In a month of seismic February activity - with at least 101 events and activities scheduled on Gasparilla Island - one day stands out as the busiest.
Thursday, Feb. 7, is the event epicenter with at least eight activities on tap during a whirlwind Thursday.
One meeting tops them all, however, with potentially critical importance to the island's economic future.
GIBA Chairman David Hayes
The ongoing GIBA Board struggle to award its Swing Bridge construction contract takes center stage despite competing for attention with a promising Royal Palm Players production of Neil Simon's "California Suite" and the Boca Grande Art Alliance Valentine Show opening reception, among other activities.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority will conduct a special board meeting at 2 p.m. in the Woman's Club Room at the Boca Grande Community Center to address the formal protest letter received from Orion Marine Construction of Tampa regarding the Swing Bridge construction project.
Orion, which is already handling the two fixed bridge jobs under way, is contesting GIBA's acceptance of a lower bid from a rival. The GIBA Board has accepted the $17,874,503 bid of GLF Construction Corp. of Miami over the $18,755,840 bid from Orion Marine Construction. The difference between the bids is $881,337.
Orion's protest follows a GIBA vote reversal Jan. 15 when the board voted 4-1 to accept the GLF bid - with GIBA Chairman David Hayes dissenting - roughly 10 weeks after a 4-0 GIBA Board vote Nov. 2 to reject all five bids received.
The vote reversal came during a meeting to address a letter of protest from GLF over its low bid being rejected.
The GIBA drama gives way to romance and comedy later in the day.
Boca Grande Art Alliance Valentine Show holds its opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7. Show hours follow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Art patrons may want to walk next door after the BGAA reception to see opening night of the Royal Palm Players production of "California Suite," starring islanders Ann Fletcher, Dan Headington, Margaret Bush, Wendy Melvin, Linda Rollyson and Jim Sullivan. The show starts at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 7-9, before closing with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Boca Grande Community Center, 131 First St.
RPP tickets are $25. Call (941) 964-2670, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RoyalPalmPlayers.com or ticketturtle.com.
Other Feb. 7 events include:
Pancake breakfast at Boca Grande United Methodist Church, Third and Gilchrist from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. every Thursday, starting Feb. 7 through March 28. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, grits, coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice available. Donations basket supports an array of missions and ministries.
"Villains & Victims of Bad Press," 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, $100 for all four events, Boca Grande Womans Club Room. Call the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center 964-0827.
Boca Grande Garden Club Floral Design Workshop with Hitomi Gilliam, includes lunch at the Boca Bay Power House. E-mail Gay Darsie at email@example.com or call 964-0976.
Womens nondenominational Bible study at First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through March 28. All welcome. No previous Bible study experience necessary. Material: Beth Moore DVD/workbook study "David: A Heart Like His" with facilitator Jo Beth Harrison. Call Kathi Husted at 964-0074 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Film Forum Movie "Art & Copy," 3 p.m., free, Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium. Call the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center 964-0827.