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Great gumbo: Annual festival returns to Shell Factory

January 23, 2014
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

One of the Shell Factory's biggest events, the 12th annual Southwest Florida Gumbo Fest, is coming on Sunday, Jan. 26, and organizers promise lots of the delicious fare will be on hand.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation, which has raised money to fund field trips for thousands of area school children who otherwise would have been unable to visit.

Like last year, there will be plenty of activities for people of all ages including music, children's activities, beer, cocktails, Jello-shots and lots of food. An added attraction will be the camel and pony rides, and children will get in free to the Nature Park with an adult admission.

Admission to the fest is once again free as Sam Galloway Ford has again lent its name as the main sponsor.

Among the attractions will be three bands, all of which took part in the event last year. Cracker Blues, a popular local blues band that has opened for major acts such as Eddie Money, Foreigner and Charlie Daniels; The Certified Band, a four-piece that will keep everyone entertained, and Gator Gumbo, which was a big hit last year with their zydeco music and zany antics.

The big star is, of course, gumbo, the rich soup built around a base of a dark, rich roux, supplemented by celery, onion, peppers, spices and either meat or seafood.

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This year the offerings will be chicken Cajun and seafood gumbo, and they guarantee there plenty for everybody to sample.

Last year about 3,000 attended Gumbo Fest. This year about 4,500 is expected according to Rick Tupper, marketing director at the Shell Factory.

"Last year, we ran out of gumbo. That will not happen this year, trust me," Tupper said. "We will have enough gumbo for 4,500 people."

Fact Box

If You Go:

What: Southwest Florida Gumbo Fest


Sunday, Jan. 26;

from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Shell Factory,

2787 N Tamiami Trail

Cost: Free admission with food and drinks available for purchase. Proceeds will go to the Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation

More Info: Call 995-2141 ext. 117 or visit:

Last year the gumbo was about $5 per serving. And there also will be plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs for those who don't care for the spicy soup.

Another big event this weekend will be the Aqua Dogs Dock Dog jumping, which will happen Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-26.

It will feature Outdoor Big Air, Extreme Vertical, Speed Retrieve and Iron Dog Challenges. It will be a world-qualifying event.

A full schedule is available at

"It's going to give us a great start to the year. We've kept up our 15 percent increase in revenue over the year and this coming year we expect to do the same thing," Tupper said.

For more information on the Shell Factory, call 995-2141 ext. 117 or visit online at:



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