Octifest guests enjoy an evening of food, drinks and raising funds for the Sanibel Sea School. SC photo by Chuck Larsen
Octifest guests enjoy an evening of food, drinks and raising funds for the Sanibel Sea School. SC photo by Chuck Larsen

Octifest is Sanibel Sea School’s annual bayside celebration of ocean love. It was held Saturday, April 13, under a giant tent on Causeway Island A.

Those who know Sanibel Sea School know that it is all about love for the ocean. Throughout the year, students explore the beaches, shorelines, gulf waters and estuaries of Southwest Florida to learn how we’re all connected on our ocean planet.

Funds raised at Octifest support the Sanibel Sea School’s scholarship program to provide meaningful ocean learning experiences for all. Sea School Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill reported 43 percent of its students received a scholarship last year.

We have never turned away a child due to financial constraints,” said Neill.

Funds raised through Octifest also help the Sea School expand and subsidize its educational offerings, such as free Hurricane Camp and new Community Camp Days on select holidays to help working parents throughout the year.

Additionally, Octifest helps with purchasing the many buckets, nets, masks, snorkels and surfboards that define the Sea School experience for so many of the kids. Programs come to life through the kindhearted gifts of supporters.

Octifest guests enjoyed appetizers, a silent auction, live auction with auctioneer Tommy Williams and dinner highlighted by a spectacular sunset. For the first time, there was a scavenger hunt designed to help the more than 250 guests learn more about the Sea School’s mission, vision and partnerships.

We are so grateful for the support of our community members,” said Neill. “They make it possible for us to provide meaningful ocean experiences for so many children who would not have that opportunity otherwise.”

Learn more about the Sanibel Sea School at sanibelseaschool.org.