Have you noticed?  One of the Islands’ most anticipated annual events has been missing for the past three years as a result of COVID, followed by Hurricane Ian.  But luckily the long wait is over, as the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club has announced that their annual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner will return on Saturday, February 24, from 4 pm to 10 pm at the Sanibel Community House. Islanders will again be able to gather with family, neighbors and friends for what has long been known as the “social event of the season”.

The dinner serves up an all-you-can-eat Italian feast of salad, pasta & meatballs with special-recipe Kiwanis spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, and beverages (wine and soda).  Tickets are $20 per person, and children under 10 eat free.  Following the dinner, patrons will be entertained in the Great Hall with music, dancing, and a fun raffle and auction.  And after dinner wine, coffee  and dessert will be available (famous Bubble Room cake in 3 popular flavors).

Spaghetti Dinner Tickets can be purchased at various locations around town including: Bank of the Islands, Jerry’s Foods, San-Cap Community Bank, SanCap Pak-N-Ship, Captiva Civic Assoc., Sanibel Island Farmers Market, and from any Kiwanis member.  Tickets will be limited this year, so those interested in attending are encouraged to get them early.

The Spaghetti Dinner has been a fixture on the local social calendar since the earliest days of the local Kiwanis Club, which recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary.  San-Cap Kiwanis was founded in May 1973, a period that also saw the creation of the City of Sanibel a year later in 1974.  In its early years, the Club focused on projects supporting the Sanibel School.  For example, when it first opened the Sanibel School had no air conditioning, and the new Kiwanis Club went to work and raised $9,000 to help install the first A/C units at the school.  That early fundraising effort included the first Spaghetti Dinner, held at a local restaurant with the Kiwanis members taking over cooking, serving, and cleanup. That early effort later became an annual affair, held at the Sanibel Community House.

In addition to the Spaghetti Dinner, Kiwanis fundraising activities include the annual Diners Delight 2for1 Coupon Books and, more recently Kiwanis community golf tournaments, and all funds are devoted to supporting local youth recreation and education programs. The Club likes to boast that “The Money Raised Here Stays Here”.

Over the years, the Club’s support for Island youth programs has expanded and included support for a broad variety of youth recreational and educational programs.  These have included Island little league baseball, girls’ softball, swimming program, Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops, grants to other non-profit organizations serving youth, and a major focus on scholarships to Island youth headed to college and trade schools.

Those fortunate enough to land a ticket to the 2024 Spaghetti Dinner can be sure of three things:  Having a good meal, having a good time, and helping to support a good cause – our Island youth!