Road to recovery: Traditional events return
At the top of many Southwest Floridians’ wish lists this year is likely one common crave: normalcy.
For Lee County’s hardest-hit communities and neighborhoods, that’s still a ways off as repairs, rebuilds and reopenings continue.
But there is a glimmer — and then some — as some things we love and cherish, some things that make the Cape such a great place to live, return — and so quickly.
Just over three months after Hurricane Ian devastated Cape Coral’s riverfront neighborhoods along our Gold Coast and severely damaged many Cape homes, businesses and buildings, the first major event of the new year will take place as scheduled and in its longtime location to boot.
The Rotary Club of Cape Coral will proudly jumpstart the Cape’s yearly major events schedule with its popular Cape Coral Art Festival & Market Place street fair, set for Saturday and Sunday along Cape Coral Parkway.
One of the Cape’s largest fests, the annual art showcase recognized nationally draws an estimated 120,000-plus visitors to the city’s traditional downtown, the South Cape.
A major fundraiser for Rotary, the festival will run from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, featuring some 250 artists and artisans from all over the U.S.
As always, admission and parking are free for festival attendees with an added virtual option for those who prefer to take part from home by visiting the festival’s website.
We thank Rotary and the innumerable volunteers who make this event possible. Through its 38 years, the festival has grown to become one of the Cape’s biggest and best — and one of our personal favorites.
Next week brings the city of Cape Coral’s annual Tour the Cape.
Tour de Cape will “soft open” next Friday night, Jan. 20, with a pre-event packet pickup celebration from 4-7 p.m. at Rotary Park; step off next Saturday with a 5K run/walk and a 3-mile Family Ride then continue next Sunday with the main attraction — the 15-, 30-, 60-, and 100-mile Tour de Cape Bike Rides which will start at Rotary and run through specified tour routes.
The event, now in its 32nd year, is a city tradition that draws cyclists from across the state and beyond.
Check-in for the Jan. 21 5K will begin at 6:30 a.m. with the run starting at 8 a.m.; the Family Ride will begin at 10:30 a.m. The Jan. 22 Tour de Cape bike rides will begin at 8 a.m. or 8:15 a.m., depending on the route selected.
Given that the city and municipal employees have worked long, tiring hours to clean up Ian’s mess (removing thus far 8,788 truckloads — enough to fill 67 football fields three feet deep –) and repairing and replacing crucial infrastructure, the fact that the city can put this event on as scheduled is miraculous.
There’s more, lots more.
The William Austen Youth Center will host its ninth annual Classic Car Show on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 315 S.W. 2nd Ave. The event is free for spectators. The car entry fee is $25 with proceeds benefiting the William Austen Youth Center Scholarship Program. There are six entry classes for vehicles from 1900 to 1987.
For more information, call the Youth Center at 239-242-3950.
The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association Showcase of Homes is set for the weekends of Jan. 20-22, Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 3-5, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
Fifteen builders will take part in the premiere showcase that “puts top home design on display.”
Visit cccia.org for a look at the showcase book and more information.
Lastly, the 17th annual Best South Cape Martini Competition, organized by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at various venues in the South Cape entertainment district.
Participants will travel via trolleys, stop at participating establishments, try custom martini samples and specialty appetizers, and then vote for their favorite drink and appetizer.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the event — if tickets are still available to what usually is a sellout. They are available on Eventbrite.
Back to normal?
No, not yet.
We’re getting there.
Thank you to those who are making it possible.
— Breeze editorial