This coming Thursday is the Top Chefs’ food tasting contest to be held at the Event Center in Punta Gorda, with all proceeds going to provide services for the Friendship Centers of Charlotte County. The Friendship Centers provide a very much-needed service to our aging population and provide not just meals but socialization to those who are left alone. Last year we inaugurated this Top Chefs fundraiser, to a packed house, inviting chefs from all of Charlotte County’s assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers. This year, the event has expanded even further with 15-plus chefs vying to win the Top Chef prize in three distinct categories — cold appetizer, hot appetizer and dessert. Three guest judges have been selected to make their choices in each category, but attendees are also invited to select their very own “People’s Choice.”

The fun and tastings start at 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available from the PG Chamber Office or at the door on the day of the event. Call us on 941-639-3720 or swing by 252 W Marion Ave., Punta Gorda to buy in advance. Please come out and enjoy great food and great fun while raising dollars for a very worthy cause.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported the initial 12 teams, competing in our Chamber Feud challenge 2019. Those 12 have now been slimmed down to a final four, who will be meeting in the semi-finals, provisionally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5at the PG Women’s Club on Sullivan Street. What a hoot we had in the preliminary rounds! The best yet most embarrassing answer to come from the teams was definitely the answer given by Chelsea Place Senior Care to the question: What are the top things you get more of as you get older? Their answer: Lotion!!!!! That answer did cause a momentary lapse of focus on my part! We congratulate Re/Max Anchor Realty, Florida South Western State College, Friendly Floors and Chapman Insurance Group, who we’ll all be meeting again in the semis!

Also just added is our PG Chamber Halloween Party, to be held on Friday Oct. 25this year, at Angela’s Café Italiano, in their haunted garden. The party will start at 7 p.m. – till 11 p.m. with live music, heavy appetizers and Happy Hour all night! Attendees get free entrance into the costume contest, being judged at 9 p.m. BOGO house wines, wells and domestic beers all night. Space is limited so call us now to get your groups together. $60 for a great and thrilling night out!

We have two ribbon-cuttings in the coming week. Our first is at 8 a.m. on Thursday as we celebrate 30 years of service of the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition. The celebrations will be held at 1476 Kenesaw St., Port Charlotte. Then on Tuesday, Aug. 13, (a date held in infamy for our city) we visit (ironically) Forcefield Hurricane Protection Systems and welcome them to their new location at 2265 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte at 5:30 p.m. All are invited to both celebrations, but an RSVP would be greatly appreciated by calling 941-639-3720.

Take a little time this week to revisit our award-winning website www.puntagordachamber.com and check out the many events on the horizon. The Mindi Abair Festival in November and the 15 Annual Wine & Jazz Festival in February 2020 should not be missed. Get your tickets now as space is becoming limited in certain ticket areas.

Whether you are local or just visiting, we have a weekly e-newsletter that can be delivered to your inbox every Friday full of events, programs and information to assist you. It’s called the Friday Facts (no fake news here!). To sign up, simply click the icon on our website www.puntagordachamber.com, call us on 941-639-3720 or email your details to chamber@puntagorda-chamber.com. You’ll never be out of the loop again.

There’s so much more to find. Go to www.puntagordachamber.com. Click Quick Links and locate the Friday Facts. You’ll never be so well informed!

John R. Wright is President of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce jrwright@puntagorda-chamber.com.

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