The Mindi Abair Festival in November and the 15th annual Wine & Jazz Festival in February 2020 should not be missed. VIP tickets and dinner tickets are now sold out for Mindi’s November event.

The line-up for Nov. 16 will start with Shawn Brown at 1:15 p.m., followed by Larkin Poe at 2:45 p.m. and Mindi and the Boneshakers at 4:15 p.m. All times are approximate. It is always our pleasure to present such a varied and hot lineup for our blues rock fans. The event center will open at noon for VIP guests to meet the artists between noon and 1 p.m. Gates for general admission will open at approximately 12:30 p.m., with the first act starting at shortly after 1 p.m.

Great wines will be available, presented by Mindi’s husband Eric Guerra in his Wine Grotto. Full bar locations are also on hand, with added food concessions offering a variety of hot and cold items.

Last year was the first event and after every event, we always conduct a “what can be done better” conversation. Since last year was the first event, there was a general “wait and see” to see if we did in fact bring in the number of guests that both Mindy and I expected. The truth was we blew through the expected numbers and over 65% of attendees visited our city from outside of the state! So, as a result, in 2019, there is much more confidence going into the event.

Great wines have been added to the available selection list which Eric Guerra, Mindy’s new husband, will be “splashing” at his Wine Grotto tent. More bars have been added around the lawn and an even greater selection of food items has been added this year, ranging from lighter bites such as gourmet popcorn to the more traditional burgers, with a lot more in between. In-and-out privileges are also available for those needing to walk dogs, etc., provided you have a wristband. Please note if you do go out of the center, you will need to go through security again upon re-entry.

It is our and Mindi’s intention to make this an annual November event for us all to enjoy. Next year’s festival is already in the works! Please open your arms to our guests from out of state and as locals, this is for you too to enjoy. Get your tickets now, as space is becoming limited in nearly all remaining ticket areas. General admission ticket holders may bring a lawn chair. All attendees will have to go through security screening, so no liquids please.

There are two more ribbon cuttings in the coming seven days.

On Wednesday night, we visit Punta Gorda Coffee and Tea, located in the Herald Court Centre at the corner of Olympia and U.S. 41 North to welcome them officially to their new location. Then on Tuesday, Nov. 12, we welcome Burnt Store Title and Escrow to their new location in Laishley Court, below the Laishley Crab House. Both ribbon cuttings will take place at 5:30 p.m., and the public is most welcome to attend. An RSVP to 941-639-3720 would be very much appreciated, however.

Saturday, our November Citywide Garage Sale returns to the parking lot of Comfort Storage 3811 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda. The market will run from 8 a.m. to noon and this month’s event has been augmented by a display of electric cars at the market also. Last month, more than 40 vendors were in attendance and we expect an even bigger number this time around. Have you got “stuff” to sell?” Spaces are available by calling 941-639-3720 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Pre-registration is required. Cost is still only $15 for two spaces (one for your vehicle, the other for your goods). We offer you a great way to get some money back on your personal treasures.

On Dec. 7, we return to Taylor, in front of the Courthouse, to present a special holiday party or kids of all ages. From 4-5 p.m., our DJ will spin music for the kids, with Mr. and Mrs. Claus paying us a visit. Weather forecasters have guaranteed snow at that time too. The party, free admission, will then continue from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with Island Flava DJ, Michael White spinning holiday hits. Beverages and food will be on site available for purchase. I guess it’s never too early to discuss holiday parties!

The lighting of the Village will be Nov. 16. The lighting of the city tree is scheduled for Dec. 6, and the Christmas Parade will roll down Taylor on Dec. 14. Mark your calendars.

Take a little time this week to revisit our award-winning website www.puntagordachamber.com and check out the many events on the horizon. 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.

John R. Wright is president of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce. He can be emailed at jrwright@puntagorda-chamber.com.

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