The date was July 28, 2014.
The Charlotte Harbor Super Boat Grand Prix had taken place, adjacent to Englewood Beach, three months prior. The Englewood Chamber had surveyed the community for the purpose of soliciting ways that the event could be improved.
The results of that survey were being presented to a group of community leaders who assembled under name of the Englewood Beach Grand Prix Festival Committee.
The person who volunteered to moderate that Monday evening meeting was Elaine Miller of Suncoast Architect. She would soon be elected chairperson of that committee and would be joined by Ken Stead of Cape Haze Marina as vice chair. Under the leadership of Elaine and Ken, the committee created the foundation for what is now known as Englewood Beach WaterFest.
Fast forward five years. Englewood Beach WaterFest is now the venue for the OPA World Championship. The accumulated economic impact to our area is calculated to have been between $10 million and $15 million. As the event has grown, the estimates for this year exceed $5 million.
The number of boats expected to race off Englewood Beach next this weekend is 65-70, which would be the most boats to participate at any race of its kind.
An event of this magnitude would not be possible if not for the dedicated hours of many people. The 2019 WaterFest board includes president Steve Gardiner and members Daz Jensen, Ray LaBadie, Dana Lutz and Dave Roth. Oh, and the two people who were mentioned earlier? They are still involved as officers, president-elect Ken Stead and secretary Elaine Miller.
Complete event details are available at EnglewoodBeachWaterFest.com. A list of ticket outlets are also listed on the website. The chamber has a ticket and information table set-up in the lobby, 601 S. Indiana Ave., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
We received more than 70 for our annual photo contest, and they are now on display in the chamber lobby. Please stop in and browse the amazing pictures and vote for your favorites. One of the photos will be selected for the cover of the upcoming Englewood Community Guide. Note:The display will be removed Wednesday afternoon.
Upcoming Events …
• “Midway at Monarch” open house-ribbon cutting, 4:30-7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Monarch Direct, 1264 Market Circle, Port Charlotte
• Business Card Exchange, 5-7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Thoroughbred Golf Carts, 3301 Placida Road.
Ed Hill is executive director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at email@example.com or 941-474-5511.