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Mardi Gras comes to Sanibel

February 21, 2014
By ROBBIE SPENCER ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Islanders won't have to hit Bourbon St. this year to party like New Orleans does.

Three days before the real festival in New Orleans, Sanibel Community Housing and Resources will put on their best version of Mardi Gras on March 1 at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club from 6 to 9 p.m. This is the second year Mardi Gras comes to Sanibel, and CHR Treasurer Melissa Rice believes it'll be a massive hit again.

"Last year was fabulous for a first-time event," she said. "We hit capacity at the Dunes last year, we believe we'll exceed that this time."

The Mardi Gras event will feature a full Cajun dinner including crawfish, gumbo, Bourbon glazed chicken, and traditional king cake for dessert. Festivities include a costume contest with prizes and live music. A silent auction and 50/50 raffle will round out the fundraising efforts of the evening, with a number of items available, including a trip to New Orleans, a vacation in North Carolina and a kid's party at JetBlue Park.

Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for children. The fundraiser will benefit CHR, an island non-profit for more than 30 years partnered with the City of Sanibel to provide affordable housing for island workers, Sanibel retirees and residents who are disabled.

A number of local sponsors have stepped up to contribute to fundraising efforts, including Bank of the Islands, the Sanibel-Captiva Trust Co., Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, Bailey's General Store, and Jerry Carroll Air Conditioning; also Barrier Island Title Services, the West Wind Inn, Dan Hahn Custom Home Builders, and several prominent island families.

Fact Box


CHR's Mardi Gras

When: March 1, 2014, 6-9 p.m.

Where: The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club

Tickets: $35/adults, $10/children

Includes a full Cajun Dinner, live music, costume contest, and access to the silent auction and 50/50 raffle.

Tickets available at

"This is money that the agency must raise to fulfill financial obligations for the current fiscal year," said Kelly Collini, CHR's executive director. "We depend on over $100,000 in community support to supplement rental income and keep rents affordable for our families."

She said many CHR residents not only provide vital services through their work, but also volunteer for many island organizations.

"Our staff is working hard to ensure our vacancies stay low," Rice said. "It's been great, it's very fulfilling helping these people."

"Our goal is to establish Mardi Gras as the premier island fund-raising event for families," said Tim Garmager, chair of the CHR development committee. "Supporting affordable housing for our island workers, retired citizens and the disabled just makes sense in terms of providing a diverse community."

Tickets for CHR Mardi Gras are available at or at the CHR office at 2401 Library Way. Call 472-1189 for more information.



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