Food Truck Saturdays

The Harbour Heights Civic Association announces Food Truck Saturdays to be held the first Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Civic Association building at 2530 Harbour Drive in Punta Gorda. If you are launching your boat, on your way to an event, work or going to a yard sale, stop by and fill up and meet your neighbors.

Santa’s Helpers

Kays Ponger & Uselton and Lemon Bay Funeral Homes and Cremation Services and Gulf Pines Memorial Park have teamed up with Santa’s Helpers to bring hope to disadvantaged children. The objectives of the annual toy drive are to help children in need experience the joy of the holidays, to nurture the development of children, to unite members of local communities in a common cause and to contribute to the future betterment of communities. Please drop off new, unwrapped toys to one of our locations by Dec. 15: 2405 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte; 635 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda; 1935 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice; 2 Buchans Landing Englewood; 2401 Englewood Road, Englewood.  For more information, visit or on Facebook

A Family Start to the Christmas Season

The Charlotte County Concert Band would like to help each and every family in the area get into the Holiday spirit by offering special pricing for its December concert, A Christmas Celebration, at 7:30 p.m. today, at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center, 701 Carmalita St., Punta Gorda. For this festive concert of holiday music, students (K-12) will be admitted for $5 when accompanied by a parent. Student tickets are only available at the door. Regular admission tickets are available on-line at or at the door the night of the concert.

Breakfast with Santa

Come join Santa at 10 a.m. on Saturday, at F.M. Don's, 201 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, for a delicious breakfast buffet prepared by Chef Keith. In addition to breakfast, kids will write letters to Santa and decorate their own holiday themed cookies. Santa's elves will lead them in fun holiday crafts and help them make their own Magical Reindeer Food in hopes that Santa and his reindeer will come and visit on Christmas Eve. Special guests will also be at FM Don's reading Christmas Stories. Each child will also get a one on one visit with Santa and pictures are encouraged. Don't forget your cameras. Cost is $10 per child and reservations area required. For more information or to make a reservation, call 941-637-8800.

Chamber Annual Christmas Parade

The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce’s 40th Annual Christmas Parade will be at noon on Saturday, from Charlotte High School, north on Taylor and to disbanding at the Event Center. Christmas through the Years is the theme. Awards will be presented to first, second and third place winners in a variety of categories – Best Float (flatbeds or trailers), Best Decorated Car or Pickup Truck, and Best Marching/Performing Unit and will be announced and presented at the Third Wednesday Coffee on Dec. 19. Deadline to enter is Nov. 12. For more information, contact the Chamber office at 941-627-2222.

Chanukah celebration

The public is cordially invited to join for the holiday celebration of Chanukah at 7 p.m. on Saturday, (seventh night of Chanukah) for the lighting of the Menorah in front of the main entrance to Fishermen’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda. Each night an additional light is kindled until the Menorah is ablaze with eight beautiful lights in celebration of Chanukah. The message of the menorah is a universal one, expressing the importance of bringing light, warmth and holiness to the darkest places. Chabad of Charlotte County, Rabbi Jacobson will be among those who will light the candles. Children participating will receive Chanukah treats. There will be a children's performance by 'The junior jacappelia.' For more information, call 941-833-3381 or

Charlotte Chorale's annual Christmas Concert 

Join in celebrating the Christmas Season with The Charlotte Chorale's annual Christmas Concert, "A Season of Hope," at 4 p.m. on Sunday, at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center, 701 Carmalita St., Punta Gorda. "A Season of Hope" will transport you back to a simpler time of Christmas memories of children, family, friends, good food and warm wishes.

Reserved seat tickets can be purchased by calling 941-204-0033. Adults $25, students $10, payment by credit card available. Ask about season ticket discounts. For more information, visit or email:

LLI celebrates the season

The Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) will begin holiday celebrations with a fun-filled trip to St. Armand’s Circle on Dec. 11 and the second “Behind the Notes” presentation in the FSW Campus Auditorium on Dec. 14, featuring “Sounds of the Season.”

The visit to St. Armand’s Circle on Dec. 11 will start with a narrated walking-tour of the “Circle” to learn more of the influence that John Ringling had on the development of this lovely island just across the Sarasota Bay. A progressive lunch in four different restaurants scattered around the “Circle” is planned to satisfy all palates and stuff all tummies.

On Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. Maestro Raffaele Ponti, of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, will again delight the audience by sharing how three components (composers, compositions and conductors) come together to create the enjoyment of a symphony concert. This is the second in the series of six sessions and will feature “Sounds of theSeason.”

Complete details and registration information can be found on LLI’s website ( and by calling the LLI office at 941-637-3533. Admission fees are $20 per person and can be paid online or at the door – cash, credit card or check.

Bluegrass Saturday

Southwind Bluegrass Band is scheduled to perform at the next Bluegrass Saturday at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Harbor Heights Park, 27420 Voyageur Drive, Punta Gorda. Monthly Bluegrass Saturday concerts showcase local and regional Bluegrass bands. A $5 donation is requested, along with one canned-good for the local food bank.

Bluegrass Saturday takes place outdoors in a tree shaded area Bring lawn chairs for seating. For more infomration, call 941-626-5399, or email

Peace River Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Volunteers are needed for the Peace River Audubon’s 2018 Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 15 and encompasses a 15-mile diameter circle, the center point being approximately downtown Punta Gorda. The circle is divided into about 12 areas, the furthest south areas being Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) and Cecil B Webb preserve. There are three water areas: the southern part of Charlotte Harbor including the area around Alligator Creek; the northern part of the Harbor; and the Peace River from the US 41 bridge. Each area is headed up by an individual who determines where their group goes in their particular area, where and when they meet. In some cases they break up into smaller groups covering particular areas, such as a golf course. Most groups start about 7 a.m. and go until about noon. Some go out again later in the afternoon to count birds coming in for the evening.

To sign up for the bird count or for more information, contact Tony Licata at 941-505-9775, email

Free Holiday Program

Come join the Master Gardeners at 2 p.m. on Dec. 18, at the PGI Civic Association, 2001 Shreve St., Punta Gorda, for a program on how to take care of the traditional holiday plants that are gifted during this festive season. Whether you are a giver or a receiver, it is always nice to know how to prolong the beauty of our holiday plants. For more information, contact Nancy Palmer at 941-286-6111.

Fishermen's Village to host annual NYE celebration and fireworks display

Fishermen’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, will host family friendly festivities for New Year’s Eve, featuring a magnificent fireworks display at midnight. Fireworks can only be viewed from the west dock of Fishermen's Village.

Beginning at 6 p.m., New Year’s Eve Family Friendly festivities will include: Live music and dancing from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with DJ and singer Michael White; Get Snapped Photo Booth; comedy magic shows, balloon creations, juggling with Captain Jack, from 6 p.m. to midnight, Finest Face Painting by MaryRose, Glitter Tattoos by Star Valle Entertainment; LED Juggling, Balloon twisting and magic shows by Jeff the Juggler, Tarot by Pamela (Tarot card readings for nominal fee), Funky Hair Glitter Designs (get your sparkle on!) from 6 p.m. to 1 0 p.m.; singer/guitarist Michael Hirst from 6 p.m. to midnight and it will be the final evening to view the Festival of Lights.

Paddle Shell Creek

Paddle Shell Creek from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 16. This is the longer upstream paddle to the shallows and Cypress Knee Garden with Florida Master Naturalist, Rick Fried, who lives on the creek. Bring your lunch. Participants must provide pfd, watercraft and be able to swim. Voluntary donations to Sierra Club are gratefully accepted. Reservations required. Call 941-637-8805.

Paddle through wooded maze of channels

Paddle Lettuce Lake or Liverpool from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 21. Paddle through the wooded maze of channels from the Lake or Hunter Creek out into the Peace River. Then downstream, exploring side lagoons, and on to the Nav-a-Gator for a leisurely lunch, and return through a different route. Florida Master Naturalist Rick Fried guides you through the tricky channels. Voluntary donations to the local Sierra Club are gratefully accepted. For reservations and information call, 941-637-8805.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community breakfast

The Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture of Charlotte County announces its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, at Punta Gorda Middle School, 1001 Education Way. The speaker this year is award winning author, Canter Brown Jr., Ph.D, frequently referred to as one of Florida’s most prolific historians. This year, awards honoring local persons who have contributed to the Museum’s mission as well as to the community at-large will be given to Lorah Steiner, retired Director of Charlotte County Tourism, and Roy and Eunice Wiley, local educators, artists, and community activists.

Once again, Charlotte County student winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest will be given prizes and the first place winners will read their essays to the Breakfast audience.

Tickets can be either purchased in advance on the Museum’s website ( or in person at the Museum, 406 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Punta Gorda. (Museum will be closed from Dec. 14-Jan. 6.)

Advanced ticket prices are $15 for adults, $8 for children (under 12). Tickets bought at the door: $20 for adults, $10 for children. For more information, call 941-575-7518.

Paddle with your valentine

Paddle the Lower Peace River from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 14. Paddle with Florida Master Naturalist Rick Fried past the turn-of-the century Liverpool phosphate dock ruins. Check the rookery for bird activity and then up in the Peace River to the Nav-A-Gator for lunch. Return via a short cut. Participants must provide pfd, watercraft and be able to swim. Voluntary donations to the Sierra Club gratefully accepted. Reservations required. Call 941-637-8805.

Players to present ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

The Charlotte Players will present “Singin’ in the Rain on Feb. 15-24, at Charlotte Performing Arts Center, 701 Carmalita St., Punta Gorda. The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted by Broadway legends from their original award-winning screenplay. Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping title number. Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards. Seating is reserved for all shows. Ticket prices vary. For more information, call 941-255-1022 or visit

Return of The Great Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium and Drink-Ory Garden

Salto Entertainment announces the return of The Great Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium and Drink-Ory Garden, under the boutique Big-Top on Feb. 20-26 at The Marketplace in downtown Punta Gorda.

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 1-888-718-4253. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.

Perennial Film Festival scheduled

The 2nd Annual Perennial Film Festival will be held from noon to 9 p.m. on March 2 and March 3 at the Punta Gorda Historic Building, 118 Sullivan St., Punta Gorda.

The mission of Perennial Film Festival is to provide filmmakers with a platform to connect, learn, and reach people with quality stories via the video and film craft. Not only do attendees get to watch great films, but they get to talk to the filmmakers, win movie memorabilia, and learn about the craft. They can also provide valuable feedback for the filmmakers and vote for the winning films. Those filmmakers are then awarded Sunday during the awards ceremony. Everyone is encouraged to attend, but space is limited. So order your tickets now at, where you can also find out more information and submit films.

Punta Gorda Short Film Festival

The Charlotte Harbor Office of Film & Digital Media and Asbury Shorts, USA, will present the 5th annual Punta Gorda Short Film Festival on March 6, at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. The event will be hosted by the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 908-618-1776 or email

Taste of Punta Gorda and Beyond

The 12th annual Taste of Punta Gorda will be held on March 3 at Laishley Park and will feature 30 restaurants from Punta Gorda and Charlotte Communities serving "tastes" of signature dishes. Some 80 vendors of arts, crafts, and specialty foods, plus a Rotary Village showing off the work of Rotary Clubs throughout Charlotte County will participate. Fun Kid's Zone, and all day music featuring the Charlotte High School Gold Jazz bad, the Florida Mountain Men bluegrass group and the Boogiemen. For more information, visit


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