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Footprints in the Sand -- Natural, inaugural event celebrates Mother’s Day -- and Mother Nature -- Saturday

May 4, 2016
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Town of Fort Myers Beach and the local Marine Resource Task Force are proud to come together and announce their inaugural Mother's Day Mother Earth Rhythm of the Island Festival, taking place Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Santini Marina Plaza, 7205 Estero Blvd.

This very special event will get to its roots and feature a songwriting contest where contestants will perform their original songs about Fort Myers Beach, helping to raise environmental education and awareness of the island and its natural inhabitants, as well as the Americana Community Outreach Music Association (ACMA), committed to supporting original independent music and musicians. Along with that, Bonnie Roberts Events will offer 40+ vendors, merchants and crafters that will be lined up along the festival grounds.

"This is a celebration of all things wonderful about Fort Myers Beach our community, our natural resources and our families! The Marine Resources Task Force (MRTF) has been looking to hold an environmental awareness event for a couple of years now, but since none of us has any experience in that department we've been a bit stymied until Bonnie Roberts, Janeen Paulauskis and Fish-Tale Marina owners Al and Kathy Durrett were gracious enough to allow us to participate in the Mother's Day event they hold each May in Santini Plaza," said Keri Hendry Weeg, vice-chair of MRTF. "Bonnie and I came up with the name 'Mother's Day/Mother Earth' because how better to honor your mother than to celebrate our planet? Then, MRTF chairman Bill Veach suggested having a songwriting competition as a way of attracting people to the event, and that has really taken off! We are so fortunate to have Sheena Brook helping us, and her contacts with the Island Hopper Songwriting Festival has really done a lot for our event not only do we have great talent, we have a great prize for the winner: a chance to perform their song during the Island Hopper (Sept. 23 to Oct. 2)!"

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Photo by Melissa Schneider.

MRTF chairman Bill Veach is sure to encourage guests to see the talent that will be on the stage that day. "This is a great opportunity to discover some of the great local songwriters. The styles of the songs will vary, some are great singers, some great storytellers and some are both," he said. "Sheena will also perform a couple of songs after the competition."

So far, songwriter submissions have been phenomenal, and the staff expects at least 10 very talented singers and songwriters to perform that afternoon. (Sorry, no last-minute registrations are available.) Musicians will take the stage in groups of three, beginning at 9:30 that morning, and the winner will be announced by 11:30 a.m.

An all-ages, family friendly festival, there is sure to be something for everyone, so pack up the kids and head on out. Peruse the perimiter for drinks, desserts and snacks to keep cool, and the Bonez Brothers will be serving up some lip-smacking, award-winning BBQ.

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As for the vendors, "many of Bonnie's hand-picked arts and crafts vendors will have special Mother's Day gifts, local environmental groups will be on hand to answer questions about our unique island ecosystem and in between performers some will speak from the stage and answer questions from MRTF members and the audience," Keri said. "This will include a 'Stump the Scientist' session, where Town Environmental Technician Rae Blake will be blindfolded and attempt to identify creatures found on the beach."

All in all, several fab local groups came together to create a very special, momentous occasion for Mother's Day weekend, while promoting awareness of our natural habitat and great local organizations. "When our committee decided we wanted to do an event to celebrate the island, Town Council got behind it right away, as this is a wonderful and fun way to teach people about our natural resources. But none of this would be possible without Bonnie and Fish Tale when they agreed to host this event, our dream became a reality," Keri said.

For further information on the festival or MRTF, email or find the group's page on Facebook by searching "Mothers Day/Mother Earth Rhythm of the Island Festival." For further information on the ACMA, visit, or to join as a vendor with Bonnie Roberts, email bonnierobertsevents or call 239-443-8810.



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