COASTE | DEC 2016 - JAN 2017



M eet t he L ittle R um T hat C ould 36 YEARS OF SATIRE AND STATEMENTS

The Artistry of Political Cartoonist and Author Doug MacGregor

ALWAYS FREE PLUS: SWFL’s Premier Events Calendar

Years of Focused Real Estate Experience | Professional and Reliable Providing the Service You Deserve | International Networking | State-of-the-Art Website

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‘TIS THE SEASON TO EXTEND TO YOU OUR WARMEST WISHES. I’ll always remember the very first time I visited Southwest Florida over the holidays — and specifically the very first time I traveled ever-so-slowly along Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. At that time a resident of the Midwest, my theretofore experience with holiday tree decorations primarily consisted of evergreens or pines with traditionally boring lights, more often than not draped haphazardly (my style) on said tree. But not here, not on this lane, not on this night. This was a strange, new world unfolding right before my eyes, and I was a kid again filled with wonder. Palm trees, trunks wrapped up, up, up to the black night sky, where tropically colored lights danced upon fronds in the breeze. Inflatable Santas, reindeer, snowmen and more all along the way, greeting me as if I were the parade. And oh, open the windows — how great does that warm air smell and feel? I hope to never forget or take for granted the charm of the holidays here in Southwest Florida. My hope for you is that they bring you the same — a sense of awe, an appreciation of your blessings, and renewed inspiration for a wonderful and better new year. Enjoy, and enjoy our holiday issue, all wrapped up with delightful stories of the people and places that make our coastal paradise so special.

John Sprecher Founder | Editor


Volume III Number 5 Volume III Number 4

UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP Come Experience Our New Menu! Sanibel’s Award Winning Casual Restaurant i i l st ra t

Founder | Executive Editor John Sprecher Creative Director Director of Photography Milissa Sprecher Founder | Executive Editor John Sprecher Creative Director Director of Photography Milissa Sprecher i i , c r d d am . 1. 6 . 568 Contributing Photographers Lee County Visitor & Conventon Bureau Contributing Photographers Stephen Blancett Andrew Tate COASTE is published five times annually by COASTE LLC. COASTE Magazine + Multi- Media Network reaches FREE a minimum 250,000 impressions via print magazine distribution, digital magazine subscribers, e-marketing, social media communities, downloadable apps and website. COASTE is a member of Florida Magazine Association and statistically aligns with City & Regional Magazine Association. Estero Chamber of Commerce 239.948.7990 Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce F 239.332.3624 E t ambe of mme ce t . 239.948.7990 reater Fort Myers B r F tMy ch. rg 23 . 54. Greater Fort M Commerce rt ye s.or 239.332. 624 Online Editor Eric Sprecher COASTE is published five times annually by COASTE LLC. COASTE Magazine + Multi- Media Network reaches FREE a minimum 250,000 impressions via print magazine distribution, digital magazine subscribers, e-marketing, social media communities, downloadable apps and website. COASTE is a member of Florida Magazine Association and statistically aligns with City & Regional Magazine Association. Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau 239.338.3500 t i it ti B r F 239.338.350 P.O. Box 869 Sanibel FL 33957 Editorial: 239.395.3251 Sales: 239.470.5611 P.O. Box 869 Sanibel FL 33957 Editorial: 239.395.3251 Sales: 239.470.5611 L ig r i Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce 239.454.7500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce 239.369.3322 . 3 . . INFO @ 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 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce 239.549.6900 l more about the many outstanding destinations to be enjoyed in Lee ounty vi i i . click or call t ! . Cape Coral Chamber of Co Cor l . 239.549.6900 Director of Sales Julie Beckta Director of Sales Katrina Salokar it ri it i s 3 .9 . Graphic Designer Christina Robertson Graphic Designer Christina Robertson

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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 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce 239.549.6900 Estero Chamber of Commerce 239.948.7990 Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce 239.454.7500 For your infor ation, you can learn ore about the any outstanding destinations to be enjoyed in Lee County via these organizations. Just click or call the today! Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce Boca randeCha 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce BonitaSpringsCha 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Cha ber of Co erce CapeCoralCha 239.549.6900 Estero Cha ber of Co erce EsteroCha 239.948.7990 Greater Fort yers Beach Chamber of Commerce Fort 239.454.7500 Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce 239.332.3624 Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau 239.338.3500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce 239.369.3322 Greater Fort yers Chamber of Commerce Fort 239.332.3624 Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau Fort 239.338.3500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce LehighAcresCha 239.369.3322

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‘tis the Season to Be Downtown


STAY • EXPLORE • SHOP • DINE Experience the Old Florida Yuletide Cheer of Downtown Fort Myers! Festival of Trees, November 30-December 4 | Holiday Stroll, December 2 Creative ARTs Market, December 9-10 | Downtown Countdown, December 31 Stay ‘n Shop for the Holidays! Save and Be Merry With Our Special Offers for Downtown Accommodations

enter the





on the cover Holiday outdoor dining at Captiva’s landmark Captiva House restaurant. Photo by Milissa Sprecher Photography.

in this issue



TAKE FIVE MEET MARTY HARRITY He’s a man of quality who lights up a room — or a restaurant — with his spirit, his energy, his passion. WELCOME HOME Here’s another inside look at living the good life in Southwest Florida.

12 ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 36 YEARS OF STATEMENTS AND SATIRE: Renowned as an editorial cartoonist, the multi- talented Doug MacGregor is a multi-tasking artist. Tune in here. 18 ATTRACTIONS RUM RUNNERS: It’s the little rum that could — and is — making a name for itself around the world, all the way from Cape Coral. 26 COMMUNITY TREASURE HUNT



ROOMWITH A VIEW Come visit one of our favorite places to relax, rest and reconnect.


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.

There’s gold in them thar’ beaches, and The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel excels at finding it for Lee County.

It’s just fishing

line. Isn’t it?

Not when it's discarded in the environment, or tangled in trees, or actually attached to wildlife. Then, monofilament can injure or even become a death sentence. Be more than a good fisherman. Be a champion of wildlife and the environment. Dispose of your discarded line at one of our convenient recycling bins or, if you've hooked wildlife, visit our website.


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


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!

artist in residence

Story by John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher


Most artists will tell you that creativity isn’t some switch you simply flip, that creativity is often an unpredictable and spontaneous muse. Imagine then if, as an artist, you knew that five days every week, you would have to stare at an empty box, ponder the day’s news or events, and somehow create a statement of that day — in both pictures and words — that would give people reason to pause, reflect, discuss, laugh or even debate. How celebrated editorial cartoonist and children’s book author Doug MacGregor lives his life of creativity. outside the box. Such is the life of an editorial cartoonist and, here in Southwest Florida, that editorial cartoonist goes by the signature MacGregor — as in Doug MacGregor of the News- Press. From 1988 to 2011, MacGregor was full-time editorial cartoonist for Gannett’s Fort Myers newspaper, where he penned close to 6,000 cartoons, worked a weekly Florida lifestyle comic strip called “Sunny Side Up” for 10 years, won a bunch of Florida newspaper awards, was named “Best of Gannett” cartoonists nationwide about a dozen times, and was even summoned to Washington, D.C. to fill in at USA Today . And you’d have to do it by six pm. And you’d do it for more than 30 years.


deadline. That’s when I started to wonder: could I actually get a job doing this?” The answer was yes — but it would take young Doug MacGregor almost a year to find it. After receiving a pile of rejection letters from larger papers across the country, MacGregor set his sights a little lower and focused on smaller- market papers that needed a cartoonist. He found one in the Gannett-owned Norwich Bulletin , where he “worked for next tonothing in the beginning, but they treated me well.” He would flourish there eight years before discovering Southwest Florida when his parents retired to Port Charlotte.

“What a thrill to sit in that editorial office,” he recalls, “then go out and draw something for the worldwide issue the next day.” has redefined himself as a multi- faceted creative artist: while he continues to contribute to the Sunday News-Press , he’s also authored and illustrated five children’s books, and serves as the Arts in Health Care Coordinator at Lee Health. Oh, and an exhibition of his editorial work just completed a prominent showing this fall at BIG Arts on Sanibel Island. And oh, he’s been playing a pretty mean blues harp the past 12 years with a number of local Today, MacGregor

bands, including today The Rosada Project.

Clearly, Doug MacGregor is an artist whose work has been defined by staying inside a box. And just as clearly, he can think, create, perform and succeed outside of it. MacGregor’s interest in creative arts began in high school, but soon became his passion while at Syracuse University. “I began doing illustrations for the sports section of the campus newspaper,” he recalls. “They liked what I did so much they began to design the sports page around my cartoons, so I got the bug and understood what it was like to produce under

“ Everyone can be creative. It’s just finding a way to express yourself.


Looking back on his 30 years churning out editorial cartoons five days a week, MacGregor recalls “some days were easier than others, depending on the news. Other days I’d just scratch my head ‘til four pm, then walk around the building, talk to my friends and try to find some inspiration. If they ever saw me at four o’clock, they all used to laugh ‘cause they knew I was out of ideas.” Looking ahead, MacGregor is as excited about his children’s books as he is his work with children and adults at Lee Health. “With my children’s books, I’m trying to get kids to

be more creative every day — and not rely on video games. I would love kids — even adults — to explore their creativity, be it art, music, writing, dance, theatre. It helps the brain and I think, helps us live longer. In the same way, we’re using the arts in the health care environment to help patients young and old better cope with their condition and hopefully, assist in their healing. Everyone can be creative. It’s just finding a way to express yourself.” {


take five

“People. People. People. People. People. People.” By John Sprecher

own and lead the very successful Doc Ford’s restaurants on Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach, along with the Beached Whale and Dixie Fish House, also of Fort Myers Beach. But to hear Marty Harrity tell it, success in the restaurant business isn’t about food, but — as in life — about people and how you treat them, as well as community and how you give back. Each issue, “Take Five” poses five questions to a community leader or personality that have not been previously shared. Here, Marty Harrity dishes on the success of his restaurant franchises, as well as his passion to help others succeed and grow.

If you’ve ever met the man, odds are he’s greeted you like a long lost friend and put a big smile on your face. That’s Marty Harrity, highly successful Southwest Florida restaurateur and one dynamic personality who truly lights up a room. A resident of Sanibel for 25 years now, Harrity parlayed a career in sales and marketing for national brands — as well as ownership of one of the first mylar balloon manufacturing companies in the U.S. — into relocation to the islands and an early retirement at the age of 42 that, as he laughs, “lasted about seven days.” Today, through connections, a lot of hard work and opportunities, Harrity and his associates



Who was the genius behind the Doc Ford’s concept? Randy Wayne White was really the original genius. In 2003, our restaurant at Rabbit Road called the Island House wasn’t doing very well. We knew we had to change the format. At a meeting with my wife and others it was suggested we call Randy White. At the time, the only Randy White I knew used to play for the Dallas Cowboys (laughs). Anyway, the next day we met, and I learned that Randy already had a restaurant concept called Doc Ford’s — and boom, the rest is history. Were you surprised at the quick success of Doc Ford’s? Yeah, I was. With the Beached Whale, it was already an existing restaurant so our success and growth there wasn’t too surprising. Here, we took a failing concept and brought in something totally new, and in the process, between the mistakes and the investments and the launch, I probably learned enough to earn a Harvard Business School degree! We’ve been fortunate, but we’ve always had a great team. What do you think is the key to your success? People. People. People. People. People. People. Treat your people right, they’ll get up in the morning and want to come to work, and how good is that for your business? Sure, we have great chefs and a great menu, but it’s about hospitality. We treat our people with respect and appreciation for what they do, because if they’re successful, guess what, we’ll be successful. We treat our customers the same way: thank you for choosing to spend your money with us, I hope we’ve exceeded your expectations. What are your plans for the future, what are you working on next? Every day I wake up thinking about stuff, but one of the things I’ve learned over the years is I don’t take anything for granted. Just because I’ve opened a few restaurants that have been successful doesn’t mean the next one will be. I’ll spend years of research looking at a location, analyzing the demographics and being cautious. I’m always looking for opportunities, but I also need the people. So we spend a lot of time and money training our people to move up when the time is right. You don’t seem like someone who wants to slow down. I’m 68 years old and I don’t know how to slow down. I love building teams. If I see an opportunity to put people together and create something, well, that’s what I like to do. Slow down? Nah, not in my crosshairs.







RUM RUNNERS How craft distiller Wicked Dolphin is making its name in the rumworld, one impressive award after another.

Story by John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher


As you approach the small teal building that stands out among an otherwise undeveloped stretch of Southwest Third Place in Cape Coral, there’s nothing to suggest that this once-upon-a-time auto service center today houses one of the most highly awarded rum brands (craft or corporate) in the world. And yet, it does. Inspired by a bad glass of rum, fueled by a passion for quality and born of an entrepreneurial spirit of excellence and adventure, JoAnn Elardo and her husband Bob have turned the rum world upside down with the creation of Wicked Dolphin—a craft distiller of currently 10 artisan rums that, in less than five years, has been awarded numerous international (and national) awards, and grown to see its delightful flavors and colorful labels in more than 3,000 distribution points in Florida alone. That’s quite a distance these two have traveled from their years owning one of the largest independent footwear distributors in central Europe. But in 2008, they sold that business and decided to relocate from New York to Southwest Florida. Then, one fateful evening, JoAnn was attempting to enjoy a cocktail when she noticed that the rum was, in fact, distasteful. “I looked at the bottle and saw that it was produced in Canada,” she recalls. “That’s when I thought: why aren’t we making a Florida rum?” It was a good question, considering that almost 50% of all sugar produced in the United States germinates from Florida soil. So JoAnn set out on what was to become a four-year journey of learning all she could about the business of distilling, and what it would take to become a craft distiller of distinctively quality rum.


“If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it the best,” she explains. “We did a lot of homework and never rush anything. We’ve worked very hard to perfect our craft, we’ve invested a lot of time and money, and we were lucky enough that we could survive a year or two.”

In the beginning, Wicked Dolphin focused on producing its “Reserve” product line — various rum flavors aged one, two, three years or longer in American white oak barrels that previously matured whiskey. It’s one reason why the first batch of rum distilled in 2012 wasn’t bottled for

sale until a year later. But over time, restaurants and clubs have approached Wicked Dolphin about a lighter rum that would go nicelywithmixed drinks, and a “Premium” line was launched. Nevertheless, JoAnn has a special affinity for quality “and we still have some of the original batch that we’ll age for 20 years.”

To make Wicked Dolphin the best it could be, JoAnn made two very important decisions early in the company’s history: she hired a master distiller to work at the Cape Coral distillery for almost a year, and convinced her nephew Dan Termini — a Long Islander who had dabbled in craft beers but also came with a

“I looked at the bottle and saw that it was produced in Canada,” she recalls. “That’s when I thought: why aren’t we making a Florida rum?” __ JoAnn Elardo

mechanical background — to apprentice with him as head distiller. “Dan’s craft beer experience made for a nice and easy transition, and his mechanical background doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a bunch of distilling equipment that always needs fixing.”

This affinity for quality is what’s garnered Wicked Dolphin so much attention in the rum world. In 2013, its first year,WickedDolphinwon a gold “Best in Class” at the Miami Rum Renaissance. In 2014 and 2015, Wicked Dolphin took to the world stage

18 COASTE | communtiy


at the International Rum Conference Madrid — and took home gold. Add to these awards at the American Distilling Institute, Spirits of the Americas, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and more, and you have the makings of a folk tale come true: the little rum that could. But not only is Wicked Dolphin a popular rum that’s now in five states, the Cape Coral distillery has become a tourism destination of sorts and a highly praised TripAdvisor attraction, hosting more than 25,000 people annually for tours, trinkets and — best of all — free samples. With all this attention and growth, the Elardos are looking down the road — literally and figuratively. Recently, they purchased a parcel of land adjacent to the distillery, enabling Wicked Dolphin to expand its capacity in production and tours. Plus sometime before the end of the year, Wicked Dolphin will foray into vodka with its own signature label that JoAnn promises “will rival the best vodkas out there.”

And further down the road—roughly eightmiles, to be exact —Elardo has taken her company in an altogether different direction with the October opening of Big Blue Brewing, a brew pub and restaurant in Cape Coral managed by her other nephew Joe Termini, twin brother (almost identical) of head distiller Dan. Big Blue Brewing is a delightfully hip and happening place, with six signature beer labels, a light and tempting menu, plus an attractive and highly creative décor that is, once again, the amazing vision of its owner. But despite where these ventures may take her, JoAnn Elardo wants to remain true to her passion: quality. “I don’t have any real desire to create this huge company,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with being a great boutique, and we will always want to be a great Florida rum. That’s a good story to be able to tell.” 239.242.5244 {


To best enjoy your visit to Sanibel: • Avoid driving on and off the Island during these peak times • Plan in advance to travel around the Island by foot and bike • Stay on Island – have dinner and shop on Island to avoid traffic delays • Check the City of Sanibel website for real-time street cams and traffic updates:

The City of Sanibel wants you to enjoy your vacation. During peak season, Sanibel Island experiences daily heavy on-bound traffic congestion from 8 a.m. to noon and heavy off-bound traffic between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. On a weekly basis during peak season, traffic volumes are the lightest on Sundays.

We look forward to your visit to our Island!

Welcome Home

Each issue, COASTE opens the door and welcomes you to tour one of Southwest Florida’s premier homes. After all, living here is more than a lifestyle. It’s a soul style. Spectacular intersecting canal views await the island lifestyle you’ve dreamed of in this beautiful four bedroom, 3.5 bath, direct Gulf access home with boat dock and lift. With almost 3,400 living square feet (more than 5,000 total), you’ll love the contemporary and attractive styling highlighted by a spacious open floor plan that features multiple sliding glass doors to allow for gentle sea breezes and natural light to flow through great room, kitchen and dining areas. You’ll also delight to your private pool, no seawall to maintain (canal frontage bordered by mangroves), western exposure for breathtaking sunsets and dolphins or manatee playing in your back yard. An added plus: your east end cul-de-sac location means easy on and off the island. Sanibel living doesn’t get much better than this. Listing agent: David Schuldenfrei, VIP Realty Group. Price: $1,799,000.





Each year, visitors from all over the world descend upon Lee County in search of precious treasure that goes by the name “the dream vacation.” Here’s how the masterminds at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel find them— and why it’s so important these TREASURE HUNT

visitors don’t leave disappointed. By John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher


t’s another beautiful day in early November in Southwest Florida. The sky is clear blue, the temperature is in the 80s and on the beach, the sweet

The marketing of visitor destinations in the greatest tourism state in America is a bit different than in most other states. Here, each of Florida’s 67 counties identifies a tourism marketing budget — and many (including Lee County) are larger than a lot of state budgets. Yes, destination marketing is big business — and very often, a pressure cooker job for those at the top. Tamara Pigott is that person at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. A member of the organization for more than 15 years, Pigott has served as Executive Director since 2010 — and in that time has presided over a record-setting span of tourism-based prosperity. “The last few years have been phenomenal for travel in general,” she notes. “In our case, we’ve had six straight years of revenue growth — some years at double digit numbers unheard of really — and helping

sights and sounds of the gentle Gulf of Mexico waves give this afternoon an almost hypnotic rhythm. All is well in this world. Meanwhile, in downtown Fort Myers, an enthusiastic and expert team of 32 hospitality marketing professionals at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau — working under the brand “The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel” — are at it again, doing everything they can to efficiently and effectively deliver today (and every day of the year) an average of more than 12.82 million media impressions of our destination to the audiences most apt to act on them. And ultimately choose to vacation here.



“ “It’s such a

beautiful place, and what’s so special is that we treasure our many gifts of nature here. Our commitment to the environment and wildlife makes us

the best place in Florida to visit, at least to me.”

deliver those results to our community has been very exciting.”

Bureau) is profound,” asserts Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. “With professionalism and quality, they’re reaching out to the world to invite folks to visit one of the best places on the planet. Clearly, it’s working.”

So what about those numbers? What makes them so important? In a word: jobs. Here in Lee County, visitors this year will inject $3 billion into our local economy — directly — in the process helping to create more than 40,000 positions (plus another 16,000 related). That’s one of every five jobs.

Here in Lee County, visitors this year will inject $3 billion into our local economy — directly — in the process helping to create more than 40,000 positions (plus another 16,000 related). That’s one of every five jobs.

Destination marketing organizations(DMOs) like Lee County’s are generally 100% funded by bed tax — a tax that resorts, hotels, vacation rental firms and the

like will attach to a room sale. That means that of the $39 million in bed tax Tamara Pigott estimates to be generated in 2016, not one dollar will come from any other tax that residents might pay. In effect, it’s “free money” for Lee County to invest — which it does so

“When you measure the economic impact, the value of the work of the VCB (Visitor & Convention


N O 16

A full day starts with a wide-open schedule.

wisely, by funding the Visitor & Convention Bureau ($19 million), beach and shoreline programs, and debt reduction on tourist-attracting stadiums. Fortunately for those of us who live and work here, in the hands of Pigott and her marketing team (including highly respected travel advertising agency MMGY), that $19 million is money very well spent — generating roughly four billion earned media impressions of Lee County (via public relations efforts), almost 683 million advertising media impressions, 1.8 million visits to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel website last year, more than 17 million inquiries fulfilled, plus a social media audience that’s The new “Islandology” campaign from The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel — just introduced this past November to hospitality marketing professionals across Southwest Florida, and about to be introduced to the world. that’s mushroomed to 600,000-plus followers. The bottom line? Close to five million visitors in 2015, with this year looking just as impressive. It happens in no small part due to the multi-media branding that Pigott, Director of Marketing Brian Ososky and the rest of the VCB lead and manage — be it traditional advertising, innovative digital and video programs, social media campaigns, outside-the-box promotions and even educational or informational programs for Lee County hospitality partners.


Islandology is our way of life. It’s slowing down to a relaxing pace. It’s letting ourselves unwind and get closer to what matters. It’s knowing lifelong memories can’t be scheduled – they just happen when they’re supposed to. Plan your trip at

N O 50

A getaway should actually get you away.


Islandology is our way of life. It’s forgetting about phones and recharging your body for a change. Because simple pleasures like putting your toes in the sand or listening to the waves shouldn’t be interrupted. Plan your trip at


“They’re reaching out to the world to invite folks to visit one of the best places on the planet. Clearly, it’s working.” — Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson

{ 800.237.6444 If there’s pressure to leading a $19 million a year organization that generates $3 billion of local revenue, while serving upwards of 1,200 constituents each with his or her own priorities, another amazing thing about Pigott is that she doesn’t show it. “It can be a tough job,” she admits. “After all, you’re servant to many masters. You have to have a thick skin some days, you have to be diplomatic others. But I love what I do, I love the people I do it with — I’m so proud of the team we’ve built — and I love where I live. It’s such a beautiful place, and what’s so special is that we treasure our many gifts of nature here. Our commitment to the environment and wildlife makes us the best place in Florida to visit, at least to me.” good with analytics and at making sense of data, of identifying what works best so we can get the most bang for our marketing dollars. Tam and her team put out a great deal of valuable work, and we really get our money’s worth with them.”

But as effective as the selling of Southwest Florida has been, Pigott is quick to point the credit elsewhere. “We have such a beautiful place,” she says, “it’s not too hard to sell nirvana. That certainly makes the marketing easier. But we also work with great hospitality partners — our resorts, hotels, attractions, restaurants and many others — who do such a great job of customer service. We could do the most innovative marketing in the world, but if visitors come here and they don’t have a wonderful experience, they won’t be back.” To that point, studies show that 70% of first time visitors plan to return, and 50% to do so within one year. Yet others would say: give credit where credit is due. “Tam Pigott is relentless and tireless,” says Colleen DePasquale, Executive Director of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. “Her job is not Monday to Friday, nine to five. She’s traveling constantly, always thinking, finding new ideas and bringing them to us. She’s amazing, and we’re lucky to have her.” Tony Lapi agrees. Chief Executive Officer of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, and board member of the Lee County Tourist Development Council for five years, he finds Pigott is “very


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What’s Happening on Your

December-January — Community Events

Wed nes days

GARDEN TOUR AT EDISON FORD Weds Horticulturists lead behind-the-scenes garden tours Wednesdays at 10.30 AM that include 20 acres of historic gardens, crop gardens, propagating nursery, and Garden Shoppe full of exotic, heritage and edible plants for gardens and containers.

dec- jan

DOWNTOWN FORT MYERS ART WALK Dec - Jan On the first Friday of each month from 6 PM - 10 PM — and now, on the first Saturdays from 11 AM – 4 PM — art fans can enjoy visual arts, art gallery openings and more! 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 even meet the artists at most of the galleries and enjoy live art demonstrations! FORT MYERS MUSIC WALK Dec - Jan On the third Friday of every month from 6 PM - 10 PM, the River District comes alive with local music! Numerous participating venues feature live music by local and regional talent. Restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops also showcase a wide range of music during the monthly Music Walk. Featuring jazz, blues, rock, drum circles, 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.

dec- jan

dec- jan

FORT MYERS MYSTERY WALK Dec - Jan Every second Friday of the month, 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 and music all form as one to create Mystery Walk. The Mystery is that guests will never know what to expect!

dec- jan

PET WALK Dec - Jan Join the newest downtown event with Pet Walk! The pet friendly gathering will occur every fourth Friday of the month beginning at 6:00 pm at the Hendry Street median. Pet owners are expected to have pets leashed and pick up any pet souvenirs. The event is free to attend and no registration is required.




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dec- jan

LOCAL ROOTS FARMER’S MARKETS Dec - Jan Local Roots is the largest sponsor of Farmer’s Markets in Southwest Florida, with seven 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.

satu- rdays

GREENMARKET Sats Saturdays from 9 AM - 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 .

dec 1 - jan 1

EDISON & FORD HOLIDAY LIGHTS Dec 1 – Jan 1 Edison & Ford Holiday Nights has become a “must see” holiday tradition in Southwest Florida. During the

holidays the homes and gardens of the Edison and Ford families are seasonally decorated with millions of lights and historic decorations. Visitors will enjoy nightly entertainment, holiday tradition tours, and on select nights Santa visits (dates are to be determined). There is also food service, evening river cruises and the Edison and Ford estates, museum and lab are open nightly until 9:00 p.m.

dec 2- dec 3

SANIBEL-CAPTIVA LUMINARY FESTIVAL WEEKEND Dec 2-3 For more than three decades, island businesses, organizations, residents and visitors have gathered for one of Sanibel and Captiva’s most treasured annual events, the Luminary Festival. During the Luminary celebrations, the streets will be lined with glowing luminaries, decorated trees and other festive trimmings. Santa will pay his traditional visit on his fire truck to visit shopping centers, galleries, and local businesses. Sanibel and Captiva visitors and local residents can enjoy these two magical nights on the islands.

dec 3

FORT MYERS BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE Dec 3 Come enjoy some Christmas spirit at the 28th Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade! Last year more than 30 boats participated and this year

promises to be even more exciting. The parade will pass by such establishments as Bootleggers Waterfront Barbeque, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas on the Bay, Nervous Nellies, Doc Ford’s and Bonita Bills — where you can kick back and enjoy the fun.

the room until the program ends. No registration is required for this event.

36 combining an honest and unfiltered narrative of their life story with the world class dancing, creativity and 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. 1506 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel, FL 33957 Toll Free (877) 541-6681 239-472-5300 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, C aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters 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. Make Your Castle in the Sand! Nov – Jan Getaways Online SUBSCRIBE FREE 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. Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board Useppa Island picturesque island retreat Sept 10+ 11 Sept 23- Oct 2 Enjoy your free Digital edition Of the best of sanibel, captiva and sw Florida 5 times a year, wherever you May be. June - September — On Stage Sunset Cruises wildlife, sailing, or live music Cabbage Key “cheeseburger in paradise” Lady Chadwick June 18


Thru July 2



RATED Food — 4½ Stars Service — 4½ Stars Atmosphere — 4 Stars Out of 5 Stars

Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common other than a black lace bra — and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, lack of sex and more. The hilarious celebration of women and life’s change is set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s that’ll leave you laughing and dancing in the aisles! The show runs Saturday, May 19 to Saturday, July 2.

Celebrating 8 Years on Sanibel! Newly Renovated Bar • Newly Crafted Menu Creatively Out of the Ordinary Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday Dinner 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED Executive Chef Melissa Talmage

239-472-1956 • 1625 Periwinkle Way • Sanibel, Florida 33957



5/24/16 2:45 PM

CREATIVE ARTS MARKET Dec 9-11 The Creative Arts Market is a juried high quality market that will feature a diverse mix of seasonal gifts items and unique products. Exhibitors are selected based upon the contribution to a vibrant environment of varied high-quality gifts. Hand-made items, artwork, imported hand-crafts and specialty foods will be included. dec 9- dec 11

December-January — On Stage

BEST OF ENEMIES Dec 1 - 15 An electrifying and tense new play based on a true story that follows the relationship between a hate-filled leader of the KKK and a pioneering African-American civil rights activist. In this gripping story, the unlikely pair must work together during Durham, North Carolina’s heated 1971 desegregation battle. Best of Enemies a stirring new play that exposes the poison of prejudice and the beauty of friendship. THE MOUSETRAP Dec 1 – 18 Suspect everyone in this thrilling whodunit from the mind of Agatha Christie! Still running in London after 64 years, The Mousetrap tells the story of a group of strangers is trapped in a boarding house during a snow storm -- with a murderer among them! Suspicion and intrigue abound as these strangers try to solve a murder and wonder who will be killed next. Revelations are made, shady pasts revealed, and alliances shift as Agatha Christie weaves a tangled web of deceit and suspense!

dec 1 - dec 18

dec 1 - dec 15

dec 1 - dec 25

WHITE CHRISTMAS Dec 1 - 25 Two army buddies, turned showbiz partners, follow two singing sisters to a Vermont inn. When they discover their former commanding officer is in jeopardy of losing his inn, they put on a show to help save his business, and they find love in the bargain. This merry and bright theatrical experience is full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written such as Happy Holidays, Blue Skies and White Christmas.


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dec 28

MOSCOW BALLET’S NUTCRACKER Dec 28 The biggest Christmas experience of the year! The original, direct from Russia, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! “Knock Out!” Raves the New York Times . Enchant the whole family with larger than life magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets. A must-see event, witness the world’s best dancers on stage in your city! At the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Get your tickets before they sell out at THE WIZARD OF OZ Thru August 13 Follow the yellow brick road as o e of America’s most beloved movies comes to life on tage with D rothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto too! Songs from the delightful score you know and love include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.” Performances Thursday, July 7 to Saturday, August 13. Aug 13 PHANTOM Dec 29 – Jan 31 From the Tony Award-winning team of Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit comes the exquisite masterpiece based on Gaston Leroux’s timeless love story of the disfigured musical genius Erik and his muse Christine. Their musical affair unfolds deep in the catacombs of the Opera house, where Erik finds salvation in Christine’s breathtaking voice. This spellbinding musical brings to life the enchantment and mystery of the greatest love story of all time. WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: THE MANDATORY WORLD TOUR June 5 Following his wildly successful 2015 Mandatory World Tour, traveling to more than 100 cities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, the tour continues on this June! Yankovic will be bringing his high-energy comedy rock show to the Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall! Fans of the comedic musician won’t want to miss this show Sunday, June 5 at 7 PM. June 5 June - September — In Concert THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES Jan 3 – 25 This smart and outrageous black comedy follows the strangest day in the life of a New York zookeeper with big dreams! Artie Shaughnessy has aspirations of being a famous songwriter, but what his downstairs mistress, Bunny, won’t tell him, and his wife, Bananas (who is), tries to impart is that Artie’s songs stink. But today, October 4, 1964, is different because the Pope is coming to town and miracles are in the air and anything is possible — or so they all think.


dec 29 jan 31

jan 3 jan 25

jan 3 jan 8

CINDERELLA Jan 3 - 8 Rodgers & Hammerstein’s

CINDERELLA is the Tony Award- winning Broadway musical from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw- dropping transformations and all the moments you love — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more — plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beloved songs . BRIT FLOYD: SPACE & TIME CONTINUUM 2016 June 23 Following its hugely successful world t ur in 2015, Brit Floyd — “the World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show” — will be making its way to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall to continue its amazing j rney through 50 years of Pink Floyd, and the vast catalog of music they’ve given us. Thursday, June 23 at 8 PM.

June 23

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