Fresh produce, live entertainment and a family friendly atmosphere are just a few of the things that add appeal to this year’s returning Santini Sunrise Fresh Market at Fort Myers Beach at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
This year, the market is bringing something different to the table — the products that are being sold are now 100 percent homegrown or handmade.
“An exciting change for the Santini Sunrise Fresh Market this year is that we’ve gone ‘all fresh’,” said Bonnie Roberts, the event coordinator for Santini Marina Plaza. “(We’re) homegrown and homemade. Our jewelry makers will be making and customizing their pieces on site. Honey from the Hood will be speaking on the process of harvesting local honey.”
This year will be the market’s fifth anniversary of being held at the south end of Fort Myers Beach, becoming a self proclaimed “Tuesday Morning destination event.”
“We have been blessed to be so well received by the beach community and appreciate the enthusiastic support of Al and Kathy Durrett, owners of Santini Marina Plaza,” Roberts said.
The event will also include several live demonstrations of craft making, including jewelry maker Connie Eugenio, who will be engraving homemade rings and bracelets for customers to go. Watercolor artist Donna Elias of Donna Elias’ Bayside Gallery and Costal Gift Shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will be painting on site as well as canvas artist Mara Balodis.
Several restaurants and food companies will be serving fresh food to beachcombers as well. Uncle Dan’s Old Fashioned Kettle Corn of Naples will also make an appearance at the market, popping popcorn for attendees as well as serving lemonade.
Local barbecue company Jonesez BBQ of Fort Myers will be smoking pulled pork chicken and ribs as well as Southern sides, including macaroni and cheese and green beans.
Other vendors who will be present at the Santini Sunrise Fresh Market include Moringa Tree Oils and Tea, Spice It Up fresh seasonings, Good Boy natural pet treats and Lemon Bay Botanicals and Roap Soap. The market will include a variety of different and surprise vendors as the weeks go on.
Taylor Tuchman, freshman finance major, believes that the market’s change to homegrown goods is a smart one.
“Having the event include organic and homemade foods is important because there are no chemicals that people would normally ingest when they eat processed foods,” Tuchman said. “Processed foods usually contain antibiotics, and chemicals used to grow food that can cause disease. The market’s new set of vendors can educate the community to make better food choices.”
Preparation for setting up the market includes a team effort from Roberts, the Durretts and the Town of Fort Myers Beach.
“On Fort Myers Beach we have a permitting process that is determined by the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council, the FMB Fire Department and the FMB Police Department,” Roberts said.
The plaza, at 7205 Estero Blvd., is made up of seven restaurants and several boutique shops and has held several events throughout the year, beginning in November, ending in May.
“We are excited to begin our season at the fifth annual Santini Sunrise Fresh Market,” Al Durrett said. “We have a nice selection of vendors at the market, and customers can expect to find fresh produce, baked goods, artwork, honey, homemade jewelry and other original creations.”