It's still a couple of weeks away, but Barry Alan Roth is already counting down to midnight for this New Year's Eve.
Roth, the behind-the-scenes orchestrator for the City of Sanibel's official New Year's Eve Party, has been busy making plans for this year's celebration almost since the bell rung in 2010.
"It's never too early to start making your New Year's Eve plans," Roth said with his ever-present smile. "And this year's celebration is going to be even bigger and better than last year!"
Advance tickets to attend the party, available only at the Rec Center, are $15 for adults (18 and older) and $12 for children. Kids 6 and under are free. At the door, the cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children.
"So far, tickets have been selling slowly. Last year, a lot of people waited until the last few days to buy their tickets," Roth reported. "But I would encourage folks to purchase their tickets in advance because the cut-off point is 600 guests. And it's cheaper to buy them in advance, too."
Following this year's theme, "Come Together," Sanibel residents and guests will gather to enjoy refreshments, live entertainment, dancing, games and prizes as well as the traditional midnight countdown to the new year.
Starting at 8 p.m., partygoers can dine on a wide variety of foods, including chicken fingers, cake, deli, fruit and vegetable platters (provided by Bailey's General Store), pizza (provided by Island Pizza), hot dogs (provided by Lazy Flamingo II), mini donuts (provided by Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory), soda and root beer floats (provided by Jerry's Foods), gourmet coffee and hot tea (provided by Coffee Bar @ Baileys), fresh squeezed juices (provided by Sun Harvest Citrus), water (provided by Costco) and more.
Entertainment will include live music and dancing with Gene Federico, strolling magicians Professor Patches and Robbie The Ringmaster, a Rock Band and Guitar Hero tournament, youth games and activities as well as bingo and a 50/50 raffle.
The raffle winner will receive 50 percent of all raffle proceeds and the other 50 percent of raffle proceeds will be used to provide financial assistance to children attending city-sponsored recreation programs. Last year's winner and the Rec Center shared a $2,075 jackpot.
Tickets are sold in packets of six chances for $5. The drawing will be held on New Year's Eve at approximately 11:45 p.m. and you don't need to be present to win. Raffle tickets may be purchased during normal business hours at Bank of The Islands, at 1699 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, located at 2475 Library Way, and at the Sanibel Recreation Center, at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road.
Raffle tickets are also available at the Sanibel Island Farmers Market, in the City Hall parking lot at 800 Dunlop Road. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday.
Bingo, available to players age 18 and older, begins at 8:15 p.m., with 23 games and more than $7,500 in prizes available. Winners may walk away with 3-day, 2-night resort stays, golf outings, jewelry, boat rides, guided and gift certificates. The minimum prize value is $100, with most valued at more than $300.
"We'll have guided tours of 'Ding' Darling with Paul Tritaik, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum with Dr. Jose Leal and a beach tour with Dr. Bruce Neill of the Sanibel Sea School," noted Roth. "We'll also have a Sanibel Thriller cruise, with lunch or dinner afterwards."
Tickets to participate in bingo are $85 per person, which includes admission to the party, refreshments, entertainment and more. Only 50 bingo tickets will be sold.
For more information, contact Event Chairperson Barry Alan Roth at 313-9591 or the Sanibel Recreation Center at 472-0345.By JEFF LYSIAK