Monday, December 6, 2021




Donna Fiala

It’s exciting to see all the delightful events we all enjoy each season presenting themselves once again this year,and we’re blessed with gorgeous weather, as well! One such event which was introduced last year for the first time is the Bayshore Festival of the Arts, a two day event held at Sugden Regional Park on U.S. 41 E & Lakewood Blvd.

Usually, the first time an event is presented the attendance is lacking because no one really knows if it’s worth attending. However, this event was different. Over 7,000 people attended between the two days! An amazing feat in itself.

What is unusual about this event is that different performers appear about every hour and a half, starting at 11:00AM to 5:00PM. The show is free, and if you would like to park inside Sugden itself, the fee is $5, which is very convenient.

This year’s performers on Saturday, January 28, include Lely’s ROTC Color Guard, Paradise Coastmen, Barbershop Chorus, Seacrest High School Chorus, Opera, Naples Young Artists, Rebecca Richardson Quartet, Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto Quintet, Frontline Bluegrass and our own star, Casey Weston.

Sunday, January 29, will feature Naples Klezner Revival Band, Barron Collier High School Jazz Band, Inish Irish Celtic Trio, Tir Na Nog Irish Dancers, West of Galway, Naples Concert Bank, Richard Smith, Julie Adams and Jon Garon, and the BAND OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE RESERVE with Naples High School Stephen Detjen and band members.

During the Festival, there will also be an Art Show of Juried Artists, Food Vendors such as the Real Macaw, Bamboo Café, Mongello’s Restaurant, Old World Market, Chick-Fil-A, Del-Mel Jamaican Restaurant, Moravela’s Pizza, Fred’s Diner/Naples, Rita’s Italian Ice and more. BRING YOUR OWN CHAIRS OR BLANKETS!

Have you ever been to a Turkey Fry?………….at Byran and Rondi Hauser’s home? If not, you’ve never been to a Turkey Fry. No one can prepare as tasty, crispy and juicy a turkey as the Hauser’s, and I’ll vouch for that! I feel blessed that they had one for me………..and that so many people came to share friendship!

A number of people have asked me about the accident on U.S. 41 E, so I promised I would include it in this column. For about 6 years now the East Naples community, and I, as their commissioner, have been asking the State (FDOT) for a stoplight at the intersection of Eagle Lakes Community Park/ Hitching Post and another one at Whistler’s Cove/South West Blvd.-Trail Acres. You see this is NOT a county road, so we cannot take it upon ourselves to install a light. We must ask the State, and they then study to see if the area meets “warrants”. Once it meets “warrants”, then the county has to find the dollars to install the light, mast arms, engineering, permitting, etc. The county usually seeks assistance with the cost from those businesses in the area that might benefit. In this economy of late, it hasn’t been easy to find that assistance, understandably, because we’re talking in the range of $450,000! The light at Eagle Lakes finally met the warrants, and a developer stepped forward to partially fund the project (the park is also supposed to contribute to the cost), and that light and mast arms are being designed to fit that area specifically. The other area by Whistler’s Cove did not meet warrants, but then again, the warrants are based on vehicle traffic, not pedestrian traffic, which is mainly the type of traffic for this intersection.

I personally asked the State a number of times if there was anything that could be installed to caution traffic or assist the walkers and bikers with safe passage from one side of U.S. 41E to the other, across 6 lanes of traffic going at least 55 mph. Look at Marco with the lighted cross walks that provide safe passage on Collier Blvd.! Or possibly caution signals could be activated to stop signals when a button is pushed. Anyway, the third accident just occurred last week. The first was a young man coming home from Lely High School on his bike, the second was a two-car accident, and now the third was a woman who was hit crossing U.S. 41E and was killed. This MUST stop! Please write FDOT and tell them how important it is to provide safety for the walking public to get across U.S. 41 E by Whistler’s Cove. I could use your help and support!

Last Saturday the Columbiette’s from San Marco Catholic Church had a Winter Wonderland Dinner Dance, and I believe I saw every dedicated volunteer and community advocate at those tables! What a marvelous group! I bet Father Tim is extremely proud of his congregation and fellowship shared by all.

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