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Ding’s 75th Anniversary Drive-In Gala


Mark your calendars for December 1st!

That will not only be the culmination of a year’s worth of activities to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, but a day — and evening — filled with celebration.

The daytime festivity, in concert with “Ding” Darling Day, will be free and open to the public. It will combine a day of safe family fun, live music and special guests, while following CDC guidelines. Visit for the schedule of activities.

The evening will feature a unique “Drive-In Theater” themed ticketed event, harkening guests back to the 1940s and the original days of the refuge.

Guests will safely enjoy live music and a program projected onto a drive-in style screen with audio broadcast to their cars. “Car hops,” wearing masks and other protective gear, will deliver food and drinks to guests. The evening, which will take place in the parking lot across from the Sanibel Community House, will also feature visits from “Theodore Roosevelt” reprisor Joe Wiegand.

“Dec. 1 will be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration to remember and an occasion to look forward with optimism to the refuge’s future,” said DDWS executive director Birgie Miller.

Tickets to the gala will go on sale this week.  Space is limited to 70 cars, but there is no limit as to how many people can occupy each vehicle.

To learn more about the Refuge 75th Anniversary Celebration & Gala and buying tickets, visit

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