For jazz and wine fans, today is the day we have been waiting for as Mindi Abair takes to the stage tonight, at the start of as three-day event schedule, right here in Punta Gorda.

Of the three events, we only have tickets left for one of them — the unplugged Mindi Dinner at the Grille 1951 Port Charlotte at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The dinner at the Grille includes an intimate gourmet dinner and the show for $100. There will be a cash bar. To reserve your seat, call 941-639-3720 now before they are all snapped up. We are thrilled to have Mindi in our area and to be offering live music opportunities for our guests to enjoy. So many of those who have already bought tickets are coming from out of state — welcome and thank you for visiting our area. Hope you have a great time here and that you’ll return again soon, as a visitor, new resident or even better — a new entrepreneur.

On Saturday at the Tiki Bar lawn of the Four Points by Sheraton, we are presenting Pirates in Paradise — an afternoon of great music, limited admission rum tasting, pirates, mermaids and a whole lot more. Our apologies there was an ad that ending up getting created, saying that this event was on the April 18 not April 10. It is this Saturday, April 10. The other date was the original date for this event, back in 2020. A great live music lineup will be presented by Jesse Rice (acclaimed songwriter for Florida Georgia Line, among many others), John Patti, Deb & the Dynamics and the Michael Haymans’ Band. Admission is free.

All VIP tables have been sold — sorry. Our rum alley, featuring samples of 12 rum cocktails from six Florida-based rum distilleries, has fewer than 20 tickets left for sale ($20 per person). To secure one of these tickets, call 941-639-3720. If you were unable to secure a table or a Rum Alley ticket, don’t fret. There’s still plenty for you to enjoy. The music is free. There will be food and beverages available for purchase, plus, if you did not get a Rum Alley ticket, you will be able to purchase the rum cocktails, all of which are vying for Best Rum Cocktail of the event, at the special rum bar, being set up next to Rum Alley. This event will have an area specific for children to enjoy pirate/mermaid activities.

For our members and potential new members alike, we are hosting at our offices a new-member orientation class/refresher for existing members, that will remind you of the multitude of exciting ways that the Punta Gorda Chamber can add even more value to your bottom line — all of which are included in your membership dues. These classes will take place at 4 p.m. April 15 and April 21 at our office. To RSVP, call 941-639-3720 and we’ll get you scheduled.

Our April networking events are all set: Business Over Breakfast is to be held on April 14 at the Burg’r Bar, Punta Gorda, hosted by Clenz-Ozone, starting at 7:15 a.m. Our After Hours will start at 5:30 p.m. April 20 at Granny Nannies in Port Charlotte, and our networking luncheon will roll on April 28 at 12:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda ($20). To RSVP, call 941-639-3720. New members are always welcome, so you can see for yourself what others are talking about. Our meetings are still restricted to 50 people, due to COVID-19, until further notice and we do ask for masks to be worn until seated.

We are experiencing a lot of very energetic activity around the chamber right now. Our real estate market is extremely hot. Our commercial activity is seeing a significant uptick, with both out-of-state and regional interest in our market. Honestly, we have never seen so much interest and activity at these levels before. We are highly encouraged to see these opportunities come to fruition and very proudly stand up to assist those coming here. Rest assured, there will not be an overnight transformation of what we love so dearly, but more an introduction of new products and services that we have traditionally gone out of the area to source up to now. There are very interesting times indeed. I am so very proud of our directors and committees that work behind he scenes so diligently to “bake the cake.”

Our office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday for your convenience at 252 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, and we have two rooms filled with every piece of literature you could possibly need to make your stay, your residence or your business more fulfilling than ever. Don’t forget, if you prefer, our website has a new addition — our new 2021 Member and Visitor Guide, which makes looking up our members and finding things to do even easier for you. The link you’ll find in the top right of our homepage.

If you have any questions about our city, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to help.

John R. Wright is President of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce


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