Archive for July, 2014

Get Involved and Give Back: Exciting Punta Gorda Volunteer Ideas

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

by owl

Whether you just moved to Punta Gorda or you’ve lived here for years, there is nothing like getting out and giving back to the community.

You’re bound to make new friends, learn something new, and feel good about yourself in the process. Luckily, no matter what your interests and talents, Punta Gorda has a volunteer opportunity for you.

To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of volunteer ideas around Punta Gorda.

Military Heritage Museum: The Military Heritage Museum in Fishermen’s Village relies on over 60 volunteers to help visitors, as well as to archive and preserve the museum’s 30,000 artifacts. You don’t have to be a veteran to volunteer. For more information on volunteering, visit their website, call 941-575-9002, or stop in.

Punta Gorda Historical Society: Keep Punta Gorda’s rich history alive at the Punta Gorda Historical Society. The society provides educational information through books, plays, and slideshows. The society also gives sponsored tours of local historical buildings and takes on restoration projects. Whether you’re available for office work or maintenance, the historical society could use you. Visit their website or call 941-639-1887.

Peace River Wildife Center: You can help the Peace River Wildlife Center save our wildlife, one adorable creature at a time. The center rehabilitates and houses wounded wildlife. They offer an array of volunteer opportunities: PR writers, maintenance help, computer specialists, and educators. Check out their website for more information.

Charlotte County Library: You could spend your days around books encouraging others to read. The library uses volunteers to help in the stacks, with checkouts, clerical tasks, helping customers, and assisting in its youth programs. For more information check out their website or call the volunteer coordinator–Punta Gorda: 941-833-5460 Port Charlotte: 941-764-5562

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra: The Phantom of the Orchestra volunteer group helps our local symphony with fundraising and community awareness programs. To become a Phantom member go to their website.

Charlotte County Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS): If you’re interested in helping our public servants, the VIPS program offers a wide range of opportunities for you. From helping out at animal control, youth programs, volunteer firefighting and more. To review the entire list, visit their website and click Volunteer Opportunities.

Team Punta Gorda: Team Punta Gorda is comprised wholly of volunteers. The Team aims to advance and revitalize our community. In October 2014, it will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. One look at our beautiful downtown and you see the amazing work they do. For more information, send an email to or call 941-637-8326.

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, Inc. (CHEC): Want to spend your volunteer time outdoors? The CHEC seeks volunteers to guide nature walks, maintain the trails, and garden. In addition, they have positions in the office and store. To find out more, visit their website.

Which one sounds best to you?
Are you feeling inspired? If yes, give one of these great organizations a call and get involved today!



Punta Gorda & Pirates: A Strange Love Affair

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

pirate fest
Every July, Punta Gorda residents and visitors come together to celebrate Pirate Fest.

This year’s fest starts on Friday, July 25, 2014 and runs throughout the weekend at Fishermen’s Village. The event features live music, live mermaids, a pirate ball, a pirate ship, costume contests, treasure hunts, and a fire show.

It’s bound to be a fun weekend. Even if pirates are a strange bunch to celebrate.

After all, the most famous Southwest Florida pirate, José Gaspar, was kind of a jerk. While there are many stories and rumors about Gaspar, the most famous one goes like this:

At age 12, Gaspar joined the Spanish Navy. Over the next few years, he moved up the ranks until he was trusted with some of the crown jewels.

He stole the jewels—possibly for the love of a woman or possibly because he was a jerk. (Historians disagree on the why.) Either way, with crown jewels in hand, he set sail to begin his pirating career around 1783.

By the turn of the century, Gaspar, who by then called himself Gasparilla, had a nice little career of taking over ships, killing all the men, and capturing all the women for his harem. He stored his treasure on Gasparilla Island and his women on Captiva Island.

In 1821, on the cusp of his retirement, Gaspar decided he could capture one more bounty. He and his men went after a ship they thought was a British merchant ship, but turned out to be the USS Enterprise, a US navy ship on a mission to eradicate the Gulf Coast pirate problem.

The USS Enterprise attacked. Gaspar realized he wasn’t going to win this battle. Instead of letting the enemy kill him, Gaspar tied the anchor to his waist and jumped from the ship.

So, Why Do We Celebrate Pirates?

I’ve spent over thirty years studying the Punta Gorda resident in its natural habitat. And although I’m neither a sociologist nor an anthropologist, I’ve come up with two theories.

My first theory is that each part of the pirate motif is a metaphor for the cold lives many of our residents left behind.

For instance, the peg leg is a symbol of the snow shovel that once burdened their mornings. The eye patch reminds them that they once dodged sharp icicles upon exiting buildings. The plank is an icy sidewalk of doom.

In this theory, our locals don’t really celebrate the pirate, but rejoice in their freedom from the pirate.

My second theory is that Punta Gorda residents really like boats. And if you insinuate there’ll be a chance to even look at a cool boat, they’ll show up.

Do You Have a Theory?

I hope you go to the Pirate Fest this weekend. While you’re there, take a moment to ponder your own theory. As you sit by the water cocktail in hand, enjoying the festivities with the rest of our tight-knit community, maybe you’ll come up with your own ideas on why our locals always seem to be celebrating.

If you come up with something, let us know on Facebook. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


The Andreae Group Loves Punta Gorda’s Art Community

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014


Local children learn pottery at the Visual Arts Center

Local children learn pottery at the Visual Arts Center

Not every small town has a strong art community.

Punta Gorda is fortunate.

So, when Luke Andreae heard Punta Gorda’s Visual Arts Center had launched a campaign to raise money for building repairs, he was happy to have the Andreae Group donate $1000.00.

The Visual Arts Center has long been a hub of artist activity in Punta Gorda. The Center’s history stretches back to the 1960s when a group of local artists came together to form the Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc.

In the 1980s, the idea for a building where artists could gather to learn and show their art was born. The building officially opened in November 1989.

The center offers visual art instruction for students of all ages and levels. In addition, it hosts the Peace River National Arts festival, an outdoor juried show which sees crowds of over 10,000 people ever year.

The Visual Arts Center 25th Anniversary Capital Campaign hopes to raise $400,000 for necessary building repairs and refurbishments.

In a press release, Thalia St. Lewis, President of the Visual Arts Center board thanked the Andreae Group, “Your generosity will help insure that The Visual Arts Center will continue to be the place where residents from Charlotte County and the surrounding areas can explore, create, and share their talents through the visual arts.”

Presenting the Most Popular Member of the Andreae Group: Our Free Moving Truck

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

by Truck

Few things are as big and exciting as moving into a new home.

Suddenly, you have reasons to shop, new neighbors to socialize with, and a fresh view on life.

However, there are some logistical elements to moving that aren’t as fun as your new lanai. One big one is renting a moving truck. When you’re moving across the country, you might hire movers. Heck, you might hire movers for your local move.

Yet local moves are different. It seems there is always a few things in the garage you want to move later. Or the couch a friend is  taking before you move. Or the grill you need to pick up from home depot for the housewarming party.  Local moves can be a hassle.

But not for our customers. When we see a challenge for our customers, we meet it head on. Hence the truck moved into the Andreae family about 15 years ago. Now, our customers need a truck and they’ve got it.

Punta Gorda Charities Love The Truck Too

The truck does more than move our customers around town. It is available to local non-profits, and they use it. Recently, the Peace River Riders used it for their Annual Wheels and Wings ride. It’s been used by the American Cancer Society, the Charlotte Chorale, and more.

Frankly, if you run a non-profit in Charlotte County, you’ve probably driven the truck or know your chance is coming. And we look forward to handing you the keys.

Benefits of using the Andreae Group’s truck:

  1. It’s free to our customers and charities.
  2. It’s much more stylish than your average U-Haul. You can look cool while you move.
  3. It’s a conversation starter. Over the past 15 years, countless customers and non-profits have used the truck to move. Chances are our truck has moved one of your neighbors.

How to book:

  1. Buy or sell a home with the Andreae Group.
  2. OR start a charity.
  3. Need a local move.
  4. Claim your date. Call our office to reserve the truck. (941) 833-4217.
  5. Bring  a copy of your license and insurance by the office.

Have you used the Andreae Group truck? Was it for your own move or for charity use? Let us know on Facebook your truck experience.



Spending the July 4th Weekend in Punta Gorda Beats Watching the World Cup

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

by fireworks

What could be more fun than watching pro athletes kick the ball around as millions of devoted fans cheer?

That’s easy–spending your July 4th weekend out and about in Punta Gorda.

Yes, that’s a pretty gutsy claim. People all over the world love the World Cup, but that’s because they don’t know how Punta Gorda does holidays.

Let’s compare.

Two sports beats one. Even FIFA has to admit, two sports is better than one. And while the World Cup presents one sport over and over again, day after day, the fourth in Punta Gorda offers two sports for you to participate in.

First, on the fourth there is the swim across the harbor. About 500 people will grab inner tubes, kayaks, noodles and swim across the harbor.

If you’re not too sore after the swim, the Peace River Riders offers a cycling-filled weekend. Saturday night is their annual pub ride. Get warmed up for Sunday’s Wheels and Wings by cycling 3.5 miles around Punta Gorda and hit a few pubs along the way.

On Sunday, join the Riders for Wheels and Wings. The Andreae Group is proud sponsors of this ride. Proceeds from this year’s ride go to Punta Gorda Police Department’s Do the Right Thing program and the Punta Gorda Fire Department’s bike medic program.

Feed your rebellious side. World Cup fans are known for getting rowdy, but you can best them right here in PG. One of the draws to Wheels and Wings is Speed Trap Alley set up by the Punta Gorda police department. Cyclists who go over the speed limit will be issued a warning ticket. It’s probably the only warning ticket you’ll ever want to frame—certainly big bragging rights!

You don’t have to wait 90 minutes for something to happen. I know soccer is exciting. Everybody tells me. But two goals in 90 minutes? Why bother when there is activity all weekend in Punta Gorda. You can start at the swim on the fourth. Get out of the water, stop at Harpoon Harry’s for a recovery Bloody Mary, and head downtown for the festival.

11:00 am—Opening—Waterslides and rides open

12:00 pm—Live Music

2:00 pm—Moccasin Wallow

3:30 pm—Gator Nate and the Gladezmen

6:00 pm—The Boogiemen Rock-n-Soul Revue

9:00 pm—Fireworks

9:25 pm—The Jack-Michael Band

How will you be spending this July 4th weekend? Hope to see you in Punta Gorda!