a fun business. When you see these faces light up, it’s very cool.” {WWW.ZOOMERSAMUSEMENTPARK.COM}

It’s that time of year again, when spring is in the air and a young man’s fancy turns to the crack of a bat impacting a 95-mile-per-hour fastball as Major League Baseball returns to Southwest Florida with the annual rite of spring training. The games begin Friday, February 23 at 1.05 PM for both clubs as the Twins travel to Fenway South to open the season against the Red Sox. Over the next five weeks, the Red Sox (17 home games at JetBlue Park) and Twins (16 home games at Hammond Stadium) will play to sell out crowds virtually every day, helping to generate what a 2015 study estimates as more than $50 million of economic impact in Lee County. But this isn’t about money, this is about picturesque and perfectly manicured green expanses of ball field, sunny blue skies, friendly small crowds, major league stars, wanna-be dreamers, chances at autographs or a foul ball, and being close enough to hear an umpire yell: “Play ball!” Tickets go fast, so get your tickets now. Boston Red Sox Tickets www.MLB.com/RedSox/Spring-Training Minnesota Twins Tickets www.MLB.com/Twins/Spring-Training THE BOYS OF SPRING. By John Sprecher

Shamrock ‘n Roll All Day ‘n Night

Shamrock and roll all day and night at the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Southwest Florida On March 17th, Downtown Fort Myers turns green at the annual “St. Patrick’s Day Downtown” event. The festivities will begin at 12PM and will continue until 10PM in the heart of the Fort Myers River District. Free to the public, the event promises fun for the entire family. Enjoy live music fromThe Echo, Iconic, and The Electric Mud, as well as food and drink specials, games including darts for prizes, corn hole, and of course, plenty of cold beer. For more information, visit www.RiverDistrictAlliance.com The River District Alliance (RDA) is a 501(c)3 dedicated to promoting and enhancing the development of the Historic River District as a hub of economic social activity.

MARK YOUR T CALENDAR Whether you’re into the classics or have a passion for pop, find yourself captivated by live theatre or drawn into the drama on a canvas, or are simply seeking the perfect way to enjoy the area without lathering on the sunscreen, Southwest Florida has you covered with a variety of museums, concerts, performances and shopping to keep you active and entertained. Explore fresh perspectives as you take on some of the classic adventures, diversify with piano concerts and sand sculpting, or simply visit the treasured favorites and nationally-acclaimed. The lights are flashing; it’s time to take your seats. Which will you choose?

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T GET SE T AND GO

Southwest Florida is home to some of the best events, happenings, theaters, performance centers, museums and more with must-see stars, shows and events in the country!

’ S 4th Birthday Bash February - April | Southwest Florida That’s right, it’s Southwest Florida COASTE’s fourth birthday,

COASTE

and we’re inviting the world (we do have subscribers across the globe!) to join us in the celebration. Simply subscribe free anytime between February 1 – April 30, and you’re entered to win a grand birthday party gift: a three-night Captiva Island holiday at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, valued at $500. If you’re already a subscriber, visit Sanibel Captiva COASTE on Facebook and wish us “Happy Birthday,” and you’re entered too! www.YourCoaste.com/Subscribe

NOISES OFF Through February 17 | BIG ARTS Called the funniest farce ever written, “Noises Off” presents a manic menagerie as a cast of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing’s On. Doors slamming, on and offstage intrigue, and an errant herring all figure in the plot of this hilarious and classically comic play. www.BIGARTS.org

MICHAEL MCDONALD February 18 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes and personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. Hailing from St. Louis, McDonald arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, honing his talents as a studio musician before becoming the iconic voice of the Doobie Brothers. www.bbmannpah.com

STAYIN’ ALIVE February 28 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

Some tribute bands sound good. Some look good. Some move and dance like the originals. Every once in a while, you get this powerhouse combination of sounds GREAT, looks GREAT, stage presence is GREAT, show is GREAT, light show is GREAT!!! You’ll have a night like this with this Bee Gees Tribute Band, “Stayin’ Alive.” You might want to break out the white bell bottoms, low neck shirt (for the guys) with the eight-inch collars or perhaps a leisure suit. But if you were there back then, you’ll want to be here this night! www.bbmannpah.com

PAULA POUNDSTONE March 2 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Heralded as one of our country’s foremost comics, Paula Poundstone’s quick-thinking, unscripted approach to comedy makes for a perfect fit as a regular panelist on National Public Radio’s top show, the screwball weekly news quiz “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” Poundstone has also appeared on the hit television drama, “Major Crimes” and done commentaries for “CBS Sunday Morning.” www.bbmannpah.com

BRAHMS V. RADIOHEAD March 4 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall A Symphonic Mash-up Experience - Conductor and composer Steve Hackman masterfully combines classical and popular repertoire into cross-genre works and performances that intrigue the established audience and engage and excited new one. This performance will combine all four movements of Brahms’s First Symphony (1887) with Radiohead’s album “OK Computer” (1997) complete with vocals. This show is not to be missed. www.swflso.org

NIGHT AND DAY Through March 11 | Florida Repertory Theatre

Don’t miss this world premiere by Florida Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Robert Cacioppo! “Night and Day: Love Lost and Found Through the Eyes of Cole Porter” is a thrilling and glamorous revue featuring over 40 songs from a film, Broadway and recording career that spanned decades. Fall back in love with Cole Porter’s classics like “It’s De-Lovely” or “Let’s fall in Love” and many more! www.floridarep.org

RECYCLED PERCUSSION March 16 | Big Arts

Formed in 1994 in New Hampshire at their high school talent show, Recycled Percussion’s first performance gave birth to the style of music now known as Junk Rock. This small-town band has built their show into one of the more powerful live performances in entertainment history. During every show, the band mixes their gritty assault on buckets, power tools or anything else they can get their sticks on with a sense of humor and gravity defying athleticism in the tradition of “Cirque du Soleil.” Recycled Percussion is a “don’t miss experience” that will take your breath away. www.bigarts.org

GET THE LED OUT March 20 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall From the bombastic and epic, to the folky and mystical, Get The Led Out (GTLO) has captured the essence of the recorded music of Led Zeppelin and brought it to the concert stage. A Get The Led Out concert mimics the “light and shade” that are the embodiment of “The Mighty Zep.”Whether it’s the passion and fury with which they deliver the blues-soaked, groove-driven rock anthems, it’s their attention to detail and nuance that makes a Get The Led Out performance a truly awe-inspiring event! www.bbmannpah.com

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROL KING MUSICAL April 3-8 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall The Carole King Musical tells the Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. www.bbmannpah.com

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND April 12 | Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Now in their eighth year, Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band has earned their reputation as one of the premier live acts touring today. The 12-piece ensemble, led by the husband-and- wife team of guitarist Derek Trucks and guitarist-singer Susan Tedeschi, is a true collective; a rarity in rock-and-roll with every musician featured nightly while serving the band’s unified vision, pushing the boundaries of group dynamics and improvisation to inspiring new heights. Praised by reviewers for their “joy-filled blast of blues, soul and rock” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and “stellar musicianship” (Denver Post), TTB is a touring juggernaut, on the road over 200 days a year and never playing the same set list twice. www.bbmannpah.com

buzz worthy

REQUEST • RIDE • ARRIVE Downtown Fort Myers | Cape Coral

Southwest Florida’s most groundbreaking transportation solution has arrived. Launched in Fall of 2017 in the Historic Downtown River District, the Nickel Ride has since expanded into Cape Coral and has its eyes set on more locations across Southwest Florida. The rapid success and expansion of the Nickel Ride can be attributed to its innovative business plan that aims to involve the local business community and the unique in-vehicle experience provided by highly vetted brand ambassador drivers that act as friendly experts and local guides to every person that hails a ride. What sets The Nickel Ride apart? Every ride is 100-percent free and eco-friendly. Request a ride by phone at 855-WE-R-FREE (855-937-3733), and get whisked away inminutes on a $25,000 all-electric Polaris Gem e6, a vehicle similar to a golf cart. How does the Nickel Ride keep its services free? Every vehicle in the Nickel Ride fleet is a host for local advertisers and business owners. Current partners include Hotel Indigo, Remedies Parlor, RE/MAX, the Cape Coral Farmers Market, Tiki Hut Bar &Grill at Dolphin Key, and more.

Judah Longgrear, the 27-year old entrepreneur behind the Nickel Ride was inspired by a similar rideshare service in Miami. “I saw that both visitors and local businesses located in Fort Myers, Fort MyersBeach, andother areas inSouthwest Florida could really benefit from the service,” he said. “So far, our business model has been embraced by both the Downtown Fort Myers and South Cape Coral communities,” he said. “We can’t wait to see where we’ll start service next!” The Nickel Ride encourages you to join them for a ride, and ask friends and family to experience The Nickel Ride. Every ride supports the mission to encourage community exploration and to strengthen the local business community. If a local business is interested in creating a lasting impression on every single passenger, interior and exterior advertising opportunities, and a multitude of marketing options are available for all businesses and budgets.

TRY IT YOURSELF 855-WE-R-FREE

The Nickel Ride thenickelride.co| 239.472.5161

34 COASTE | BUZZWORTHY

Too far to walk but too close to drive? Hop on The Nickel Ride.

What’s Happening on Your

November - January Community Events

FEB- APR

FEB- APR

FORT MYERS MUSIC WALK (FEB - APR) On the third Friday of every month from6 PM - 10 PM, the River District comes alive with local music! Numerous participating venues feature livemusic by local and regional talent. Restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops also showcase a wide range of music during themonthly MusicWalk. Featuring jazz, blues, rock, drumcircles, and piano, guests can expect to hear a wide variety of musical genres. Many venues will also feature additional attractions such as wine and food tastings. FortMyersRiverDistrictAlliance.com

DOWNTOWN FORT MYERS ART WALK (FEB - APR) On the first Friday of eachmonth from6 PM - 10 PM— art fans can enjoy an evening of visual arts, art gallery openings andmore! Over 11 art galleries invite locals and visitors to a self-guided tour throughout the Downtown Fort Myers River District core and Gardener’s Park area. Art enthusiasts can evenmeet the artists at most of the galleries and enjoy live art demonstrations! FortMyersArtWalk.com

FEB- APR

FORT MYERS MYSTERY WALK (FEB - APR) Every second Friday of themonth, Mystery Walk is a festival that combines culture and different mediums of art to bring our community together in an educational experience! Elements of performance art, street art, digital art, community interactive art, visual art andmusic all formas one to createMysteryWalk. TheMystery is that guests will never know what to expect ! FortMyersRiverDistrictAlliance.com

FEB- APR

FEB- APR

GREENMARKET (EVERY SAT FROM FEB - APR) Saturdays from9AM - 1 PM, the Alliance of the Arts hosts an exclusive selection of locally grown, caught and cultivated foods, as well as a number of other products available for purchase. Live entertainment, fun activities for kids, gardening classes, and live cooking provided by local chefs. ArtInLee.org

EDISON FESTIVAL of LIGHT 5K/PARADE February 17 Calling all runners to come join the 1,500 participants in the sanctioned race that has received national recognition due to the rich history, enthusiastic participants and thousands of cheering fans. Runners will race along with the Grand Parade route and cross the finish line just in time for the parade to begin. EdisonFordWinterEstates.org

FEB- APR

LOCAL ROOTS FARMER’S MARKETS (FEB - MAR) Local Roots is the largest sponsor of Farmer’s Markets in Southwest Florida, with nine locations across Lee County. You’ll enjoy the freshest in fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and a lot more. Days and times vary by market location in Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, Lakes Park (Fort Myers), Coconut Point, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers River District, Boca Grande and Fenway South . BuyLocalLee.com

COASTE | Events Calendar 37

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA UFO AND PARANORMAL CONFERENCE (DEC 2) This event is for everyone interested in themysteries of our world and beyond. Lectures, discussions and presentations by many special guest speakers will run throughout the day from

FEB 17th

THE GRAND PARADE OF LIGHT (Feb 17) From7PM– 10PM, come join 200,000 spectators for the largest illuminated night parade in the region. Admire themany floats, balloons, bands and specialty units as they will make their way along the twomile parade path fromFort Myers High School through downtownFortMyers. Street seating is available for purchase at $10. VIP tickets to view the parade at Harborside Event Center can be purchased at $55 and include food, beverage, indoor or outdoor seating. fortmyers-sanibel.com

10AM– 7PM. The UFO and Paranormal Conference is from9AM - 8 PMat the Araba Shrine Temple, 2010Hanson Street, Fort Myers. Vendor hall is open 9AM– 6 PM, and the lounge area will be open from11AM– 8 PM for socializing. Fortmyers-sanibel.com

FEB 24th

FORTMYERS FILMFESTIVAL (MAR 21) The Fort Myers FilmFestival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. The Fort Myers FilmFestival is known for world-class swagger and support of local filmmakers. The event has featured hundreds of local filmmakers and is amust attend for all who love indie filmand film festivals. VIP tickets are available and lots of fun. fortmyersfilmfestival.com

MAR 21st

MAR 17th

ST PATRICK’S DAY (MAR17) • RIVER DISTRICT BLOCK PARTY Festivities begin at 12PMand will continue until 10PM in the heart of the Fort Myers River District. Free to the public Fortmyersriverdistrictalliance.com • FORTMYERS BEACH ST. PATRICKS DAY PARADE 10:00AM - The route will be fromSantini Marina Plaza North on Estero Blvd. to the Church of the Ascension. fortmyersbeach.org • SOUTH CAPE 4TH ANNUAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY TROLLEY EVENT $10Advance Tickets - Take a Trolley ride on a Irish inspired pub crawl in Cape Coral’s Entertainment District! southcapeentertainment.com

MAR 31

ISLAND EASTER EGGHUNT (MAR 31) From11AM-1PM, join Sanibel Community Church for a free lunch, games, prizes andmore. This is a FREE event that is fun for the whole family. sanibelchurch.com

APR 25-29

FORTMYERS BEACH FILMFESTIVAL (APR 25-29) The Fort Myers Beach FilmFestival is back for its 12th year, attracting independent film fans, filmmakers, and distributors to spend five fabulous days and nights on the Gulf beaches of Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Attendees come fromall over the world to exchange ideas, make new contacts, and enjoy some compelling and interesting films encompassing a wide range of tastes. Events and films for all ages. fmbfilmfest.com

FEB- APR

IMPROV TONIGHT (FEB-APRIL) Behere thefirst Saturdayof every month for someof Southwest Florida’s best improvisational comedy.BonitaCity Improv performsmusical improv, games and scenes that include suggestionsprovidedby you, the audience!Every show is different withspecial guests always popping in fromnationally touring improvgroups.Be as involved in the showas you’d like,whether you’re just setting a scenewithyour suggestions, orwhether you’reonstage as a volunteer!Beer andwine available.At theCenters for the ArtsBonitaSprings. artcenterbonita.org

FEBRUARY - APRIL ON STAGE

FEB 13 - MAR7

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL (MAR 13 - 18) It began as oneman’s story…became everyone’s music…and is nowBroadway’smusical. “Motown theMusical” is the trueAmerican dreamstory ofMotown founder BerryGordy’s journey fromfeatherweight boxer to the heavyweightmusicmogul who launched the careers of DianaRoss,Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson andmanymore.Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us allmove to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “MyGirl” and“Ain’t No MountainHighEnough,” experience the story behind themusic in the record-breaking smashhitMotown theMusical! bbmannpah.com

MAR 13-18

THE MIRACLE WORKER (FEB 13 - MAR 7) One of themost inspirational stories of all time, “TheMiracle Worker” shares the story of Annie Sullivan the determined teacher to save youngHelen Keller fromher isolated and silent life. The Keller family hired Sullivan to help their mute and blind daughter learn to communicate and interact with the world around her. Sullivan sees Helen for more than what others see — a spoiled and violent child. Against all odds, Sullivan is able to break through and openHelen’s mind and forever

MAR20 - APR 11

MAR8 - APR7

change her world. floridarep.org

DAMES AT SEA (MAR 8 - APR 7) In the early 1930s, a Broadway musical is in rehearsal. Mona Kent is its temperamental diva star, Joan a wise- cracking chorus girl, and Hennesy the producer- manager-director. The naive Ruby arrives from Utah determined to be a Broadway star. She promptly faints into the arms of Dick, a sailor and aspiring songwriter. Ruby gets a job in the chorus, but Hennesy informs the cast that the theater must be torn down, and they must find another place for the show. Joan and Lucky, another sailor and her former boyfriend, renew their romance while Ruby admits her feelings for Dick. bigarts.org

CABARET (MAR 20 - APR 11) The sun is setting on the 1920s and in a Berlin nightclub, the master of ceremonies tells the audience to leave their troubles on the outside. WithKit Kat Klub as themusic backdrop, Cabaret seeks the dark and tumultuous lives of Berlin’s citizens and expats as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Nazi Party. Electrifying and harrowing, Cabaret follows anAmerican writer in Berlin, his love affair with an English singer, Sally Bowles, and his journey of self-discovery and awakening in a dangerous time. floridarep.org

MAR27 - APR 1

THE BODYGUARD (MAR 27 - APR 1) Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A breathtakingly romantic thriller, THEBODYGUARD features a host of irresistible classics including “Queen of the Night,” “So Emotional,” “OneMoment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “IWanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest selling songsofalltime–“IWillAlwaysLoveYou.” bbmannpah.com

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