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Punta Gorda Founder’s Week

Punta Gorda Founders Day, 2017We’ve come a long way, Punta Gorda, since 1887. Let’s celebrate our founding and future December 1 through 72017.

During the first week of December almost 130 years ago, a group of settlers from the new town of Trabue met in a Billiards Parlor near the corner of Olympia and Taylor and voted to incorporate their town into a city and rename it Punta Gorda.   To celebrate those early founders and those who followed in making Punta Gorda a better and better community ever since that week in 1887, Punta Gorda’s Founder’s Day Week is being celebrated the first week in December leading up to December 7, the official date of the City’s incorporation.  This year’s celebration, which will be full of fun and educational events, will take place December 1 through the 7th.

old photo of historic Hotel Punta Gorda

Historic Hotel Punta Gorda

The Week will incorporate both Christmas holiday and history related events, several of which are recurring annual festivities that are now also part of Founders’ Day Week.  Following below is a list of events planned thus far.  Most events will benefit non-profit organizations in the Punta Gorda area. Contact:  Gene Murtha (941) 258-2080.

Founders’ Day Week Events 2017
Preliminary List

Friday, December 1

Punta Gorda History Park Daily Events – Today through December 7.  Details to come.

History Quest Founders Week – Begins Today. Educational treasure hunt exploring local historic sites using questing and geocaching. Contact: Charlotte County Historical Center (941)629 -7278.

Isaac Trabue Chess Tournament, Punta Gorda Kiwanis running Chess Tournament brackets starting today, various locations. To sign up or watch: Contact:  Michael Haymans, (941) 661-5622. (Free)

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Today through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, Exbibit of Historic Photos from the Vernon Peeples Collection, Punta Gorda History Center and contemporary photos taken by area photographers of the same locations. Contact: (941) 916-2726. (Free)

“Nothing but the Blues” Happy Hour, 4-8 p.m. Punta Gorda Woman’s Club. Blues entertainment, food, and drink “hooch” in an old junk joint setting.  Meet moonshine maker from the 1900s, “Henry Little.”  Contact: Martha Bireda (941) 639-2914.  (Donation to benefit The Blanchard House Museum: $25)

Annual Holly Day Home Tours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historic Residential Area.  The Punta Gorda Garden Club presents homes and gardens in historic residential district decorated for Christmas (four homes and First United Methodist Church). Proceeds go to PGGC Scholarship fund and community projects.  Contact: Carol Moore (941) 575-4653 (Donation, $15)

Light Up the Night, Downtown ChristmasTree Lighting and Celebration,  5 to 8 p.m., in front of Punta Gorda Christmas tree, West Marion and Taylor. Many exciting interactive performances, Santa, Parade, Snow and the lighting of the tree! Contact: City of Punta Gorda at (941) 628-1141. (Free)

Christmas Tree Yarn Bomb at Hector House Park, 8 a.m to noon, Olympia and Taylor, Trees at Hector Square decorated with colorful yarn.  View all week and throughout the holidays.

Saturday, December 2

 History Bicycle Tour …. More information to come

Annual Holly Days Home Tours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Historic Residential Area.   The Punta Gorda Garden Club homes and gardens in historic residential district decorated for Christmas (four homes and First United Methodist Church). (see Friday).

Founders Honoree Southern Supper, 5 to 11 p.m., Hurricane Charley’s, 300 W. Retta Esplanade.  An Authentic old-time Punta Gorda Southern Supper complete with BBQ, Fried Mullet, Rice and Tomato Gravy, Grits and other Southern specialties. Night includes induction of 10 new members to Punta Gorda Founders’ Hall of Honor, auctions, and entertainment.  Benefits the Punta Gorda History Center. Contact: 941-916-8800 or 941-258-2080 for tickets. (Donation: $55).

Sunday, December 3

“Brides Through the Ages”, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Punta Gorda Woman’s Club, 118 Sullivan St., the GFWC Punta Gorda Woman’s Club presents Leigh Ann Brown with a display of bridal gowns and accessories from the 1800s forward with a discussion of the evolution of gowns and the women who wore them, with hors d’oeuvre’s and lite lunch.  Contact: Janet Hawley (941) 661-4611. (Donation: $25)

Monday, December 4

Historic Trolley Tours and History Celebration from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tours start at Kays Ponger & Uselton, 635 E. Marion Ave., with refreshments. Pre-register to insure a spot on these tours. Donation. Call (941) 639-1133 to RSVP.

Punta Gorda Founder’s Presentation and Exhibit Opening 2:30-3:30 p.m. Punta Gorda History Center, 512 E. Grace Street.  Punta Gorda Historians and Old-Timers present “Lest We Forget Who Was Here” reviewing some of the major pioneers and early residents who made major impacts on Punta Gorda. Exhibit of Founder’s Hall of Fame Honorees opens.  (Free)

Freeman House Tours, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tour historic Freeman House with docents.  (Free)

Tuesday, December 5

Gilchrist Historical Marker Dedication and Historic Walking Tours of Indian Springs Cemetery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 9500 Indian Springs Rd.  Charlotte County Community Services presents dedication of Albert W. Gilchrist marker with local dignitaries at 10 a.m. followed by self-guided tours of Punta Gorda’s oldest cemetery.  Living History docents share stories of pioneer triumphs and tragedies (Many of Punta Gorda’s pioneers and founders are buried here.)  Contact: (941)629-7278. (Free)

Wednesday, December 7

Final Isaac Trabue Chess Tournament – 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Top of the Herald Court Parking Garage. Punta Gorda Kiwanis sponsors final of tournament with giant chess pieces. Contact: Mike Haymans 941 661-5622

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