The last time we checked in with the hardworking organizers of the FMB Fireworks Committee, they were busy getting ready for a fundraiser at the Lani Kai on Sunday, May 15th. This week, we spoke with Jackie Liszak owner of Sea Gypsy Inn who, along with the Lani Kai’s Mike Ensor, the Beach Chamber of Commerce, Pete’s Time Out owner John Lallo and Silver Sands’ Andrea Carriere, formed the committee just a few short months ago when Town Council threatened to cancel the annual Fourth of July show due to lack of funding. Jackie told us she is absolutely overjoyed at the response from the community in such a short time.
“I think we may have had the biggest silent auction ever held on this island,” she said. “We had 106 items donated and over 400 bidders!”
Liszak, who has already given Council $20,000 for the Fourth, plans to hand them another check for $5,000 in hopes that they will match it like they did the $20,000 so a bigger and brighter show can be had, told us that the Lani Kai event raised over $26,000.
“People came by jet ski, by trolley, by bicycle, from all over Lee County – one couple even came from across the state!” she said. “Every single person that came said how impressed they were – major kudos to the Lani Kai owners and staff for keeping the champagne flowing and the roast pig smoking. And the donations from locals were incredible – we had artists, hotels, businesses big and small so many people were so generous.”
“On behalf of the committee, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this great event!”
There will be one more fundraiser this weekend before the committee will take a break through the heat of summer before beginning in earnest once again in October.
“This Sunday, May 29th, Norm’s Beach Parking will be donating revenue from their parking lot to FMB Fireworks, and they will also have hot dogs and soda,” Jackie said. “And we’ve already got a number of events lined up for fall – the Shamrock, the Yucatan’s new outdoor bar and the Lani Kai has expressed an interest in having another event.”
Anyone interested in contributing may send a check payable to FMB Fireworks Fund to the FMB Chamber of Commerce, 1661 Estero Blvd, Suite 8, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 or visit the Facebook page at FMB Fireworks Fund or email email@example.com.
All funds raised by FMB Fireworks will go towards ensuring that the beach will go snap, crackle and boom every New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July.
Keri Hendry Weeg