Happy New Year to all and my wishes for a great year filled with joy, happiness, good health and lots of fun! And speaking of fun, the Smallwood Music Festival will be held Saturday, Jan. 31, at the old Rod & Gun Club in Everglades City from 11 AM until dark. General admission is $10 (bring your own chair) or $40 for special seating. All proceeds will benefit the Ted Smallwood Store, a 501(c)3 charity. Among the spectacular array of South Florida musicians who are donating their time and talents for this fundraiser are Wholetones, Raiford Starke, Nate the Gladesman, Stone Crab Steve Arvey, Florida Boy, Valerie C. Wisecracker & the Walkin’ Catfish, Snooker Joe Stem, J. Robert, Cindy Hackney and Sun Guy (Do you hear that Bryan & Rondi?). You will also find arts and crafts booths as well as raffles and auctions.
One-hundred years ago the Smallwood Store was a trading post for the Seminole Indians and pioneers, and it also served as the local post office. If you remember, recently, the Smallwood Store underwent some difficult legal problems when a new developer located adjacent to the store closed Mamie Street, preventing people from getting to their homes or the Smallwood Store. “Mamie Street” was named after Ted Smallwood’s wife Mamie. These developers tore out the road and put fencing all along the area to eliminate entry. Through many court battles, a court order was issued, and the developers were required to tear down the fence and repave the road. However, legal costs and confrontations continue, and the Smallwood Store ran out of finances through this process and need our help.
The Everglades Society for Historic Preservation is sponsoring this event on behalf of the Smallwood Store. For information and to book tickets, see www.evergladeshistorical.org or phone Marya Repko at 239-695-2905. Donations can also be made on line at www.smallwoodstore.com.
* The Marco Island Kiwanis Club has announced one of its most famous events, The Car Show, for Sunday, Feb. 15. John DeRosa deserves so much praise for thinking of the idea years ago and continuing the tradition annually. This car show has become a huge event! The cars range from antiques to luxurious beauties, and they enter free of charge to display their vehicle. There will be lots of excitement and food, plus trophies and prizes for different categories of cars and a 50/50 raffle. It’s always a lot of fun! You won’t want to miss it!
* The Marco Island Kiwanis Club also has announced its annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, which will be held Tuesday, Feb. 3, at Hideaway Beach. Call Kiwanis President Dianna Dohm of Mutual of Omaha at 239-331-0908 for details and information. Not only do the ladies participate, but they have male models as well. Ah, the women really love those male models!
* The Marco Island Kiwanis Club meets each Thursday at 7:30 AM at Stonewalls, 551 S. Collier Blvd., for a terrific breakfast, great fellowship, lots of event planning and lots of fun. If you’ve never come to one of their meetings, you ought to stop by. It’s a great way to start the day.
* The Collier County Parks and Recreation Department has announced that the parking lot improvements at Tigertail Beach are complete, which means that people coming over the bridge to Marco can now find easy parking and access closer to the bridge so you won’t have to drive through all the traffic to the south side of Marco. It includes a large parking lot, bathrooms at both entrances to the parking and a great concession stand that serves beer, wine and good food. There are a number of boardwalks going from the parking lot to the beach. Another project the county is contemplating is an observation deck for bird watchers and others just wanting to look at the water, but that will not be constructed during this season.