Founders Day Week Celebration

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To salute early founders and those who followed in making Punta Gorda a better community ever since a week in December in 1887, Punta Gorda Founders’ Day Week is celebrated the first week in December leading up to December 7, the official date of the City’s incorporation. This year’s celebration will run from December 1 through the 7 with both fun holiday and history related events. 

Thursday, December 1

Luminaria Night at the History Park
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Punta Gorda History Park, 501 Shreve Street
Relay for Life invites you to help light the night, enjoy treats, shopping and celebration.

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.

“Then and Now” 
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
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

Friday, December 2

Annual Holly Days Home Tours
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historic Residential Area
The Punta Gorda Garden Club presents “A Natural Tropical Christmas.” 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. Donation $15.   Contact: Carol Moore (941) 575-4653

Downtown Christmas Celebration, Tree Lighting and Carol Sing
5 to 8 p.m., in front of Christmas Tree W. Marion Avenue and Taylor Street
Many exciting interactive performances are being planned, including a Community Sing-Along, Santa Parade and the lighting of the tree! Contact: City of Punta Gorda at (941)575-3302

 Saturday, December 3

Christmas Tree Yarn Bomb at the Farmer’s Market
8 a.m. to 12 noon corner of W. Olympia Avenue and Taylor Street
Trees at Hector Square decorated with colorful yarn.
Charlotte County Chamber’s 38th Annual Christmas Parade 
Begins at 12 Noon and runs along Taylor Road through downtown Punta Gorda.

Annual Holly Days Home Tours
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Historic Residential Area
 The Punta Gorda Garden Club presents “A Natural Tropical Christmas,”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. Donation $15.   Contact: Carol Moore (941) 575-4653

Celebrate the Holidays with Bella and Luna
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Peace River Wildlife Center, Ponce de Leon Park
Photos with Santa, Bella, and Luna, Donation.  Contact: (941) 637-3830
"Nothing But The Blues" Happy Hour
4 to 8 p.m., at the Cooper Community Center on Mary Street
The public is invited by the Blanchard House Museum to experience a sultry piece of southern African American culture. Come listen to the blues, dance the shimmy, and the slow drag, eat and drink. Bring your own bottle. Set-ups will be available and southern small plates served. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the door.

Founders’ Day Southern Supper
5 to 11 p.m., Hurricane Charley’s, 300 W. Retta Esplanade
An Authentic old-time Punta Gorda Southern Supper includes induction of 10 new members to Punta Gorda Founders’ Hall of Honor, auctions, entertainment.  Benefits the Punta Gorda History Center. Tickets $55.   Contact: (941)916-8800 or (941)-258-2080 for tickets. 

Sunday, December 4

“Dare to Dream, an Afternoon with Amelia Earhart”
1 p.m.. to 4 p.m.Punta Gorda Woman’s Club, 118 Sullivan Street
The GFWC Punta Gorda Woman’s Club presents Janina Birtolo, in a one-woman play featuring Amelia Earhart, with hors d'oeuvre and lite lunch, $20.  Contact: Linda (941) 979-0964. 

Monday, December 5

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

Historic Punta Gorda City Hall Tours
3 p.m. and 4 p.m. 326 W. Marion Avenue
City Council members and Punta Gorda “Old Timers” lead tours through the historic building with tales of City Hall Past. Free.

Freeman House Tours
 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., 311 W. Retta Esplanade
Tour historic Freeman House with docents. Free.

Tuesday, December 6

Historic Walking Tours of Indian Springs Cemetery
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 9500 Indian Springs Road
Charlotte County Community Services presents self-guided tours of Punta Gorda’s oldest cemetery.  History docents share stories of pioneer triumphs and tragedies (many of Punta Gorda’s Founding Citizens were buried here.) Free. Contact: (941)629-7278.

Raise the Roof for the Trabue House
7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Punta Gorda History Park, 501 Shreve Street
Old Fashioned Breakfast in the History Park. Proceeds go to repairing roof of Trabue House and Charlotte County Homeless Coalition. Sponsored by the Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte/North Port Board of Realtors. Suggested donation $10. 

Founders Mural Tour
10 a.m. to 11 a.m., 117 Herald Court (meet in Breezeway)
Learn about the folks who put Punta Gorda on the map with a special visit by the “Ladies of Punta Gorda.” Benefits the Punta Gorda Mural Society.  Suggested donation: $10. Contact: Kelly Gaylord (941) 979-2786. 

Wednesday, December 7

Old Time BBQ & Historical Poker Run
5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., starts at Charlotte Community Foundation, 227 Sullivan Street
Discover the history of Punta Gorda while walking, running or riding to 5 historic sites. Sponsored by Team Punta Gorda.  $20 registration prior to December 1, $25 thereafter. Contact (941) 637-TEAM.

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