Pine Island will soft launch site for the annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival a week early this year with its Bluegrass for a Blueway & Taste of Matlacha Saturday, Oct. 26.
The annual event in Matlacha Park will run 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the last Saturday of the month at the park, 4577 Pine Island Road, N.W. The free event will have live music ? a mix of bluegrass and country ? from the band Wild Caught. A fund-raiser for the Pine Island Food Pantry, sponsored by the Matlacha Civic Association, will feature "tastes" from area restaurants, including the Sandy Hook, Andy's Island Seafood, Miceli's, Perfect Cup, Bert's Bar and Grill, Mulletville and Olde Fish House.
The event also features paddling vendors for free tries of kayaks and paddleboards from Florida Paddlesports, Gulf Coast Kayak and Wet Life Paddleboards. Demos run the full time of the event. Food will be available from noon to 2:30 p.m. Music is from 12:30 -3:30 p.m. Bring chairs and picnic blankets, as it's outdoor seating under shady trees.
In past years, Bluegrass for a Blueway and Taste of Matlacha ran in tandem with the annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival. But this year, it's a weekend prior. The festival will run Nov. 1-3 on the Sanibel Causeway and at the Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Myers-Sanibel.
For Matlacha event information, call (239) 283-4110. It's free to attend; food tickets available for purchase at event.
For more information on the festival, visit www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com or call (239) 533-7275.
For Calusa Blueway details, visit www.CalusaBlueway.com. The Calusa Blueway is a Lee County Parks & Recreation-managed, 190-mile marked paddling trail that meanders through Lee County's bays and tidal creeks.