The 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival

DATE: February 27, 2017

This week, Sanibel Island proudly shows off why it’s nicknamed the Shell Capital at the 80th annual Sanibel Shell Festival. The show is celebrating its 80th anniversary with the theme “Around the World in 80 Shells”. The three-day event will take place at the Sanibel Community House from Thursday, March 2 – Saturday, March 4. The event is the result of a collaboration between the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club and the Sanibel Community Association. Admission is free, but a $5 donation will gain you access to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum for the duration of the festival.

Art vs. Science

The festival’s two main categories, for both exhibition and competition, are the Scientific and Artistic Divisions.

The Scientific Division is focused on showcasing shells in their natural form. Judges score based on the criteria of aesthetics, specimens, labels and text, and educational value. For single-shell entries, points are allotted based simply on specimen and display.

Alternatively, the Artistic Division is focused on what can be created with shells. Judges score based on the quality of craftsmanship (first and foremost), quality and choice of material used and arrangement, beauty and originality of creation.

To get a better idea of just what to expect, check out the winners from last year’s show:

single shell winner sanibel shell show

(Scientific Winner) Single Shell – Sanibel/Captiva – Stefanie Wolf, Sanibel

multiple shell second place sanibel shell show festival

(Scientific 2nd Place) Multiple Shells, Sanibel/Captiva – Self-collected – Mary Burton, Lehigh Acres

hobbyist artistic winner sanibel shell show festival

(Hobbyist Winner) Flower Arrangement Made of Shells – Joanne Bucaida, Bonita Springs

professional winner sanibel shell show festival

(Professional Winner) Flower Arrangement Made of Shells – Barb Walling, Sanibel

To get in the spirit, guests created their own giant shell craft on our beach. Shellie the Whale can’t wait for this weekend!


For more information on the Sanibel Shell Festival, click here.

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