Where to Go & What to Do
SAMPLE & SAVOR Nov. 11 Taste of the Islands, Sanibel
Get acquainted with the offerings of Sanibel’s restaurants by spending a Sunday afternoon sampling everything from pasta and seafood specialties to cocktails and desserts. The outdoor Taste of the Islands is held at the Sanibel Community Park. You can also enjoy live music and meet the animal ambassadors from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), which benefits from the event’s proceeds, to learn about care for the island’s injured and orphaned wildlife. crowclinic.org
ON THE WILD SIDE Nov. 2-29 Ed Takacs Exhibition, Bonita Springs
Big cats, elusive alligators and majestic elephants are Ed Takacs’ subjects. The Bonita Springs artist captures the natural beauty of the animal kingdom using watercolor, oil and acrylic—choosing whichever medium best captures the essence of his composition. Whether his subject is a bird often spotted in Southwest Florida or a zebra roaming Africa’s grasslands, his wildlife paintings have an emotional quality that will move you. See them on display in the Tranovich Gallery at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs. The opening reception is Nov. 2. artcenterbonita.org
GO LOCAL Nov. 3 Wink Taste of Lee, Fort Myers
The season’s cooler temperatures are perfect for attending outdoor street fairs. So head to Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers for the Wink Taste of Lee. The event promoted by Businesses Supporting Communities is an opportunity to get acquainted with your local restaurants and businesses. Sample culinary offerings from some 50 eateries and visit booths where local businesses showcase their goods and services. Entertainment and a children’s activity area make it a great outing for the entire family. bscevent.com
COCO LOCO Nov. 8-11 Coconut Festival, Cape Coral
Consider this four-day event a celebration of the City of Cape Coral—
and a reason to have lots of fun. At the Sun Splash Festival Grounds, two stages host rock and country bands and from the midway’s Ferris wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl come screams and laughter. Carnival eats include funnel cakes and cotton candy, plus coconut-inspired sweets. A craft beer garden is planned, along with a 5K and kids run on Nov. 10. cocofest.com
LATINO ART Nov. 16 Saint Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction, Naples
Mingle with local and international Latin artists at the Saint Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction held at Artis-Naples. The evening fundraiser features hors d’oeuvres and live Latin entertainment, plus a silent auction where you can bid on your favorite piece of artwork. The money raised goes to a scholarship fund for underprivileged children of Latino background. Tickets are $250 per person. salcaa.org
SAND ARTISTS Nov. 16-25 American Sandsculpting Championship, Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach’s sands are transformed into works of art during the American Sandsculpting Championship. Now in its 31st year, the event is considered one of the largest in the world for the art form. Whether elaborate sand castles as one would expect on a beach or something totally unexpected like Neptune rising from the sea, the works by these talented sculptors are crafted from nature. Watch and marvel as they shape the sands, then shop the event’s vendors or just enjoy a day on the shore. fmbsandsculpting.com
BOUTIQUE ART SHOW Nov. 23-24 Masters Art Festival, Sanibel
Smaller and more intimate than most art shows, the Masters Art Festival is an opportunity to mingle with artists working in various media—painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, drawing and more. It happens at the Sanibel Community House, the hub for social gatherings on the island. No doubt you’ll find a great piece of art or you might even find yourself commissioning a painting by a newly discovered artist. sanibelcommunityhouse.net
HOLIDAY TRADITION Nov. 27-Dec. 19 Fort Myers A Christmas Carol,
What is the holiday season without a viewing of A Christmas Carol to make you appreciate everything you have? See Ebenezer Scrooge on the big stage at the Florida Repertory Theater in Fort Myers. Veering from tradition, this brand-new adaptation promises original music, magical stagecraft, a children’s chorus and a fresh approach to an old Charles Dickens favorite. It’s a Christmas show the whole family can enjoy. floridarep.org
JINGLE BELLS AHOY Dec. 1 Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Whether you watch from a lawn chair or a bar stool, this Christmas boat parade will light up your night. Some 30 watercraft all aglow with holiday decorations, featuring everyone from Frosty to Rudolph to Santa Claus, glide through Matanzas Harbor. The show begins at Salty Sam’s Marina and passes by Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas on the Bay, Nervous Nellie’s, Doc Ford’s, Dixie Fish Co., Original Shrimp Dock Bar & Grill and Bonita Bill’s. Be sure to note your favorite and vote online for best decorated boat. fortmyersbeach.org
MUNCHKINLAND Dec. 5-6 The Wizard of Oz, Fort Myers
No doubt after watching The Wizard of Oz, you find yourself singing “Ding dong! The witch is dead” for hours. But it’s so worth it. This classic movie turned into a stage production is as entertaining today as it was the first time you saw it. The beloved tale about a Kansas farm girl traveling over the rainbow comes to the stage at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Expect all the usual songs—“Over the Rainbow” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard”—along with dazzling new special effects. bbmanpah.com
TWINKLING LIGHTS Dec. 7-8 Luminary Holiday Stroll, Sanibel & Captiva
Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island’s main thoroughfare, is all dressed up for the season, as is Captiva Island’s Andy Ross Lane and Captiva Drive. You’ll find lights galore as you meander these streets, poking into boutiques radiating with holiday cheer. Along with the ribbons and bows and strands of lights and garland, Florida-style pink plastic flamingos wearing Santa hats and illuminated crèches are tucked in lush gardens. Let the season’s festive glow and merriment put you in the holiday mood— then open your pocketbook and start shopping! The Luminary Holiday Stroll takes place on Sanibel Dec. 7 and on Captiva Dec. 8 from 5:30-9 p.m. sanibel-captiva.org
TRICK SHOTS Dec. 9 Harlem Globetrotters, Estero
The Harlem Globetrotters are basketball players who pride themselves in breaking Guinness World Records. The 6-foot-9inch showman Big Easy Lofton holds the record for the longest basketball hook shot, measuring 72 feet and 6.25 inches. Handles Franklin is credited with the farthest kneeling basketball shot made backwards at 60 feet and 7.5 inches. Adding to the mix are female players with nicknames like Swish, Hoops and TNT. The talented masters of the basketball bring their World Tour 2018, the ultimate in family entertainment, to the Germain Arena in Estero. germainarena.com
GOOD TIDINGS Dec. 8 & 12 BIG Arts Holiday Shows, Sanibel
Not only does the BIG Arts Concert Band play the required music to usher in the joyful season, but the band’s Holiday Concert (Dec. 8) is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with neighbors and friends. Or you can attend the BIG Arts Chorus Holiday Concert (Dec. 12). Both the band and chorus are comprised of musicians and singers from the area, many of them seasonal residents and some professionals. Always a sell-out, the performance at Schein Hall won’t disappoint. bigarts.org
Sanibel’s BIG Arts holiday shows include the concert band performing on Dec. 8 and the chorus on Dec. 1 2.
The touring stage production of The Wizard of Oz comes to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, Dec. 5-6.
Bonita Springs artist Ed Takacs presents his striking wildlife paintings at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, Nov. 2-29.
Artists compete at the American Sandsculpting Championship on Fort Myers Beach, Nov. 1625. One of the biggest events of its kind, the competition draws nearly 50,000 attendees.