Published: Jan 29, 2012 7:53 PM EST
Updated: Jan 30, 2012 10:01 AM EST

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- Shell Factory head chef Mike Marcantonio has been working for days to prepare enough gumbo for the nearly 6,000 people projected to attend this years festival.
"I think it brings culture to the area to have the gumbo fest. I think we should have more people out here selling more gumbo," said festival-goer Troy Shinn.
Proceeds from the soup sales will help bring busses of Lee County school kids to the Shell Factory nature center for field trips.
Because of funding cuts ten years ago, teacher Richard Dunmire says the district no longer pays for transportation.
"Many of these children, because of their economic status cannot even leave their own neighborhood. We are able to provide that," he said.
Last years proceeds took 20,000 kids out of the classroom to the collection of animals.
Sunday's festival-goers say they hope they can support shattering that number this year.
"They need to get out and experience this and a lot of them just don't have the opportunity," said North Fort Myers resident Bonnie Howard.