The Heights Foundation, Lee Reefs and The Imaginarium Present 2nd Annual LionFish Fest – Feast on the Beast

The Heights Foundation, Lee Reefs and The Imaginarium are hosting the 2nd Annual “Lionfish Fest – Feast on the Beast”. On Sunday, March 29 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at The Heights Center, the public is invited to join celebrated local chefs that will present a unique twist on Florida farelionfishlogo – delectable lionfish from Gulf waters.  Guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite dish.  The event will include door prizes, fun auction items, a signature tropical drink by Wicked Dolphin and live music, as well as displays about Lionfish and our reefs.  Mitch and Billy from ScubaNation will present their crazy underwater videos. The Imaginarium will provide an interactive display for the entire family.  Kellie Burns of NBC-2 will emcee the event.    Admission is $50 per person, children under 12 are admitted free.

The goal is to raise awareness of the invasive lionfish and the importance of conservation of our local reefs.  All proceeds of the events will benefit The Heights Center.  To date, event sponsors include The News-Press Media Group and FPL.  Additional sponsorships are available.

“Lionfish are an invasive species that have no natural enemies,” said Mike Campbell, Environmental Specialist and Artificial Reef Director for Lee County Division of Natural Resources. “If there can be public demand for the filets that are delicate, white and comparable to Hogfish, it’s possible to create a sustainable fishery and lessen the harmful impact on our reefs.  Our goal is to give seafood suppliers, restaurateurs and the public the opportunity to become familiar with lionfish.”

“We are excited to host the 2nd annual Lionfish Fest at The Heights Center,” said Kathryn Kelly, President and CEO of The Heights Foundation.  “Lionfish are delicious and our talented local chefs will come up with some amazing recipes and samplings.  This will be a fun event for the entire family.”

To purchase tickets for the Lionfish Fest visit www.heightsfoundation.org/lionfish or contact Laurie Stanley at (239) 482-7706 or lauries@heightsfoundation.org

About Lee Reefs:  Lee Reefs is a nonprofit foundation that works to enhance the marine environment and protect natural reef ecosystems. Through the creation of artificial habitats, Lee Reefs helps to provide safe haven and food for more than 250 different reef fish species from the shallow waters of Charlotte Harbor to more than 30 miles offshore. From the base in Sanibel, Florida, Lee Reefs works with other marine conservation nonprofit organizations, corporations and government agencies to ensure the sustainability of our underwater wildlife.  For more information visit www.leereefs.org

About the Heights Foundation and the Heights Center: 

The Heights Center, supported by The Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment.  The Heights Foundation works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.  As a 501(c)3 grassroots organization, the Center’s mission is to promote family and community development, support education, health and wellness, and provide the benefits of enrichment, expressive and cultural arts.

Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community.   Approximately 780 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 70% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and 8% Caucasian. The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average, with family income 40% below the county average. Families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood.