DID YOU KNOW . . .
In 1987, the first Block Party was organized to commemorate the centennial of Punta Gorda. It was the capstone event of a yearlong series of celebrations celebrating the city’s heritage.
What many people do not know is the decrepit state of downtown Punta Gorda back then. Buildings and streets were in disrepair, and the area was on its way to becoming a shell of the vibrant economic engine it once was.
Because of the Block Party’s resounding popularity, city officials asked the volunteer organizers to continue the event on an annual basis. Punta Gorda Days Inc. was incorporated as a nonprofit and entered into a partnership with the city to organize the biggest oneday event in Southwest Florida. Many years of success followed, and attendance grew to 30,000 to 40,000 people, many from other areas of the state who were seeing the city for the first time and came back to spend money.
All that ended in 2008, when the city decided it could no longer afford the cost and cast the Block Party adrift. Instead of receiving money and free labor, Punta Gorda Days Inc had to pay the city to stage the Block Party for them. Even cutting costs to the bone, reducing the entertainment budget, we even tried entry fees but every attempt didn’t give us the reserves necessary to fund the event. We struggled.
Ask Punta Gorda nonprofit groups and they will say they remember the Block Party as a critical source of the funding they used to conduct their activities every year. Punta Gorda Days Inc. saw the potential of the Block Party as a way to support charities Since that time, Punta Gorda Days Inc. has designed the event to be a principal or even the biggest source of funding for charities, nonprofits, service organizations, schools, youth and school sports teams, homeless groups, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services and on and on. The best estimate of the number of groups that have benefited is around 80. This comes in many different forms. Punta Gorda Days Inc. outright donates money to good causes, tens of thousands of dollars every year are paid to groups to perform a service on Block party day. The CHS art department organizes a Block Party Tshirt design contest in its AP class and receives a donation to buy much needed art supplies. Not so obvious is the number of nonprofits that make money by manning a booth at the Block Party every year. A donation is not like giving a grant to a single nonprofit or good cause. A Block Party donation is seed money that will multiply over and over through the years as the nonprofits return to raise money to do their good works.
Since then, we now are no longer 'the city's' block party but the people's block party. We look forward to hosting this party for you for years to come.
Excerpts are from News Correspondent Gordon Bower
The Punta Gorda Block Party is held conveniently in the renovated section of downtown Punta Gorda. The event encompasses W. Marion Ave, Taylor Street, Retta Esplanade & Harborside. Downtown businesses get involved to show you what they have to offer in hopes you will come back to see them again. The opening of the venue is noon with performances all day until 10pm. Main Stage Headliner act is usually after 6pm.
We dedicate an entire street to young children. Every space has child relevant activities, accessories or child friendly vendors. We also have entertainment by Nick's Show for young children to be entertained and have interactions with the host at multiple times during the day. We always have the Fire Department and Police Department representation with interactive games, also school groups have games and more available to all the children.
We're thrilled to be holding this event for over 30 years, we've been bringing the good people of this area the finest live bands that have ever plugged in their electric guitars. The only venue in town where you can catch the best blues, rock, pop, country & reggae all in the same place. We have incredible artists appearing on 3 stage. We also have a community stage area and provide shows, demonstrations and interactives for all to enjoy. See some of our past performers here.
(Entertainment Schedule subject to change & we may not have time to repost)
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Punta Gorda Block Party
326 W Marion Ave, Punta Gorda, Florida 33950, United States