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How It All Began

Ever wonder how the Sanibel Shell Festival got its start? 

Thanks to our friends at the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club for this excerpt, from a local newspaper article circa 1968, explaining the origins of the shell fair:

“The first Community Fair was held in 1928 on the porch of the Old Island Inn and was a miniature county fair with baked goods, ‘fancy work,’ and homemade gifts offered for sale by the ladies of Sanibel to help the community. It was considered quite a success. As a matter of adding interest the ladies brought boxes of their pretty Sanibel shells to show the visitors. This had so much appeal that the next year when the Fair was held on the porch of Casa Ybel Hotel, more shell displays were added and people began to come across on the ferry from Fort Myers to see them. They also came to take home some of the toothsome fresh coconut pies and cakes that the island ladies baked for the sale. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were among the more distinguished visitors at this Fair. Pictures taken of them on the porch of Casa Ybel viewing the shells are still in existence.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The 2019 event — celebrating its 91st year — will run for three days, March 7 – 9 (9:00am – 5:00pm Thursday and Friday; 9:00am – 4:00 pm Saturday) at the Sanibel Community House.  Hope to see you there!


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