The 2014 Cracker Fest hosted by the Sanibel/Captiva Chapter of Solutions to Avoid Red Tide Inc. on The Bait Box property was a huge hit with locals and visitors alike! Not only did SanCap START exceed their fundraising goals, but the enthusiastic atmosphere was punctuated by a deliciously authentic Southwest Florida barbeque provided by the Sanibel Catering Co. and live grass/Irish folk music performed by the ever-charismatic band Uproot Hootenanny. As the day wore into night, guests bundled-up with jackets, drinks, and smiles in response to the expected cold front that recently visited Florida over the weekend.
SanCap START Board President Bruce Neill, Ph. D., presided over the evenings events as the Master of Ceremonies. Doc. Bruce, board members of START, and an invaluable team of volunteers made the evening into the success that it was. Live and silent auctions consisted of local Sanibel culture and featured local artists, businesses, and local legends. Old Southwest Florida “Cracker Tales,” as only SanCap START’s legendary Ralph Woodring can tell, was one of the invaluable auction items up for bid.
Raffle ticket contests, decorative item sales, and independently generous donations were facilitated by an atmosphere of deep concern for our oceans and coastal waterways. To help press this message, former Lee County Commissioner of 24-years, Mr. Ray Judah gave an impassioned speech on the health of our water and the connection to continued economic success and development of LeeCounty. Silence fell over the 140-person audience hailing from Florida to Maryland to Washington state, seated at red-checked, picnic-style tables while Judah spoke. Ears opened and supper was forgotten in support of spreading START’s message across the map.