The Shell Factory's Gumbofest, now in its 15th year, was a big success on Sunday, Jan. 29, despite cold, and at times rainy, weather. The NFM Civic Association had a booth there, courtesy of Tom Cronin, Ric Tupper and Richard Dunmire of the Shell Factory family of local philanthropists. Between 11 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. we had live music continuously at the Bandstand by Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers (and they lived up to their name) and a rock group, The Porch Dogs.
I had the opportunity to try most of the food being sold by nine food purveyors. I thought the tastiest of many awesome offerings was a "Low-Country Boil" sold by a group called the Jambaliars, which was a huge bowl of shrimp, mussels, a snow crab leg, delicious kielbasa, corn on the cob, new potatoes and all sorts of seasonings, in a yummy brown broth. As a self-appointed gumbo judge I tried many of the gumbo offerings from which the annual festival takes its name, and liked the one sold by Magnolia Landing which they called "Hole in One Gumbo."
Several non-food merchants were selling clothes, photos, jewelry, and more. I purchased the "Bargain of the Day," a large "genyou-ine" jade ring for only five bucks. Not sure what I am going to do with the ring, but since the color matches my green Civic Association shirt, I figure I will wear it to the next civic association meeting and use it if we get any obstreperous attendees. The roasted nuts sold by Olde Country Style Almonds,
LLC were selected by me as "most munchable" a category not deemed official by the organizers of the Gumbofest. I am pleased to announce that this merchant will be joining the long line of vendors at The NFM Farmers' Market Saturday mornings. As the sponsor, our Civic Association mans the booth right at the entrance to the Farmers' Market, dispensing welcoming smiles, information and handouts.
It's a great place to people-watch, too, so, come for the farm fresh, high quality fruits and veggies, and get nuts, but stay for the visual entertainment.
At the Gumbofest, we answered all questions, distributed handouts, met a lot of nice people and previewed our new Detailed Street Map of North Fort Myers (the only map just of NFM in detail) prepared by our Rudy Berndlmaier who has labored and squinted over it for over a hundred hours, and we will soon be sending it to the printers. It shows almost every street in town, pinpoints about 50 of the larger communities, most of the houses of worship and most of the significant places of interest and businesses. Before long it will be on our website, www.northfortmyerscivicassociation.com, at our Welcome Booth at the Farmers' Market, at Dawn Smith's Snowbird Station on Hancock Bridge across from Marinatown, and many other local distribution centers. And we are asking local businesses and merchants to help defray the cost of printing this map by contributing to get a listing on the map, a picture on the bottom or your business card or more on the rear. Call me to help, please.
The Civic Association is still looking for a fundraiser to raise about $1,500 to cover our annual administrative costs and other good and many projects. If any of my readers have a good idea, please contact me. (See my contact info at the end of this article).
As you know, the proposed new plans for our Library, were exposed for public comment on Jan.12, and is now scheduled for a presentation before the NFM Design Review Panel on Feb. 7, the first Tuesday of the month, at 6 p.m. The presentation will be made by Mike Pavese, Lee County Principal Planner, and I presume that someone on behalf of the county's architects, BSS & W Architects, will be present as well to field questions. The public is invited to observe and participate.
"PUBLIC APATHY IS THE PLAGUE OF THE 21ST CENTURY! VOLUNTEER-IT'S GOOD FOR THE MIND AND THE HEART." MIKE LAND
As the banners behind the goalposts at National Football League games recently proclaim, CELEBRATE VOLUNTEERISM.
Contact me at 239-823-3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some event, project or idea that you would like in this column, or with any comments or questions. Visit www.northfortmyerscivicassociation.com.