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16th annual Fossil Fest draws a crowd

February 19, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

When someone says is was a show that was millions of years in the making, that's not a joke.

The Fossil Club of Lee County presented its 16th annual Fossil Fest at the Shell Factory on Saturday, featuring artifacts and stones dug up by fossil diggers from all over the state.

Beth Meyer, president of the Fossil Club of Lee County, said the show got busy in a hurry, as it was a beautiful day and the Shell Factory has always been the perfect location for the show since it moved there in 2014.

Article Photos

Sal Salamone, left, with his son, Anthony, 5, and Peyton Highhouse, 6, digging up fossils at the 16th annual Fossil Fest Saturday at the Shell Factory.

"They have the shells and the fossil display and they have a lot of fossils from here in Southwest Florida," Meyer said. "We have also made it fun for the kids. We have them do a fossil dig just like the fossil diggers do on the Peace River."

The kids had a lot to keep them busy. Not only did they dig for fossils, but also got to make crafts such as a dinosaur hat, a shark tooth necklace or a butterfly.

For the adults, it was much more about learning about history. There were fossils of nearly every sea animal you could think of, even stingrays. There were also old megalodon teeth for sale, as well as rare shells and minerals dug up from the sea and land.

Michael Gesel, with Fossil Recovery Explorations, had a supply of some of the rare fossils he and his company have unearthed over the years through the tours they have done over the years.

"We have mastodon, mammoth, megalodon, giant sloth, giant armadillo, deer, horse, bison, and all kind of fossils," Gesel said, who also fossil hunts near his summer home in Buffalo. "We do this around Arcadia in one of the five creeks into DeSoto County."

Ron Wilder, was selling fossil jewelry, which he does when he's not working to get the Lee County Arts Center of North Fort Myers off the ground.

"We have a variety of stones that I cut, tumble, polish and wire wrap to make jewelry. I do it as a hobby and for fun," Wilder said. "I do as many shows as I can. We do Art Walk and shows like this. Around town."

For people who were perusing the farmers market or the flea market, this was another stop to make. Kayla Sweeney brought her husband and three preschoolers as a thing to do while on vacation from Ohio.

Micah, 4, had on his dinosaur hat and said the event was "great, and I got a lot of fossils."

"We went on the carousel and dug for fossils and bought a mermaid for my daughter," Kayla said.



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