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. 

 Punta Gorda Founders’ Day Week Events 2017

Friday, December 1

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus – Today through December 7, 5 to 8 p.m. 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)

History Quest Founder’s 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: 941-639-8810. (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)

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Light Up the Night, Downtown Christmas Tree 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)575-3352. (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. 

Holly Jolly Sale at Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud Street, 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 8:00 a.m, Tour 9 to 11 a.m.
Join City Manager, Howard Kunik, as he heads an informative bicycle tour of Punta Gorda.  You’ll visit historic locations and get behind-the-scenes information.  Includes visiting the location of a new and exciting future mural.  Patterned after the popular Team Punta Gorda Pedal and Play, Contact: Kelly Gaylord (941) 979-2786. Preregister at https://www.active.com/punta-gorda-fl/cycling/city-manager-s-founders-day-bicycle-tour-2017 (Donation: $20 per rider – earlybird $15, day of $25)

 
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).
 
Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus –Through December 7, 5 to 8 p.m. 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,” 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 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 History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus –Through December 7, 5 to 8 p.m. 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 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 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 2:30-4:00 p.m. 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, 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 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 8 p.m. 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, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Tuesday, December 5

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus –Through December 7, 5 to 8 p.m. 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, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Wednesday, December 6

Santa’s Winter Wonderland, 9 a.m- noon, 1 to 4 p.m. 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 8 p.m. 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, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Thursday, December 7

Punta Gorda History Park’s Candy Canes and Santa Claus 5 to 8 p.m. 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, 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: 941-639-8810. (Free)

Luminaria Night at the History Park, 6-8 p.m. Relay for Life invites you to help light the night. 
 
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