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Southwest Florida: It’s not just for tourists

By Staff | Sep 15, 2023

Nothing says “normalcy” better than a return of events, festivals and other traditions.

The roof may still have a tarp, the insurance company may still be balking, but the ability to walk away for an afternoon or evening, to enjoy a little music, a little food and a beverage of choice with family, friends, or neighbors known or not shows there is a bright spot on a familiar horizon.

The return of the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is one of those events and the addition of Cape Coral venues into the 10-day queue of music makes this year’s all the more welcome.

Launched nine years ago by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau as a way to attract visitors during the lag between summer and “season,” the festival kicks off on Captiva and runs from Friday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 24, at Mucky Duck, Green Flash, ‘Tween Waters, RC Otters, Key Lime Bistro and the South Seas Island Resort performance tent.

It then moves to Cape Coral, thanks to the Westin which is providing rooms for out-of-town artists. In the Cape the fest will be celebrated Monday, Sept. 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 26, at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village’s Nauti Mermaid, Gather, High Tide Social House and Pinchers.

Downtown Fort Myers is the next stop on Wednesday, Sept. 27, and Thursday, Sept. 28, at City Tavern, Banyan Hotel, Downtown Social House, Luminary Hotel and Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

The festival wraps up on Fort Myers Beach with performances from Friday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 1, at Pink Shell Beach Resort, Diamondhead Beach Resort, Matanzas Inn, Lighthouse Tiki Bar, Bayside Park and the Mound House.

Chris Janson, a winner of multiple Academy of Country Music Awards, is one of the 90 or so performers and will headline the Pink Shell Beach Resort Pool Party on Oct. 1.

Fort Myers Beach musician Sheena Brook, known for her selection in NBC’s season 12 of The Voice, is scheduled for multiple performances on both the Beach and Sanibel/Captiva.

A local songwriter event is also scheduled. It will be Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., Fort Myers.

Some of the shows require tickets. Most are free.

For a full list of shows, performers, admission information, including ticket costs, if any, visit IslandHopperFest.com.

It’s been a long dozen months since Hurricane Ian.

And it’s time for a little staycation.

Southwest Florida: It’s not just for tourists.

Get out. Kick back. And enjoy.

— Breeze editorial