Attn: Shell lovers – Southwest Florida Shell Festival underway on Sanibel Island

The Southwest Florida Shell Festival is underway on Sanibel Island and the event has attracted collectors and artists from as far away as Japan.

It’s a big draw for shell lovers and also a big boost for local businesses.

At the Sanibel Shell Festival, seashells collected by volunteers become flowers, fortresses, and the future for this island community.

Profit goes to grants and scholarships and last year they were able to give out $30,000 in scholarships and grants and that goes back into the community.

In it’s 81st year, the range of shells are as diverse as the visitors the festival attracts.

Visitors are from around the world – from Toronto, Canada, to Salem, Oregon, and even England.

The festival has grown from being an exhibit on the front porches of two hotels on sanibel to where where it is now, with thousands of people visiting every year.

Each shell sale represents money going back to the Sanibel community.

The festival continues into the weekend at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

Reporter:Melinda Lee