A breeze swirled through the building as island music filled the air, while individuals looked at various pieces of artwork that both youngsters and adults created of the Matlacha Bridge, coral reefs and fish Friday night at Knight's Landing.
The special art sale was held to raise funds for the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project to move a portion of the old bridge to the southern most point of the Novac Reef.
The Mullet Wagon was also parked outside the building to offer individuals an assortment of food during the festivities. In addition, a 2012 Harley Davidson Sportster XL 1200 was parked near the wagon to be raffled off to raise additional funds for the organization Friday night.
Betsie Hiatt admires her daughter Marza’s drawing of the Matlacha Bridge, while Rob stands proudly by his daughter during the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project art sale Friday night at Knight’s Landing.
Kyle Potts said he won the motorcycle at the Flatt's Invitational Redfish Challenge at the beginning of September and decided to donate it to the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project cause.
Raffle tickets are still available to win the 2012 Harley Davidson Sportster XL 1200. Individuals can either call Tina Bush at 239-244-4434 or stop in at Island Floors Inc. & Interiors. Tickets are one for $25 or five for $100.
The winner of the Harley will be announced at the Olde Fish House Marina at 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. The event will include live music from the Greyson Rogers Band from 2-6 p.m. Bush said the winner must be present to receive the motorcycle.
Three youngsters' masterpieces were chosen as silent auction drawings during the art sale Friday night. The drawings and students include "Underwater Scene" by Dominyka, 6; "Matlacha Bridge Scene," by Danielle, 9; and "Family Fishing Scene," by Aubrey, 8.
Bush of Island Floors & Interiors and coordinator of the event said each student received a $50 check for being chosen, as well as a Matlacha Bridge Reef Project T-shirt designed by Mel Meo. She said there were only three children's T-shirts made, making it a special surprise.
Shortly after the event started, the Hiatts, who were the first family to purchase a drawing, strolled through the door to take a look around, as well as find their daughter's masterpiece. Marza, 8, immediately began fanning through the artwork, which was matted, to find her drawing of the Matlacha Bridge.
Her parents, Betsie and Rob, had instant smiles spread across their faces as Marza spotted her drawing and showed it off.
"I think it's wonderful they involved the kids," Betsie said of the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project organization.
Marza, who included a bat house and bat in her drawing, said she was going to hang it on the wall in her bedroom.
Rob also said he thought the event was great because it encourages the students that art can be more than the past time. He said he also thought it was great that the community stands behind the kids on the island.
Cathy Grimes also attended the event. She said it was great to have the opportunity to purchase children's artwork because there is nowhere you can buy the youngsters work.
"The artwork that is here is something that is unappreciated," Grimes said.
She ended up purchasing artwork that incorporated a bridge and a boat with netting.
"The composition was great and the colors were vibrant," Grimes said.
Mike Campbell, artificial reef director for Lee County, said with the delay in the opening of the bridge they have extra time to gather money for the artificial reef.
Lee Reefs, a 501c3 non-profit organization, Campbell said, is geared towards building and raising funds for artificial reefs in Lee County.
Individuals who want to donate to the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project can go to LeeReefs.org and hit the donate button to help the cause.
"All the money will go towards the project," he said.
Campbell explained that since it is a non-profit organization, individuals or businesses could make as big of a contribution as they would like because it is tax deductible.
Tow Boat U.S. sponsored the event Friday night.
Jerry Smith said he thought the idea of turning the Matlacha Bridge into an artificial reef sounds terrific.
"It's a cool idea, it's really neat," he said of the idea.
Smith said he helped sink a 60-foot yacht on a reef years ago and offered to help the organization move the barges if they need the assistance when the time comes.
"We will support the effort," Smith said.
Bush said the art sale was another great event.
"Again another successful event," she said.
The first fund-raiser for the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project, a fish fry held at the Olde Fish House Marina, raised $5,729.