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The Cape is a great place to start 2016

January 8, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

For those of us who love community events, January is always a very good month in Cape Coral - and 2016 is no exception.

Clubs, organizations and the city of Cape Coral itself will kick off the new year with a round of festivals, celebrations and an annual bicycle ride that attracts everyone from local kids and weekend peddlers to cyclists from across the country.

The Rotary Club of Cape Coral will again jumpstart the community's yearly major events schedule with Festival of the Arts, set for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day along Cape Coral Parkway.

One of the Cape's largest street fests, the annual art showcase recognized as one of the top 100 held nationwide draws an estimated 100,000-plus visitors to the city's traditional downtown, the South Cape.

This year's festival will feature more than 300 juried artists and artisans whose work will run the gamut from fine art and sculpture to pottery, jewelry, photography and more.

It also will offer a new nuance we predict will become a favorite. An Academic Arts Tent, title sponsored in its inaugural effort by Achieva, will showcase the best efforts of Lee County students with ribbons and prizes to be awarded for the top submissions.

Although the event is a major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, as always, admission is free

We thank Rotary and the innumerable volunteers who make this event possible. For each of its 31 years the festival has grown and now is one of the Cape's biggest and best - and one of our personal favorites.

Next weekend will see a pair of events, Viva Cape Coral!, a free heritage fest to be held from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Sun Splash Family Waterpark, and Tour de Cape, a multi-distance bike ride packaged with a short-course kids ride and a walk-run for novice and experienced runners alike.

Hosted by the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Pendas Law Firm, Viva Cape Coral! will feature food and merchandise vendors, business booths, a special area for children and lots of entertainment, including international artist Ken-Y.

Organizers say it's a family-focused celebration of Hispanic heritage.

Now marking its 25th year, the city of Cape Coral's annual Tour de Cape will commence next Friday night with a "pre-event packet pickup celebration" from 5-8 p.m. at Cape Harbour Resort; step off Saturday with a 5K run and the 5K Kids Ride; and then continue Sunday with the main attraction, the 15-, 30-, 60-, and 100-mile Tour de Cape Bike Rides starting at Cape Harbour and running through the west and north sections of the city.

If all this isn't enough, the event-packed month will wrap up Jan. 30 with the 10th annual Best South Cape Martini Competition.

Organized by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations, the "taste" will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. at various venues in the South Cape entertainment district.

Participants will travel via trolleys, stop at the participating establishments, try custom martini samples and specialty appetizers, and then vote for their favorite drink, food and experience.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the event - if tickets are still available to what is always a sellout.

Any or all of these events is a great way to start the new year.

And they - like numerous other events such as Cape Harbour's recent New Year's ball drop and party, the Harney Point Kiwanis annual KidsFest, the various downtown Bike Nights, and, of course, the July 4th Red, White & Boom!, Oktoberfest, Coconut Festival, and Holiday Festival of Lights - are a primary reason the Cape is such a great place to live, work, and visit.

The crowded community calendar gives thousands of families from throughout Lee County a chance to come to Cape Coral to enjoy a day, an afternoon, or an evening of free or bargain-priced fun.

In addition to Rotary, we thank all of the organizations, businesses and volunteers who make such things possible.

The new year is again shaping up with another round of hometown spirit.

Mark your calendars for good times to come.

- Breeze editorial



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