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What to Do in Southwest Florida in July & August 2019

Jun 28, 2019 01:22PM ● By Patricia Letakis

Cirque du Soleil's latest touring show Corteo comes to the Hertz Arena, July 17-21.

Events You Don't Want to Miss - July & August 2019

SPEND TIME WITH NATURE  Through Aug. 3 J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s Free Summer Programs, Sanibel Island

Nature lovers find several free summer activities at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. At Wednesday’s Reading in the Refuge, a naturalist shares wildlife-themed stories and creates crafts with children. On Thursday, a guide leads the Indigo Trail Walk and talks about the ecosystem’s flora and fauna. On Friday, participants in the guided Family Beach Walk explore Perry’s Tract to learn about the beach’s ecosystem. Bring a shell bag. Saturday’s program, Wildlife Wonders, is a presentation in the Visitor & Education Center about the refuge’s ecosystem; the topics changes weekly.

 BE OUR GUEST  Through Aug. 10 Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Fort Myers

Enjoy the enchanting production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on stage at the Broadway Palm Theatre. The tale as old as time tells the story of Belle, the village beauty, and the Beast, a prince cursed by a spell that only love can break—you know the rest. Enjoy the show on its own or pair it with lunch or dinner. The theater is dark Monday and Tuesday.

 CELEBRATE THE U.S.A.  July 4 Red, White and Boom, Cape Coral

Party on Independence Day with neighbors and friends on the Cape. The street fair takes place near the Cape Coral Bridge at 5 p.m. Food trucks, vendors, inflatable jumping houses for kiddies and live entertainment make for a fun evening. Watch the fireworks light up the skies with the crowd on the street or from your boat on the Caloosahatchee River.

 FOURTH OF JULY FUN  July 4 Independence Day Events, Sanibel Island

A tradition on Sanibel Island, the 28th annual Independence Day parade makes its way down the main thoroughfare Periwinkle Way. Local businesses and organizations decorate their vehicles in patriotic colors and hand out candy and flags. The Optimist Club’s Road Rally (part road race, part trivia) follows with teams driving a course around Sanibel and Captiva islands as they look for clues and solve puzzles. Winning is based on time, mileage and correct answers. When darkness falls, a firework show explodes over the Gulf.

 LET FREEDOM RING  July 4 Freedom Fest, Fort Myers

Downtown Fort Myers plays host to a free family-friendly Fourth of July celebration. The streets come alive with music provided by a DJ and bands. Vendors sell all sorts of crafts; food trucks feature favorite summer foods. And with plenty of activities for the kids, the youngsters are sure to enjoy the holiday. The day wraps up with a spectacular fireworks display.

 STARS & STRIPES  July 4 Star Spangled Bonita, Bonita Springs

Riverside Park is the place to celebrate Independence Day in Bonita Springs. A children’s amusement area keeps youngsters busy with water slides, bounce houses, face painting and more. Entertainment, games and fireworks are all part of the holiday program.

 PARADE & FIREWORKS  July 4 Fourth of July Celebrations, Naples

A patriotic hometown party is the best way to describe Naples July 4th Parade, which travels Broad Avenue South to Naples’ two main streets—Third Street South and 5th Avenue South. Spectators enjoy a morning of marching bands, decorated floats and more. At 9 p.m., the city holds its fireworks show at the Naples Pier. The explosive display lights up the heavens and can be seen all along the beach and from viewing spots in town.

 FLORIDA’S WATERWAYS ON CANVAS  July 5-26 Visions of Clean Water, Fort Myers

In an effort to preserve the Sunshine State’s clean waters, local photographers have documented Southwest Florida’s waterways in stunning images. The photographs by Katy Danca Galli, Rob Hoovis, Paul Marcellini, Alexis Horn and Dan Ivetic are on display in the Visions of Clean Water exhibition at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. You can support the effort by buying a print. Portions of the proceeds benefit Captains for Clean Water and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF).

 DOWN BY THE RIVER  July 5, 19 & Aug. 1, 16 Art and Music Walks, Fort Myers

Imagine a summer evening filled with artwork or song. It’s a great time to get out outdoors, mingle and make new friends as you meander downtown Fort Myers River District during the Friday night Art Walk or Music Walk. Galleries, exhibitions and performances draw crowds to the monthly Art Walk (July 5 and Aug. 2). Musicians line the streets performing jazz, blues, and rock ’n’ roll, creating a melodious street fair vibe during the Music Walk (Aug.1 and 16).

 MANGO SEASON’S HERE!  July 13-14 MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair, Cape Coral

The juicy mango is king at the annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair. Let your taste buds go wild as you sample freshly picked Haydens, Irwins, Kents, Keitts and other mango varieties from neighboring Pine Island at the free tasting table. Then mosey on over and sample lychee, carambola, longan, papaya and black sapote, an unusual fruit resembling a persimmon and tasting like chocolate pudding. Held at the German-American Social Club in Cape Coral, the event features mango juggling and pie-eating contests. A parade of mango-inspired hats and musical performances add to the event, along with the crowning of the MangoMania queen.

NIGHTS OF MUSIC  July 20, Aug. 17 SummerJazz on the Gulf, Naples

One of the most popular summer concert series in Southwest Florida, SummerJazz on the Gulf once again takes over the Watkins Lawn at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, offering music lovers views of the glistening Gulf of Mexico and glorious sunsets. On July 20, the popular horn band Late Night Brass entertains with songs by Earth, Wind & Fire; the Doobie Brothers; Chicago and others. High-energy six-piece Pocket Change ignites the crowd with Motown, funk, R&B, soul and dance music on Aug. 17. The concert is free; bring your blanket or lawn chair.

 A CLOWN’S FANTASY  July 17-21 Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, Estero

The latest touring arena production from Cirque du Soleil is Corteo. Taking its meaning from the Italian word corteo or funeral procession, the show revolves around the imagination of a clown as he pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere. The enchanting production celebrates the here and hereafter with laughter and exuberance. It blends acting, acrobatics and comedy in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. See it at the Hertz Arena in Estero.

 WRESTLING ACTION  July 22 WWE Summerslam Heatwave, Estero

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) brings the stars of professional wrestling to the Hertz Arena in Estero for some high-energy summer fun. Wildly popular, this entertainment-based show of choreographed matches blends competitive sport with theatrical drama.

 LAUGHS GALORE  July 26 Brian Regan, Fort Myers

This stand-up comedian’s latest Netflix series was Stand Up and Away! With Brian Regan, and he’s been a regular on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. A Miami native, Brian Regan performs at the Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers this summer. Respected among other comedians, Regan received kudos from Jerry Seinfeld, who says the funnyman is one of his favorite stand-up comedians.

 DREAMY DESIGNS  Aug. 2-29 Reimagined, Fort Myers

From its Greek and Roman roots to its modern day reawakening, fantasy art has served as a vehicle for dynamic storytelling. Eight local artists have joined together to present the exhibition Reimagined, which showcases their creations from visual art to wearable art, surrealism to high fantasy. See it at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

 GET YOUR TIKI ON  Aug. 10 TikiFest, Punta Gorda

Come out for some Polynesian-style fun. Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda hosts it’s 4th annual TikiFest, featuring hula dancers, tiki-toss games, tiki carving, coconut painting and Hawaiian lei giveaways. Tropical rock and steel drum music by JP Island Duo, Sunny Jim White and others performers get the party started. Vendors sell tiki-inspired clothing and merchandise, along with food and drink specialties.

 ART ON THE STREET  Aug. 31-Sept. 1 Venice Craft Festival, Venice

On Labor Day weekend, the Venice Craft Festival turns the streets of this picturesque seaside town into an outdoor gallery, featuring reasonably priced original arts and crafts. Some 80 artists and crafters present their ceramics, jewelry, stained glass creations, metalwork and more. Don’t miss the downtown Venice’s Northern Italian architecture and beautifully landscaped boulevards that inspired the city’s name.

 SAVE THE DATE  Nov. 1-3 Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda

Make plans to attend the Florida International Air Show at the Punta Gorda Airport. The main attraction is a performance by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, an elite air demonstration squadron, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Air shows throughout the weekend include the SOCOM Para Jump Team, Matt Younkin’s Twin Beech 18 and others. Displays of aircrafts and a finale fireworks show round out the event.