The theme of this year's Shell Show is Around the World in 80 Shells. SC photo by David Staver
The theme of this year's Shell Show is Around the World in 80 Shells. SC photo by David Staver

Around the World in 80 Shells. That's the theme of this year's Shell Festival which opens today at the remodeled Sanibel Community House.

It only took 80 days to go around the world, but it took Sanibel 80 years to get to the point where the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club could name the Shelf Show 'Around the World in 80 Shells.'

Today marks the opening of the longest running festival on Sanibel which now has reached 80 years. For 80 years the shells have been on display. It started as a little contest between two resorts and has blossomed into one of the world's premier shell festivals, if not the premier one.

To honor 80 years, this year exhibitors are asked to prepare exhibits using exactly 80 shells. We can't wait to see what some of the creations are and we hope to bring some of them to you.

That's just part of the shell festival. Arts and crafts will abound outside all involving shells, and on the inside is the world-famous shall show. It all begins this morning and we hope to see you there, 80 years down the road from the beginning.

And don't forget the venue itself. As venerable as the Shell Festival, the Community House rolls out the red carpet in its new look for the festival. To honor the completion of the $3-million project, a ribbon-cutting is this morning involving both the Shell Club and the Sanibel Community Association, which operates the Community House. After that, it's game on at the Shell Festival – 80 years young.