Back by popular demand, the Harbor History Boat Tour and Calusa Tastings events return to Calusa Heritage Day Saturday, March 15. Calusa Heritage Day takes place outdoors at the Randell Research Center's Calusa Heritage Trail at 13810 Waterfront Drive in Pineland. It happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features a variety of activities.
"A line-up of nationally regarded archaeologists will be speaking and walking tours will be offered every half hour," said Cindy Bear, festival organizer. "We also offer the chance to try out tool, rope and weapon making in the ways of the Calusa and we will have new displays on loan from the Florida Museum. We heard from many folks that the boat trip and the Calusa Tastings were great, so we are bringing those back this year."
The narrated Harbor History Boat Tour is co-sponsored by Captiva Cruises and happens at noon. Tickets can be purchased inside the festival but this event may sell out so advance purchase is recommended by calling Captiva Cruises at 239-472-5300. It's $30 for adults and $20 for students.
At the Calusa Tastings event, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., visitors may sample foods eaten by the Calusa, including papaya, oysters and fish, flavored with chili peppers if preferred. The oldest papaya seeds recovered in North America were excavated on the grounds of the Calusa Heritage Trail, and chili pepper seeds dating to about 2,000 years ago were unearthed, too.
Admission to the festival is $5 for adults, free to children and Randell center members. Parking is on site, handicapped parking is available. Free water is available throughout the day. Food is for sale by Pine Island-based Little Lilly's Island Deli and Mel Meo's fish wagon.
For more information, call (239) 283-2062 or (239) 283-2157; online www.flmnh.ufl.edu/rrc/.