homepage logo

This is what a return to normalcy feels like

By Staff | Feb 23, 2023

Southwest Florida may have a good ways to go to reach pre-Ian normalcy but we, as a community, are certainly bouncing back strong in the face of continued adversity.

Today’s Breeze highlights a plethora of popular returning events as well as a handful of fundraisers to help what collectively ails us here in the Cape.

The big event, of course, is the Lee County Fair, now returning for its 99th edition despite much hurricane damage to the Lee County Civic Center and its grounds off Bayshore Road.

The fair opened Thursday with its “sneak peek” and continues though to March 5 with all the usual attractions — rides, midway, exhibits, competitions and, of course, guilty-pleasure fair fare.

If you’re up for opening night, tonight’s activities kick off with free admission from 4 to 6 p.m. and free rides from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday night also features the first Moonlight Madness from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. where $30 gets you on all the rides. This Saturday and Sunday will offer $40 ride bands with a paid admission.

Looking for options here in the Cape? There’s multiple events this weekend and next:

• Cape Coral’s version of a home-town hoot-enanny, the 21st Annual Burrowing Owl Festival Wildlife and Environmental Expo, takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at Rotary Park.

The event celebrating the city’s official bird will include various environmental and wildlife organizations with educational exhibits, live animals, presentations and speakers; burrowing owl informative exhibits; tours of the park’s butterfly house; flora and fauna tours; and special owl and photography bus tours. There will be artists, photographers and craft vendors with items for sale. Attendees will also enjoy music, food and business vendors, and arts and crafts for the kids.

A $5 entry donation for those 12 and older is requested.

• The 10th annual South Cape Mardi Gras Trolley Event also rolls on Saturday.

Hosted by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Association, the food-and-drink sampling event will run from 7 to 11 p.m., allowing attendees to hit 10 different Cape hotspots to enjoy Big Easy-themed drink and appetizer samples.

• While the state’s largest Oktoberfest was cancelled here due to Hurricane Ian, the German American Social Club of Cape Coral will bring back the gemutlichkeit — a feeling of warmth, friendliness and good cheer.

Starting this weekend, the GASC will hold its first of four Biergartenfests featuring entertainment and food options on the grounds and sit-down dinners in the Von Steuben Hall. Tickets to this weekend-long fest are $5 and parking is free. Hours are Saturday from noon until 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 8 p.m.

“Yappy Hour,” a combination social event and fundraiser, will take place this Friday and the last Friday of every month in the foreseeable future from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Fathoms. The public is invited to bring well-mannered, leashed pups and meet friends and neighbors, enjoy raffle prizes and a 50/50 raffle, and have a good time to support the Golden Retriever Rescue of Southwest Florida.

And one more for next weekend:

• PRIDE of Cape Coral will hosts its fifth annual celebration on March 4 and 5 on Southeast 47th Terrace in the South Cape.

PRIDE Cape Coral is organized as “a family-friendly and free outdoor event celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in Cape Coral and across Southwest Florida.”

March 4 activities will run from 3 to 10 p.m. and will include a free parade with live entertainment featuring local and national performers, food and drinks, carnival games, and a tutu drag race competition. An official after-party will begin at 10 p.m. at Cruisers Lounge on Southeast 47th Terrace.

March 5 will offer a ticketed Drag Brunch on Southeast 10th Place, with seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Cape restaurants and a drag show.

Let us highlight a couple of fundraisers as well:

• The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife will wrap up its annual online auction at 11:59 p.m. this Sunday, right on the tail feathers of its Burrowing Owl Festival. More than 200 items are up for bid including some biggies — a $10,000 gift certificate toward a custom-built boat, a beach vacation in Costa Rica and a NASCAR Driving Experience that could put you behind the wheel for laps on the Super Speedway.

There’s lots of other items, too — everything from restaurant gift certificates to tours of all kinds and some plush hotel stays, including nights at the Westin Cape Coral and the Don Caesar in St. Petersburg.

Visit the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife website, ccfriendsofwildlife.org. Look for the auction link biddingforgood on the home page or go directly to biddingforgood.com/CCFW.

• Meanwhile, from March 2 -29, the hard-hit Cape Coral Art League will host a month-long silent auction to aid in its recovery. Items are available for viewing in the gallery and bids may be made Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or to make a donation, call 239-772-5657, or visit capecoralartleague.org.

Fun. And some fundraising.

This is what the return to normalcy in the Cape feels like.

It does feel good.

— Breeze editorial