Around Town: Banquets, concerts, tours and much, much more

DONNA FIALA

Congratulations to Chellie Doepke (of Verona Walk, one of my new soon-to-be developments in the redistricting process beginning in January, subject to the Justice Department’s approval) for being awarded the first-ever Outstanding Service of the Year Award at the inaugural banquet of the Bayshore Cultural & Performing Arts Center.

Also, at this same banquet, hosted by Bill and Mame Drackett at Windstar on Naples Bay Club, new officers were elected. They are Chick Heithaus, president, Chellie Doepke, vice president, Steve Kutler, second vice president, Dwight Richardson, secretary, and Aurora Wells, treasurer.

• This Dec. 2 begins this season’s Erich Kunzel Community Concert Series, starting at 7 p.m. at Edison State College, 7007 Lely Cultural Parkway. The first presentation will feature the “Flute Cocktail,” directed by Wendy Willis. It is an astonishingly different ensemble of flutists. You will hear the entire family of flutes, bass to piccolo, perform classical and popular arrangements.

Admission is $10 and you may order tickets online at www.bayshorecapa.org, click events, then EK Concert Series. You may also call 775-2800. Last year was the first year that the Bayshore Cultural and Performing Arts Center offered the series, and by the third month, the auditorium was full and by the last two concerts there was standing room only.

This small but mighty group just keeps growing stronger and bigger as people realize the amazing impact they will make on our community as they work toward building a performance hall featuring local entertainment and art. Different artists will perform on the first Friday of every month through May 4.

Scheduled to perform is the Naples Music Club Young Artists, Evening of Dance, Naples Orchestra and Chorus, Opera Naples, Young Artists, and Bach Ensemble Troubadours.

• Also, the Jazz in the Park series begins on Nov. 20 and features the Patricia Dean Trio. This series will present a different jazz performance on the third Sunday of every month through April, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Dr., in East Naples off U.S. 41 East. Admission is free with a $5 parking fee within the park.

• I can’t believe how fast the year is rolling forward! The East Naples Civic Association (you ought to come to one of their meetings, as they are just great) as well as the East Naples Kiwanis, the Lely High School Key Club, the East Naples Fire Department, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office will again be holding the “Santa Run” on Dec. 17 at 8:30 a.m., gathering at St. Andrews Square.

Santa and Mrs. Claus usually find out about it and appear from the North Pole. This marvelous gathering of East Naples (and beyond) organizations ride up and down the streets of Naples Manor and beyond to distribute Christmas candy to all the little ones who eagerly await their arrival. If you’d like to help, please call my office at 252-8097. There’s always room for a few more.

• Each year I offer tours of various sites sponsored or owned by Collier County. We’ve seen the jail, the landfill, the emergency operations center, water and wastewater treatment plants, recycling centers and more.

This year, my tours will begin on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Dr. We will meet at the Visitors’ Center. There is no cost for these tours, but you must RSVP to attend.

The Tourist Development Council grants the Botanical Garden monies to promote this gorgeous park (the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida), which also promotes our area. I know you will enjoy this tour! The other tours coming up are the Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 17 (last year we had to turn people away), Traffic Management Center on Jan. 31 at 1:30 p.m. (learn how the lights are timed and the intersections are viewed), and then two of the county museums on Feb. 8th at 10 a.m. We just might view the Domestic Animal Services buildings in March as well. If you are interested in signing up for any, or all (some have already signed up for all the tours) of these tours, please call my assistant, Alexandra, at 252-8601.

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