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Celebrate Nationally-Recognized Annual Festivals on the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

May 25, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

In addition to great weather, shell-drenched shores and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Southwest Florida is the setting for award-winning, nationally-recognized festivals and special events each year. Visit www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com for more information.

Save the dates and plan ahead!

Shelling is such a popular pastime at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel that it has its own special day. The second annual National Seashell Day takes place on June 21, 2017 and shelling enthusiasts now have a reason to shellebrate the joy of shelling and pair it with the perfect summer getaway.

Many area hotels throughout Southwest Florida are offering special deals and packages for the occasion. Special events including lectures, shelling tours, workshops with area shell artists and more will take place to celebrate the day. Some properties are also offering add-ons, such as free shelling cruises to beautiful barrier islands, shell guides and bags, free breakfast and more. For details visit www.nationalseashellday.com

The fourth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest returns Sept. 22-Oct.1, 2017. The popular event brings music back to the beach with new artists and new events.

The free festival will take place over 10 days on Southwest Florida’s most beautiful barrier islands and offers a range of star-studded performances. It kicks off on Captiva Island, Sept. 22-24 and wraps up Sept. 29-Oct.1 on Fort Myers Beach. Historic downtown Fort Myers will once again feature midweek performances. There will be a limited number of ticketed events for special performances.  Major acts and songwriters attending the festival will be announced in the near future.

Island Hopper is presented by Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, iHeartMedia, Cat Country 107.1 and BMI, the largest music rights organization in the U.S.  For more information visit www.islandhopperfest.com. Follow the festival hashtag #islandhopper on Twitter and other social channels.

21st Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival, Pine Island
July 15-16, 2017

239-283-0888
www.mangomaniafl.net/
The mango is the star attraction for two days each summer on Pine Island. Go wild for fruit as you sample locally-grown delicacies at this annual affair, an unusual celebration of all the tropical fruit grown on the island, which includes lychee, carambola, longan, papaya, and “chocolate pudding fruit.” Fruit, exotic fruit trees, and fruit-related products are available for purchase. This fun, family event celebrates Pine Island’s mangoes and other tropical fruits. In addition to mango food and beverages, the event features live music, art and craft vendors, food and recipe contests, activities area for kids and a chance to meet the Mango Queen.

31th Annual Oktoberfest, Cape Coral
Oct. 20-22, 27-29, 2017

German-American Club

239-283-1400
www.capecoraloktoberfest.com

Hosted by the German-American Club, this huge celebration includes German culture, food, music and dancing. Highlights include authentic live entertainment with large musical groups

from Germany, along with enough German food and beer to make anyone do the “Chicken

Dance.”  There is also a carnival area for kids. Call or check website for schedule and ticket information.

28th Annual J.N. “Ding” Darling Days, Sanibel Island
Oct. 15-21, 2017

239-472-1100
www.dingdarlingdays.com
The event honors National Wildlife Refuge Week and celebrates the 140th birthday of the refuge’s namesake. Family Fun Day kicks off the weeklong birding and ecofestival with free activities, including narrated refuge tram tours, live wildlife presentations, kids nature crafts, a touch tank, a butterfly house, and archery lessons.

12th Annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest, Fort Myers Beach

October 2017

www.fmbpiratefest.com

Ahoy Mateys! Mark your calendar and head to Fort Myers Beach for some swash-buckling fun at this jam-packed weekend pirate fest. This family event includes a scavenger hunt, pub quest, sea battles, Blackbeard kid’s show and much more. If it’s a pirate’s life for you, check back for details and start planning your pirate costume!

35th Annual Taste of the Town, Fort Myers

November 2017

www.jlfmtaste.com

JetBlue Park

Join the Junior League of Fort Myers for a great day of food, music and kids entertainment for the 34th Annual Taste of the Town.  All proceeds from this event go to support the projects of the Junior League.

Cape Coral CoCoNut Festival, Cape Coral
November 2017

239-573-3121
www.cocofest.com
Sun Splash Family Water Park

Cape Coral CoCoNut Festival celebrates Cape Coral’s reputation for coconuts, multi-cultural food, boating, fishing and wildlife. The festival will feature a national musical act, gymnastic entertainment, carnival rides, water-ski shows, tropical food, contests, coconut crafts and fireworks.

12th Annual Sanibel Island Writers Conference
November 2-5, 2017

239-590-7421

www.fgcu.edu/siwc/

BIG Arts and the Sanibel Island Public Library

This intimate writers’ conference draws acclaimed authors and songwriters, award-winning poets and screenplay writers. The talented group holds small workshops for all levels of aspiring writers who want to follow in their creative footsteps. Participants also enjoy nightly readings and concerts, which are open to the public. The conference welcomes any writer who wants to create new work or refine a project in progress.  Keynote speaker: Alice Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful. Her highly anticipated prequel, The Rules of Magic, will be released in Fall 2017.

For details and reservations, visit website or contact Tom DeMarchi at tdemarch@fgcu.edu, 239-590-7421.

31st Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship, Fort Myers Beach 
November 17-26, 2017

239-454-7500
www.fmbsandsculpting.com
Come and join the fun on Fort Myers Beach for the 31st Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship and Beach Festival. Sponsored by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, this fun-filled event will include world-class master sand sculptors, a state championship contest, an amateur contest, sand sculpting demonstrations and lessons, and much more. With more than 1,000 tons of sand, master sand sculptors are returning to Fort Myers Beach forming the largest sand sculpting event in the state, plying their craft and showcasing their artistry in what USA Today and CNN Travel have named a “must-see” and one of the 10 best sand sculpting competitions in the world.

42nd Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
End of November-Dec. 31, 2017 (Event is closed Dec. 25)
239-334-7419
www.edisonfordwinterestates.org
Edison Ford Holiday Nights reflect the many contributions of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their families to the local community.  It was chosen by the editors of USA Today as one of the 10Best Historic Homes for the Holidays, which also included The White House, Mount Vernon, Monticello and the Biltmore in North Carolina. To view the article visit: www.10best.com/interests/trip-pics/historic-homes-for-the-holidays/.

In addition, The American Bus Association (ABA) announced that it has designated the event as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2016. Edison Ford Holiday Nights has also been featured in Destinations magazine noting that Edison Ford Holiday Nights offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.

A not-to-be-missed holiday tradition, the historic buildings and acres of gardens are decorated with lights and traditional decorations. The holiday estates offer a behind the scenes tour, Children’s Holiday Tree Trail, Santa visits on select nights, refreshments and shopping in the Holiday Cottage Shoppe, Museum Store and Garden Shoppe.  For admission and details: www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/events/annual-events/holiday-nights/

33rd Annual Christmas Luminary Trail and Open House, Sanibel and Captiva islands

December 1 on Sanibel Island and Dec. 2 on Captiva Island 2017.

www.sanibel-captiva.org

This event draws visitors from all over the world as they join local residents to celebrate the season with three miles of luminary candles and events.

Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, Cape Coral

Jan. 13-14, 2018

www.capecoralfestival.com

239-699-7942

This annual event draws hundreds of artists and more than 100,000 visitors.

ArtFest Fort Myers, downtown historic district

February 2018

www.artfestfortmyers.com

On the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers, visitors enjoy made-in-USA original art by more than 200 artists. Browse the online gallery to get a feel for the exceptional quality. And meet the artists. Enjoy food, music and fun for the whole family.

Friends of Lovers Key Annual Vow Renewal, Lovers Key State Park

Feb. 14, 2018

www.friendsofloverskey.org

Love is always in the air at Lovers Key State Park, but even more so on Valentine’s Day.

Couples renew their vows near the gazebo on the beach, while the ocean and gulls provide background music.  The ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. include a champagne toast, brunch or lunch, coffee and cake, socializing, photo, as well as door prizes and parting gifts. Reservations are required. The non-refundable donation of $100 per couple adds to the Environmental

Education Center Fund. This event has been a sell-out in the past, so reserve a spot early by contacting event chair Judy Greenwood at 708-359-0466 or fjgreenwood@gmail.com.

80th Annual Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade, Fort Myers

Feb. 17, 2018

239-334-2999

www.edisonfestival.org

Parade begins at 7 p.m. at Edison Stadium and continues to the Fort Myers downtown River District. During February, Fort Myers celebrates the birthday of its most illustrious historical

resident, Thomas A. Edison, in befitting fashion. Edison, who built a home on the banks of the

Caloosahatchee River and spent 46 winters there, invented the light bulb and held more than

1,200 patents. So it’s appropriate that the month of activities culminates with a lighted night parade. Invention competitions, parties, craft shows and a 5K run are all part of the festival.  Celebrating 79 years, the month of February is filled with special events.

81st Annual Sanibel Shell Fair & Show, Sanibel Island
March 2018

Sanibel Community House
239-472-2155
www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net/

Sanibel Island, named the best shelling beach in the U.S. and one of the best in the world, hosts shelling enthusiasts who gather each year for the shell fair that draws visitors from around the

globe.  One of the most unique events in the country, it began on a porch with just a few islanders and has evolved into today’s fair that includes demonstrations, shell displays, crafts, prizes, food and entertainment.

Spring Training 2018

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Get up close and see your favorite baseball players. What could be better than a beautiful spring days and great baseball?  For a complete listing of packages, special rates and information on a spring training vacation, visit www.FortMyersSanibel.com.

Boston Red Sox spring training
JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

For schedule, tickets and package information, visit www.redsox.com

Minnesota Twins spring training
Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

For schedule, tickets and package information, visit www.twinsbaseball.com

8th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival

March 2018

www.fortmyersfilmfestival.com

The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. Known for its support of local filmmakers, the event is a must-attend for cineastes who love indie film and film festivals. Check out all the details on the website.

60th Annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival and Parade, Fort Myers Beach
March 2018

239-463-6986
www.fortmyersbeachshrimpfestival.com
Activities for the 59th annual Fort Myers Beach shrimp harvest event will include a parade, crowning of the Shrimp Queen, craft vendors, the boiled shrimp concession, and other seafood booths set up both days at Lynn Hall Memorial Park.

13th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, Fort Myers Beach
April 2018

www.fmbfilmfest.com
The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival invites independent film fans, filmmakers and distributors to spend four days to exchange ideas, make new contacts and enjoy some great films for all ages. Area accommodations offer special rates and packages to support this international celebration of independent filmmaking.

For the latest information on the area’s many accommodation choices, event and activities, visit www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com.

Editor’s note: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Southwest Florida includes: Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Boca Grande & Outer Islands, North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres. For media assistance, visit www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/media-central/

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