Today is election day (newsflash!). If you have not already cast your ballot, you have until 7 p.m. tonight to go to your local precinct and make it happen. If you have any questions about the election process or where to vote, www.charlottevotes.com is an excellent resource. Once the polls have closed, local results will be posted there too, once they have been ratified.

With the constant battering of opposing candidates over the last few months in almost every race, I hope you’ll join me in hoping that tomorrow will be the dawn of a new period of calm and civility, when we can all start to work in harmony for the betterment of our country, state and local community. The majority will have spoken, so let’s allow the electoral process of freedom to function and reach common ground to move forward with greater collaboration and improved communication.

Regardless of political opinion, we are all proud citizens of a great nation.

Garage Sale, Bash

This Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, our ever-popular Citywide Garage Sale returns, at a new location. We’ll be located in the Bal Harbor Shopping Plaza (Bal Harbor and Aqui Esta). We have already reached capacity for vendors (sorry) but we’ll be assessing the success of the event immediately after the show, and we’ll be making a decision on a December date and other dates into the New Year, so watch for further information or call us at 941-639-3720. The businesses of the plaza will be open and offering a wide variety of specials that day for you to get acquainted with them, including Rick’s Estate and Jewelry, The Treasure Chest and Brooklyn Joe’s Pizza.

Also this Saturday evening from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., join the Downtown Merchants and the Punta Gorda Chamber as we present our Downtown Bash in front of the Old Historic Courthouse on Taylor Street. Music starts at 5 p.m., but you can start setting up your chairs at 4 p.m. American Made will be playing all your favorite tunes starting at 5 p.m. Bring along a lawn chair, enjoy our beverages (no coolers please) and food vendors, and dance the night away until the stars in true PG style. There is no admission charge, but we appreciate you supporting those who are there that night that in turn pay for your entertainment. Support your local businesses.

Also on Saturday, I am being cut into two, as I’ll be at the Bash and at the PGI Civic Association for an Animal Welfare League fundraiser, as their emcee. Join me and the Animal Welfare League for a Westminster-style dog show to benefit homeless pets. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds will be vying for the title of “AWL’s Best In Show” in a live runway competition, where attendees get the chance to vote for their favorite contestant. In addition to the lively canine competition, the event will feature a fabulous silent auction, a cash bar (beer and wine) and delicious hors d’oeuvres artfully created by Burg’r Bar’s talented chef, Chris Mandile. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person by visiting www.awlshelter.org or going to the shelter at 3519 Drance St., Port Charlotte. The event venue is the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve St., Punta Gorda.

Cutting ribbons

Ribbon-cuttings are in abundance next week. Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. we visit Chelsea Place Home Care located at 3626 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte for their ceremony. Thursday at 5:30 p.m., we visit WeInsure at 126 E Olympia Ave., Suite 404, Punta Gorda, to welcome them to the neighborhood. Then on Friday, we welcome Florida Skin Care Center at 329 E. Olympia Ave., Punta Gorda with their ceremony that starts at 4:30 p.m. with the ribbon cutting taking place at 5:30 p.m. All are invited to all three ribbon-cutting events, but we do appreciate an RSVP by calling us on 941-639-3720 to allow us to let the hosts know how many people to cater for.

We have added an exciting attraction to visitors to our area, starting Jan. 10 through April 4, in conjunction with the Punta Gorda Historical Mural Society. Every Thursday, starting from the PG chamber office, 252 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, we invite you to join us in a guided walking tour of our beautiful city, stopping at historic murals along the way. Learn about the local history depicted in each mural, when it was painted and by whom. See if you can find the objects hidden in some of them!

Love those murals

You’ll also get an overview of the Mural Society, their process of creating thee historic murals and a sneak peak at upcoming additional projects. The tours starting at 9:30 a.m. and will last about two hours (with rest stops). To purchase your tickets (tour size is limited), please call us at 941-639-3720 during office hours. Tickets are only $15 per person, benefiting the Mural Society. Our trolley tours next year will operate on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss the various options with you for these ever-popular trips.

Networking

On Nov. 15, in conjunction with SCORE, we’ll be hosting a Lunch & Learn series and the topic is Communications (Listening). Classes are free thank to our sponsors and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Virginia B. Andes Training and Education Center at the Charlotte Community Foundation, 227 Sullivan St., Punta Gorda. Seating is limited so to preregister, please visit www.PortCharlotte.score.org. Hope to see you there.

Upcoming events

Mindi Abair is coming back to Punta Gorda on Nov. 16-18. Starting with a very unique dinner at La Fiorentina restaurant on Friday, Nov. 16, to the mainstage show outside on the lawn of the Event Center on Saturday, Nov. 17, she will appear with Keb’ Mo’, Dumpstaphunk and the Greg Billings Band. The weekend wraps up with a great brunch at the Tiki at Fourpoints with the Shawn Brown Trio. Details of all tickets options are viewable at www.puntagordachamber.com in the shop chamber section or call 941-639-3720. While on our site, check our the 14th Annual Wine and Jazz Festival set for Feb. 23, featuring Gerald Albright, the Sax Pack and Matt Marshak.

John R. Wright is President of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce jrwright@puntagordachamber.com. Charlotte Sun is a proud Platinum sponsor of this Chamber.

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