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St. Patty’s celebration huge for Shell Factory

Easter event coming Sunday

March 23, 2016
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The Shell Factory's strategy has been simple regarding special events: Start them out small, and let them build momentum. If they don't succeed, there's little risk. If they do, the rewards are immense.

That was the thinking when they started their St. Patrick's Day celebration a few years ago. It grew until this year's event was basically standing room only, with a packed Dolphin Room and an equally busy Dog Bonz outdoor bar.

Next on the agenda is Easter, as well as two other large events lined up for April.

Rick Tupper, marketing director and CFO of the Shell Factory, said the St. Patrick's Day event was by far the best ever.

"It's gotten so big we're going to have it completely outdoors next year in the center parking lot, similar to what we have at Gumbofest," Tupper said. "There's a very large local group that's now coming to the Shell Factory. We're really being known for putting on quality events."

The event started with a warm-up party outside from 1 to 4 p.m. before taking things inside until around 8 p.m. Indoor festivities featured all sorts of specials, including corned beef and cabbage, green beer, a live DJ, Irish dancers and an Irish costume contest starring Larry the Leprechaun.

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Things continue to move along on Easter Sunday, when the Shell Factory hosts the Family Easter celebration, which will feature an entire day of food and fun.

Last year more than 1,100 childrenshowed up, with at least as many planned for this year.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. with the Easter Egg trail in the Nature Park, which is free to all kids 12 and under. The Easter Bunny will be there for photo-ops.

"Last year's hint was on the golf course. This year, there will be 10 separate stations in the Nature Park and every single child will end up with an egg, instead of running through the golf course and getting trampled." Tupper said. "We have 10,000 eggs ready for them."

There also will be a special fun park family package, 10 percent off all toys in the toy store, a petting farm for the kids, live music and a family friendly Easter Buffet that will include the traditional holiday feast, as well as things kids would enjoy. The buffet is $14.95 for adults, $6.95 for kids.

April brings the Taste of North Fort Myers on April 10, and Dueling Dock Dogs from April 15-17 in the center parking lot. The weekly Cruise-Ins will continue on Monday all month long.

"After we started branding ourselves as a family destination, we really started to boom. We anticipate to see revenues continue to increase," Tupper said.



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