Shell Festival Begins Thursday


It’s the 84th annual Shell Festival which will be held at The Sanibel Community House runs Thursday through Saturday. The event will include a variety of shell-related displays and activities, and bringing with it a taste of “Old Sanibel” history.

Due to COVID restrictions, the judged artistic and scientific exhibits will not be a part of the Festival this year. However, an abundance of shells, shell art, shell crafts and shell-related books will be on display along with educational exhibits and a live tank for an up-close view of mollusks. In addition, artwork donated from the San Cap Art League will be for sale with 100% of the proceeds going to The Community House, and the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum will provide an offering of goods from its museum gift shop.

And this year, a new feature is on tap for visitors. When the Shell Festival came into being in the late ‘30’s and ‘40’s as the Sanibel Shell Fair, visitors looked forward the pies and cakes prepared by local residents to serve at the community gathering. In the week leading up to the event, many kitchens in Sanibel were busy baking these tasty treats. This year, the baking tradition will be repeated and updated, as Community House Resident Chef Jared Harris will be preparing some of his favorite pies and cakes for visitors. His list includes Banana Crème Pie, Pecan Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Carrot & Ginger Cake with Caramelized Ginger Frosting, and Flourless Chocolate Cake, and Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart. You can buy the whole pie or cake, or by the piece. If you are planning to attend, save room for a treat.

The Festival will be open for visitors Thursday, March 4 through Saturday, March 6.  There is a $5 requested donation to enter, and visitors will receive a coupon for a buy one get a 50% discount on entrance to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.  Parking is free, and food and beverages will be available (to go only).

Those wishing to attend are asked to call the Community House in advance to set up tickets (Phone 239-472-2155).  Also, anyone needing ADA Access to the event is asked to call ahead for information.