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Cracker Box hosts 75th birthday party for owner Saturday

February 14, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Officially in business for more than 50 years, The Cracker Box restaurant, 16910 McGregor Blvd., will be hosting a 75th birthday party for owner, Jim Welker, all day, Saturday, Feb. 18. During the party, enjoy plenty of fun contests and prizes, a big cookout that may even offer some fresh seafood, along with plenty of fun and live music, all while sporting a "redneck theme."

Jim Welker is a three-term Commander of the American Legion, Post 123, currently serving his third term. He and his good crew are able to raise thousands of dollars every year for local charities.

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., he served in the Army in the 1950s with his identical twin brother, Gene, as cooks. All their lives, they were musicians. Their father played the drums, with Jim on guitar, and Gene on piano all performing together as Pappy Welker and the Swinging Twins in the 1940s and 50s.

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Gene opened Golden Sands, now McT's on Sanibel, to play music, the only place to play music that late. Jim saw how great it was, packed up the family and kids and moved to the island.

He's been seen in his golf cart leading the Sanibel Fourth of July parade year after year and regularly performs as "Jim Welker and the Cracker box Band" at the Cracker Box.

As the party will have a redneck theme, there will be tons of fun "redneck" games played throughout the day: Beer-chuggin', tire-rollin', belchin' and more good old redneck fun.

Four bands will perform that day: Jim Welker and the Cracker Box Band, from 1 to 4 p.m.; Jesse Allen from 4 to 6 p.m.; Slow Deal from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; and the Troublestarters from 8:30 to 11 p.m.

Cracker Box staff will be grillin' and smokin' a variety of food, with T-shirts available, two bars inside and outside. It'll be a great, great time.

Be sure to stop by Saturday to wish him a very happy 75th birthday. For more information, contact the Cracker Box, 466-4344.



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