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Punta Gorda Founders’ Day 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 7, 2017.

During the first week of December, almost 130 years ago, a group of settlers from the new town of Trabue met in a billiard’s parlor near the corner of Olympia and Taylor and voted to incorporate their town into a city, renaming it Punta Gorda.

To honor those early founders and all who have followed them with the goal of making Punta Gorda a better and better community since that week in 1887, the Punta Gorda Founders Day Week is celebrated during the first week of December. The events lead up to December 7, the official date of the City’s incorporation.  This year’s celebration will be full of fun and educational events, and will take place December 1 through the 7th.

old photo of historic Hotel Punta Gorda

Historic Hotel Punta Gorda

Both Christmas Holiday and history-related events will take place, several of which are recurring annual festivities, now a part of our annual Founders’ Day Week Celebration.

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

Click here to download the event list

Friday, December 1

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus Today through December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of the PGI Pete Bonsema’s Disney figures, live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

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, 9am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm., 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

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

Light Up the Night, Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting and Celebration 5 to 8pm, 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)575-3352. (Free)

Annual Holly Day Home Tours, 11am to 4pm Historic Residential Area.  The Punta Gorda Garden Club presents homes and gardens in historic residential district decorated with natural materials for Christmas (four homes and First United Methodist Church). Proceeds go to PGGC Scholarship fund and community projects.  Contact: Carol Moore (941) 916-3341 (Donation, $15)

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

Holiday Market at Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, 12- 7pm, Fine Arts and Crafts, holiday themed gifts and demonstrations, Today through Sunday, December 3. (941) 639-8810.

Saturday, December 2

City Manager’s Founders Day Bicycle Tour, Registration and Check-In, Gilchrist Park, New Pavilion, 8:00am, Tour 9 to 11am. Join City Manager, Howard Kunik, as he heads an informative bicycle tour of Punta Gorda.  Visit historic locations and get behind-the-scenes information.  Includes visiting the location of a new and exciting future mural.  Contact: Kelly Gaylord (941) 979-2786. Preregister at  www.puntagordamurals.org/bike-tour (Donation: $20 per rider – earlybird $15, day of $25)

Annual Holly Days Home Tours, 11am to 4pm  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).

Then and Now Photography ExhibitToday through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday,  10am to 2pm, Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, Exhibit of Historic Photos from the Vernon Peeples Collection, Punta Gorda History Center and contemporary photos taken by area photographers of the same locations. Contact: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Holiday Market at Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, 10-4pm, Fine Arts and Crafts, holiday themed gifts and demonstrations.  (941) 639-8810.

Founders Honoree Southern Supper, 5 to 11pm, 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).

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa ClausThrough December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of Old Punta Gorda Isles, Disney figures, live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Sunday, December 3

“Portrait of a Bride, an Evolving Silhouette,” 1pm to 4pm, 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 stories of the women who wore them, with hors d’oeuvre’s and lite lunch.  Contact: Janet Hawley (941) 661-4611. (Donation: $25)

Punta Gorda Masonic Lodge Opens its Doors 2pm to 5pm, 25349 Airport Road, Guided tours of the seldom open to the public lodge with Sojourners dressed in Colonial military uniform.  History of the Punta Gorda Lodge presented.  Many early Punta Gorda business people were Masons.

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Today through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm, Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, Exhibit of Historic Photos from the Vernon Peeples Collection, Punta Gorda History Center and contemporary photos taken by area photographers of the same locations. Contact: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Holiday Market at Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, 10-4pm, Fine Arts and Crafts, holiday themed gifts and demonstrations.  (941) 639-8810.

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa ClausThrough December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of Old Punta Gorda Isles, Disney figures, live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Monday, December 4

Historic Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours and History Celebration from 1pm to 5pm. Tours start at Kays Ponger & Uselton, 635 E. Marion Ave., with refreshments.  Stops at historic buildings and museums. Pre-register to insure a spot on these tours. ( Donation.) Call (941) 639-1133 to RSVP.

Punta Gorda Founder’s Presentation and Exhibit – Opening 2:30-4:00pm. Punta Gorda History Center, 512 E. Grace Street.  Punta Gorda Historians and Old-Timers present “Punta Gorda Hall of History Honorees” 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, 311 West Retta Esplanade, 2pm. to 4:30pm., Tours of the historic Freeman House decked out for Christmas with docent.  (Free)

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus Through December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of Old Punta Gorda Isles, Disney figures, live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am to 2pm, Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, Exhibit of Historic Photos from the Vernon Peeples Collection, Punta Gorda History Center and contemporary photos taken by area photographers of the same locations. Contact: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Tuesday, December 5

History Quest! Presented by Charlotte County Historical Center 3:30 – 4:30pm.at the Punta Gorda Library, 424 W. Henry Street.  Fun-filled presentation on geocaching and questing program.  For avid catchers or new questors.  New listings in Punta Gorda will be added in collaboration with Founders’ Day week.  Attendees will receive History Quest! Passports to keep track of your adventures. Contact: (941) 629-7278 (Free)

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa ClausThrough December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of historic Punta Gorda Isles Disney figures (Pete Bontsema’s), live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am to 2pm, Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, Exhibit of Historic Photos from the Vernon Peeples Collection, Punta Gorda History Center and contemporary photos taken by area photographers of the same locations. Contact: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Wednesday, December 6

Santa’s Winter Wonderland, 9am-noon, 1 to 6pm. Charlotte County Historic Courthouse, Meet and greet free photo op with Santa Claus and his elves.  Tour our historic court house building and Christmas displays. (FREE).

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus Through December 7, 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of historic Punta Gorda Isles Disney figures (Pete Bontsema’s), live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am to 2pm, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Thursday, December 7

Luminaria Night at the History Park, Shreve Street, 6-8pm, Relay for Life invites you to help light up the night.

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus 5 to 8pm. Santa every night, displays of historic Punta Gorda Isles Disney figures (Pete Bontsema’s), live music, cookies for kids to decorate, decorated historic houses. Contact (941) 639-1887.  (Adults: Donation: $10, Kids under 15, Free)

Then and Now Photography Exhibit Through December 7., Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am to 2pm, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Final Isaac Trabue Chess Tournament – 6pm to 10pm., 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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