February 18, 2013

World Famous Naples' Swamp Buggy Races Spring Classic

Collier County's early development in the 1930's and 1940's was highlighted by the emergance of strange looking vehicles featuring huge balloon tires, gun racks, and usually sporting an unusual name like "Dirt Dobber or Tumblebug". These buggies were born out of necessity, as there was no effective way to penetrate the vast, boggy mire known as Collier county except for the versatile "Swamp Buggy". Early Collier County settlers recall the beginnings of Swamp Buggy Racing as a gathering of hunters. As legend has it, every year, just prior to the opening of hunting season, (usually the end of October or early November) all the "Crackers" would spend a week or so preparing their buggies for the first legal day of hunting.
Today, thousands of people turn out to watch the popular and colorful swamp buggy races. See what all the fuss is about March 2 -3, 2013! Admission ranges from $6 to 65. Saturday gates open at 10:30am. Time Trials 12:00pm- 3:30pm. Sunday gates open at 10:30am. Racing begins at 12:30pm - 4:30pm. For more information, contact Florida Sports Park at (239) 774-2701.

February 15, 2013

Avow Hospice Butterfly Release

Avow Hospice will hold its annual Butterfly Release on Sunday, March 2, 2013 at Cambier Park in downtown Naples. The event, endowed by the Gorlach Family, features a live butterfly exhibit tent and community memorial service. The event includes live music by Johnny T, a volunteer bake sale,  a public reading of names to memorialize loved ones, inspirational commentary and concludes with the release of over 600 butterflies.

The butterfly was selected as the primary symbolic representation for this event since it undergoes a major transformative process as part of its normal life cycle. The butterfly is a reminder of how beautiful, delicate and fragile life can be, and to remember to appreciate and be grateful for each moment. Many view it as a symbol of joy, happiness, of spring, rebirth and renewal. The butterfly evokes an image that is mild and gentle, one that can touch the heart during difficult times and one of strength.

Registration, walk-through exhibit and children's activities open at 9:00 a.m.; the service begins at 11:00 a.m. at the park band shell. To include a loved one's name to be read during the ceremony (in honor or in memory), a gift of $40 per name may be made to Avow Hospice; proceeds benefit end-of-life care in Collier County. Early registration is encouraged to ensure inclusion. A limited number of name registrations will be available prior to the start of the ceremony for a gift of $50. Early arrival is encouraged to allow for parking, check-in and exhibit tent visit. For details or to register, call (239) 649-3683.

February 13, 2013

34th Annual Naples National Art Festival

Consistently voted among the top 10 art festivals in the country, the Naples National Art Festival was ranked in the top 10 fine art festivals in the United States by Sunshine Artist Magazine. We enjoyed strong guest attendance in 2012 topping 22,000 guests to the festival. The local community continues to count the Naples National among its premiere, must–see events, thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. A competitive, juried event, this fine art and fine craft festival showcases the talents of more than 260 artists. The festival is held on February 23 - 24, 2013 in scenic Cambier Park and along 8th Street South, one block from Downtown Naples’ premiere shopping and dining district. To facilitate the parking directives from the city and customer convenience, a free shuttle is available to both artists and festival attendees during artist setup and teardown as well as during festival hours.Admission is $5 to benefit youth art education programs. For more information call (239) 262-6517.

February 11, 2013

President's Day Weekend in The Everglades with Clyde Butcher

Make this President's Day Weekend memorable when you Meet Clyde and Niki Butcher at their gallery and enjoy a swamp walk in their "back yard". Located within the Big Cypress National Preserve, this weekend, Clyde Butcher will be available to do book signings in the gallery. Clyde Butcher has Bring a picnic lunch. 
Clyde Butcher is known around the world for his powerful black and white photographs of The Everglades.  He is known locally as a generous member of the community who has worked tirelessly to promote the beauty and delicacy of the places he choses to photograph
The artist himself explains his passion and life's work in his Artist Statement:
“I’ve been pursuing the concept of wilderness preservation through photography since 1961. I think it’s important for an artist to have a passion – you need to find a source of inspiration,” adds Butcher. “You have to follow a path and develop a sense of character in what you’re doing. What I’ve done with the Everglades is to help turn a swamp into a precious resource. I think it’s important for an artist to have a passion about the medium they use, but they also need to have a passion about what they are trying to express. Without that passion there is no heart, no soul, in the final piece of work.”
Cost $50 per person, special for this weekend, receive a $25 credit to use in the gallery. Child free with every paid adult. Reservation Required.  Call 239-695-2428 for more information.
Still need accommodations for President's Day Weekend?  The team at Hilton Naples Hotel looks forward to welcoming you. Call 239-430-4900 or make your hotel reservations online

February 6, 2013

Looking for Valentine's Day Gifts?

Looking for Valentine's Day Gift ideas? Why not buy an item that contributes to a good cause? Browse jewelry  handbags, cashmere, scarves, and other goodies at Beau Chic Boutique Facebook Album online.

Not sure what to pick? Come to the Hilton Naples and have one of the fabulous vendors recommend favorites for your loved one before 5 pm today!

February 5, 2013

Beau Chic Boutique benefiting Avow Hospice

Today and tomorrow from 10 am to 5 pm, come to the Hilton Naples and browse a wonderful selection of boutique jewelry and clothing with proceeds benefiting Avow Hospice:
Consider lunch or dinner at Shula's Steak House before or after you shop.

February 4, 2013

Marco Island Named One of the 100 Places that Can Change Your Child's Life

Sharing an exciting press release from our local Chamber of Commerce:

Photo Courtesy Dolphin Explorer
10,000 Islands Dolphin Project only Florida experience featured in National Geographic book

MARCO ISLAND, FLA., February 4, 2013 – Marco Island will be the only Florida destination featured in an upcoming National Geographic book, “100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth,” to be released on February 5, 2013. In the book, author Keith Bellows showcases the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project as the premier excursion that best highlights the destination, its culture and people while also providing an experience that will enrich the life of a child.

            “The world is the greatest classroom we have,” writes Bellows — editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine and father of three — in his introduction. “I’m convinced that any parent willing to give the gift of travel offers the gift that keeps on giving. Children who learn to travel will travel to learn. And they will do it all their lives.”

            From the treetops of Costa Rica to the Grand Canyon to Loch Ness, “100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life” explores the world, plumbing the heart of each special place and presenting it through a kid’s eyes. Each chapter features one unforgettable trip designed to leave a lasting impression on any child. Divided by region, the book looks at exciting travel locations for children in the United States/Canada; Caribbean/Mexico/South America; Europe; Africa/Middle East; Asia; and Oceania/Antarctica.

“It is a distinct honor to be featured as one of the top travel experiences for children, not just in Florida but around the world,” said Capt. Chris Desmond, founder and director, 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project. “Our goal is to provide an eco-tour that is both fun and educational for kids and adults alike, and this recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Dolphin Project team.”

            The 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project is the only ongoing study of wild dolphins in Southwest Florida and the only one in the United States that engages and is supported by the general public. For more than seven years, the Project has identified, catalogued and studied over 300 resident bottle-nose dolphins. 
The 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project welcomes public participation. Guests who purchase tickets to cruise on one of two daily trips alongside dolphin researchers aboard the Dolphin Explorer boat become citizen scientists through onboard involvement in dolphin survey activities, in addition to providing financial support with their ticket purchase. Children participate alongside researchers to complete the “Dolphin Challenge” and assist with photo identification, behavior evaluation and more. 

            In addition to public cruises, the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project also offers an environmental studies program designed for elementary schools that is highlighted by live video reports from the boat. The Project is funded and managed by Sea Excursions, Inc., a provider of water-related activities and services to visitors, residents, groups and hotels in Southwest Florida. For more information or to schedule your own dolphin experience, contact Sea Excursions at (239) 642-6899.

February 1, 2013

February VIVA FLORIDA 500 Events at Collier County Museums

In 2013, Florida commemorates the 500-year anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s journey of discovery and the first recorded landing of European explorers on the North American mainland. Although Florida’s cultural history dates back more than 12,000 years, to the Native American groups that were its first discoverers, Spain’s claim to La Florida in 1513 was a milestone that began a new chapter in our state’s unique history. Explore and experience the rich heritage and cultures of Southwest Florida through a year-long offering of special exhibitions, programs, demonstrations and events at each of the Collier County Museums, including:

 ·         Today until February 27

Naples Depot Museum

Where the Saw Grass Meets the Sky

Enjoy the historic Naples pier, a memorable sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, local wildlife, and the simple pleasures of living in Naples through the lens of photographer Dennis Axer. For more information, please call (239) 262-6525.

 ·         Today until February 28

Collier County Sheriff's Office Community Gallery

Crackers in the Glades: The Life, Art and Writings of Rob Storter, Everglades Pioneer
Robert Lee Storter, Jr. was born in 1894 in the town of Everglade (now Everglades City) to a pioneer family from Alabama. In his lifetime Storter enjoyed the unspoiled beauty and bounty of the Everglades region. He witnessed the transformation of the area from sand and swamp to paved roads and condominiums. The joys of living in a simpler time are a major theme in Storter’s work. His drawings of home, fishing and family activities are often annotated with tales of happy memories. This exhibit is sponsored by the Collier County Museum. The exhibit will be on display at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Community Gallery, 3319 Tamiami Trail E, Building J. For more information, please call (239) 774-4434.

 ·         February 4

Museum of the Everglades

"Unspoiled Florida" by Paul Marcellini
Since picking up a camera in 2005, Paul Marcellini has won numerous awards for his wildlife photography of the Everglades. Braving mosquitoes, snakes, and alligators, he searches for the unspoiled scenes of Wild Florida. Paul has been very fortunate to see and capture the many wild and beautiful things, translating their own unique beauty to the viewer. His works have been on display at the Miami International Airport, and Everglades National Park. A self-taught naturalist, he is constantly out to educate the public and create awareness for the vital ecosystems of South Florida. For more information, please call (239) 695-0008.

 ·         February 6

Collier County Museum
Minute Mysteries: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Boat! The Archaeology of Booze and Beverages
Before supermarkets and vending machines, how did the residents of southwest Florida get their beverages? How did this all change on January 16, 1919 with the passing of the 21st amendment? Listen to the evidence archaeologists and historians have for the role Florida’s maritime heritage played in keeping the good times rolling. Program will begin at 2 p.m. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.

·         February 8

Collier County Museum

Guest Speaker: Enchantments: Julian Dimock’s Early Photographs of Southwest Florida.
Between 1904 and 1913, New York financiers Julian Dimock and his father, A. W. Dimock, traveled through southwest Florida taking photographs and writing stories about their adventures. When they were done, Julian Dimock had amassed nearly 2000 photographs of Florida, all on glass negatives. These photographs are an extraordinary record of Seminole Indians and other people amid southwest Florida’s unique natural setting. This presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.

·         February 8

Collier County Museum

Archaeology Lab Open House

Explore the Craighead Laboratory on the grounds of the Collier County Museum. Learn how artifacts are found, analyzed, and identified. Discover how the ancient Calusa, Collier County’s original inhabitants, made tools using not stone, but shell. The open house will be from 1 – 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.
·         February 16

Collier County Museum

Black History Read-In
A Moroccan guide, Esteban De Dorantes, was one of the first enslaved Africans to explore Florida during the disastrous Narvaez expedition in 1528. Since that time, African Americans have played a significant and vibrant role in Florida’s history, culture and development. Join us as we recall their achievements and contributions and celebrate Black History Month with selected readings from famous African American writers, poets, artists, soldiers, inventors and statesmen. Our program begins at 1:00 p.m. Free admission. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.

·         February 19-23

Museum of the Everglades

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival

The life and times of legendary author, journalist and environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas are celebrated each February at the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City. Best known for her book, Everglades: River of Grass, Douglas was one of the first to draw attention to South Florida's fragile ecosystem and at the advanced age of 78, became an outspoken, sometimes feisty crusader to preserve and protect the Everglades.

This unique annual festival pays tribute to Douglas' groundbreaking work with five days of boat tours, guided walks and canoe trips through the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades National Park, environmental films, and museum talks by noted authors and scientists. The activities fill up fast, so reservations are required.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival is held every February, at the Museum of the Everglades, Everglades City. For more information, please call (239) 695-0008.

·         February 20

Collier County Museum

Program: Minute Mysteries: We Came, We Saw, We Held a ‘Gator: The Archaeology of Tourism in Florida
Tourism has long been one of Florida’s most important industries. What did Floridians do in the past to attract visitors? What memories did visitors choose to make and take with them? Find out what archaeologist can learn about Florida’s past through the materials of a vacation state of mind. Program will begin at 2 p.m. For more information, please call (239) 252-8476.

 ·         February 23

Marco Island Historical Museum

Conference: New World, Lost World
Enjoy a full day of discussion and debate on the Calusa Indian civilization and discover how the world they had known for centuries was forever changed in the mid-1500s by contact with the first Spanish explorers and missionaries. Our panel of noted experts includes Dr. William H. Marquardt, curator of South Florida Archaeology and Ethnography at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Director of the Randell Research Center, and Brigitte Van den Hove-Smith, regent of the Big Cypress Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Carlos Bico reenacting Ponce de Leon. Conference will begin at 2 p.m. Free admission, but reservations are suggested. For more information, please call (239) 642-1440.