It was this time last year that I was first introduced to Goodland and the completely unfamiliar phenomenon of season. I flew back to Ohio with my head still spinning, but was ready to make the quick turnaround to relocate here. In the short month spent visiting my mother, I’d gotten caught up in the whirlwind of fun; so many things to do jam-packed into so little time.
Over the last week, the air has once again become thick with an almost palpable anticipation for the sudden influx of tourism that’s just around the corner, and although my first summer in Southwest Florida was wonderfully peaceful, I am absolutely ready for what’s coming.
The 31st Annual Mullet Festival
Each year, this highly anticipated event draws thousands of people to Stan’s Idle Hour and throughout our tiny island; in my opinion it is the official start of season.
On Friday, Jan. 23, Stan’s will host their Ultimate Kick-Off Party. The three-day festival will feature live music by Grayson Rogers, The Hot Damn Band and Fakahatchee. A fish cleaning contest and Princess Buzzard Lope will beheld on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the fun-filled weekend will wrap up on Sunday, Jan. 25 with the Queen Buzzard Lope Best Costume Award Dance Contest. The Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department will be on hand Saturday and Sunday, serving hot dogs, and of course, mullet will definitely be on the menu.
Stan’s is located at 221 Goodland Drive West. For more information, call 239-394-3041.
Goodland Civic Association’s (GCA) Pancake Breakfast
On Saturday and Sunday, before the festivities begin, start your morning right with a great breakfast. Coinciding with Mullet Fest, the GCA will hold its annual pancake breakfast, 8:30-11:00 AM at the Goodland Community Center, located at 417 Mango Ave.
Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy a yummy breakfast with neighbors and friends; the cost is just $5 per adult and $3 per child. In addition to delicious food, there will be raffles for local restaurants and t-shirts for sale. All proceeds will be used by the GCA for maintenance of the community center and for future events.
Goodland Arts Alliance (GAA) 2nd Annual Arts and Crafts Fair
Also during Mullet Festival, on Sunday, Jan. 25,10 AM-4 PM the GAA will hold its annual Arts and Crafts Fair at Margood Harbor Park. It promises to be a day filled with fine arts and crafts, food and fun.
Because I was previously obligated to work last year, I was unfortunately unable to attend this particular art and craft fair. There are so many crafters and artists here in Goodland; I’ve often thought we could vie for some world record, and after enjoying the abundance of local creativity on display at the last Holiday Bazaar, I am thrilled that I am able to attend this event for the first time.
Margood Harbor Park is located at 321 Pear Tree Ave. For more information, contact Sherri Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-821-4251.
The 19th Annual Mardi Gras-Goodland Boat Parade
On Saturday, Feb. 21, the Mardi Gras-Goodland Boat Parade will start at 2 PM at marker G15, near Moran’s Barge Marina. The boats will take a turn through the Goodland Harbor and then circumnavigate the island ending at the Goodland boat park, where spectators are invited to picnic and watch. Volunteers will be selling hotdogs, chips and soda.
Those attending by boat are asked to anchor as close to the mangroves as possible between the Stan Gober Memorial Bridge and marker R10. Boats can also dock, dine and watch the show from Stan’s, the Little Bar, The Old Marco Lodge or Marker 8.5.
Themed differently each year, the boat parade is another crowd favorite; so many come to watch. This year’s theme is Heroes and Superheroes. Just pick your hero or superhero and decorate your crew and boat to depict it. Boats of all sizes and shapes are welcome, and more boaters are still needed and encouraged to sign up. Extravagance is not required, and the emphasis is on fun. All proceeds will be donated to Avow Hospice to support services provided by their Marco Island office.
For more information or to register, contact Elaine Ritchie at 239-642-8356 or visit www.mardigrasgoodland.com
Melinda Gray studied journalism and political science at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Before relocating, she wrote for The Vindicator and The Jambar in Youngstown, and is currently a contributing writer for an emergency preparedness website. Melinda now lives in Goodland with her two children. She can be contacted at email@example.com or 239-896-0426