The Sanibel Community House is hosting a weekend of fun in January, headlined by island-native, singer, songwriter, and national recording star Whitney Wolanin.
Wolanin visited the island last week to discuss her upcoming performance and described how much she cares about the community. Her last performance on island was at The Sanibel School five years ago when she was a high school student.
"It has been awhile," she said. "I am really excited to perform again and I hope to be able to go by the school and talk to them, and perform for them."
National recording star Whitney Wolanin returns to Sanibel Island. Mckenzie Cassidy.
She began recording music at age 11 and slowly built her own network within the music industry. Her father, Vincent Wolanin, started Top Notch Entertainment and that's her label today.
"I decided to do it on my own label," she said.
For over a decade, she visited radio stations across the country and connected with people on the road, gradually building her own musical career because she didn't believe overnight success was genuine. Today, as she gains more notoriety for her music, she finds it difficult to classify her work, yet it's closest to pop but with studio musicians.
"I never want to lose instruments because that's real music," she said. "I don't fit any one genre and that's perfect for me."
Wolanin's previous singles, "Wrong Guy (I Did It This Time)" and "Honesty," landed on the Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart.
She will be touring all over the United States this fall promoting a new single, "Run, Run, Rudolph."
Besides a live performance by Wolanin and her six-piece band, the Sanibel FunFest will feature local bands, fun competitions, car and bike shows, sand sculptures, and a Polynesian-style Luau from Jan. 24-26.
"It's our main fundraiser. This is going to be our money for the functioning of The Community House for the year," said Nicole McHale, board member of The Community House.
In previous years, The Community House's major fundraising event was Dancing With The Island's Stars, and last year there was a circus, explained McHale, but the board decided to do something different.
Tickets for Sanibel Funfest will go on sale Nov. 1.