Home' Island Sun : ISN 082815 Contents ISLAND SUN - AUGUST 28, 2015
Celebrity Island Dinner
Emphasizes ‘Fun’ For Fundraiser
by Jeff Lysiak
It may still be four weeks away, but servers selected to work during The Bailey-
Matthews National Shell Museum’s always popular Celebrity Island Dinner
fundraiser – scheduled for Monday, September 28 at Traders Café and Store
on Sanibel – are eagerly anticipating another exciting evening of dining, dancing,
comedy and camaraderie.
“The fantastic shelling is one of the reasons I fell in love with – and ulti-
mately moved to – Sanibel,” said Holli Martin, office administrator at Heidrick
& Company Insurance, who will serve as a first-year celebrity waitress at next
month’s event. “The more educated I’ve become about mollusks and their impor-
tance to the ecosystem, the more involved I’ve become with the shell museum. I
think it’s an asset to our island. So, when Dorrie (Hipschman, executive director of
the shell museum) asked if I would participate, I was happy to oblige.”
What began in 2010 as a fundraiser for the shell museum, Celebrity Island
Dinner quickly became the island’s high-season jumpstart, where year-round resi-
dents and employees reunite with returning seasonal locals. For $60 per person,
guests have a three-course gourmet meal, with beer and wine or non-alcoholic
beverages during dinner. The shell museum receives a portion of the ticket price,
yet the real fundraising happens when the lines between performers and spectators
At the dinner, you may run into a pirate or a mermaid, be served by a hippie or
get serenaded by Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan or Barry Manilow. Almost anything can
– a nd will – happen!
In fact, some celebrity waiters will go above and beyond the norm to help make
the shell museum money. Last year, returning celebrity waitress Mary Bondurant
of Bondurant Realty danced an Irish reel while BIG ARTS Production Manager
Bobby Logue received a standing ovation for singing the Frank Sinatra standard
New York, New York. Want a neck rub from Prawnbroker’s Mark Blust? Well...
it’s going to cost you. In fact, the
bargaining between celebrities and
guests garners some of the biggest
“Celebrity Island Dinner is unique
because guests are as much a part
of the show as our celebrity waiters.
Diners call the shots! And if tips are
good enough, there’s no telling what
someone can get our celebrities to
do,” said Katie Ball, marketing and
events manager for the shell muse-
um. “It’s one of my favorite events
because everyone has a lot of fun,
and the crazy antics by local celebri-
ties really means a lot to us here at
the museum. We know how busy
these folks are and we’re honored
that they care enough to participate.”
Trent Peake, member services
manager for the Sanibel & Captiva
Islands Chamber of Commerce, will
be a first-time celebrity waiter this
“The shell museum is a very popu-
lar attraction for our visitors and it’s
a great way to promote all the good
things that the shell museum offers
our community and visitors,” said Peake, who plans to reach out to chamber mem-
bers and the local community in order to solicit tips. “Last year was my first event
to attend, and the karaoke was a big hit.”
Another “rookie” celebrity waitress is Shelby Peters, president at Hillgate
Marketing Services, who is eager to take part in the upcoming benefit.
“I’ve been selling seats at tables and telling them they will be in good hands
and for a good cause,” said Peters. “And, of course, it just makes total sense to tip
‘Shell-bee’ for the shell museum’s ‘Shell-ebrity’ dinner.”
In addition, this year’s staff of celebrity waiters includes:
• Debi Almeida – owner and president, Sanibel Blue
• Ric Base – president, Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce
• Mark Blust – VP of operations, Prawnbroker Restaurant Group
• Marvin “Rookie” Bradley – Rookie’s Lawn Care and Bonny’s Blooming
• Terry Igo – CEO, The Sanibel-Captiva Trust Company
• Eric Pfeifer – Pfeifer Realty Group
As a special bonus this year, celebrity waiter (and Lily & Co. Jewelers owner)
Dan Schuyler is going all out. He has pledged that if he can raise $15,000 in tips
for the museum, he will get his head shaved at the end of the event.
“We at Lily & Co. Jewelers love to give back to our wonderful Sanibel and
Captiva islands and have always taken great pride in working with The Bailey-
Matthews National Shell Museum,” said Schuyler. “I’ve had the great privilege and
honor to be able to serve as a board member for three years and know how impor-
tant it is to our islands.”
Hipschman hopes that Schuyler succeeds in his lofty fund – and “fun” – raising
“Dan is a great supporter of The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum,” she
added. “And the crazier the celebrity waiters get, the more I enjoy it!”
Celebrity Island Dinner will be held on Monday, September 28 from 5 to 9 p.m .
at Traders Café and Store, 1551 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel. Tickets are $60 each
and are limited to 120 guests. Reservations are available by calling 395-2233 ext.
16 or online at shellmuseum.org.
Elvis (Terry Igo) arrives at last year’s Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s annual fun-
draiser, Celebrity Island Dinner, which returns to Traders Cafe and Store on September 28
photos by Jeff Lysiak
Celebrity waiters Robin Cook and Mark Blust at
last year’s dinner
American Legion Post 123
On Sunday, August 30, American Legion Post 123 is serving corned beef and
cabbage from 1 to 8 p.m. There will be a potluck picnic on Sunday, September
6. Call for details.
Every Wednesday through September, Post 123 will host a ping pong tournament
beginning at 5 p.m.
Nine-ball pool tournaments are played every Monday starting at 5 p.m .
Tuesday’s special is soft shell or deep fried tacos all day.
Hump Day specials are served all day on Wednesdays.
On Fridays, a six-ounce ribeye steak sandwich is available all day. There are daily
specials as well as the popular half-pound burgers. Food is served from 11 a.m. to 8
p.m. The public is welcome.
If you have a flag that needs to be retired, drop it off at your convenience.
Hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from
noon to 9 p.m.
American Legion Post 123 is located at Mile Marker 3 on Sanibel-Captiva Road.
For more information, call 472-9979.
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