Three-day Celebrate Cape event has future
It looks as through the Celebrate Cape Coral Carnival and Night Parade will remain a three-day event as long as organizers can secure the space.
The annual event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, ran Friday through Sunday in the downtown Cape. TIB Bank was the title sponsor.
The celebration featured a carnival and live music. The heart of the event, Saturday evening’s parade, highlighted some of the city’s founding families.
“Everybody’s expectations are to continue down the path of what we’ve started here with the three-day event,” Bob Knickman, special events director for the chamber, said.
Organizers received positive feedback from residents. Attendees thought that the addition of the carnival and its location were great, he said, and everyone seemed happy. The land’s availability would be the only constraint.
“If that lot’s available, we’re going to continue on,” he said. “There’s nothing that’s turned us away from the three-day event.”
Knickman added that the only complaint was for warmer weather.
“If we had our traditional March weather, there’s not telling what the story would have been,” he said.
According to Knickman, the number of visitors varied depending on the day. No attendance numbers were available Tuesday.
“We had a little crowd on Friday,” he said, adding that the weather was cold. “Of course, it was cold all weekend. Saturday during the day it was a steady crowd of families and children, so that was new to us.”
Knickman said that about as many people who always come out came out Saturday night for the parade, and Sunday’s attendance was smaller than what organizers saw on Saturday. He noted that Sunday had fewer hours.
“We were very happy with the results that we got,” Knickman said. “We were right in what we expected what we would do. We met our expectations.”
Chamber member John Bolam, who played a large part in helping to organize the event, agreed.
“I think, overall, the community accepted it and we were a success,” he said.
Knickman thanked the members of the chamber for giving their time and volunteering to help put the event together. He added that “they stepped up in ways that they never had to step up before.” Knickman also thanked the residents for showing up.
“Cape Coral is a fantastic place and the citizens are absolutely wonderful when you do a special event,” he said. “They come out and they support it tremendously.”
According to Knickman, this was the first time that the chamber has hosted a three-day celebration. The organization has not planned a carnival since the 1980s, he said.
“With this step up to a three-day event, we learned a lot,” Knickman said.
The carnival workers gave organizers ideas on things that they could do to draw more people to the rides and games, and changes to the layout of the event are possible, according to Knickman. There was also an issue with an understaffing of volunteers.
“We need to be on top of that a little bit better next year,” he said.
Another change for next year is the goal of building an awareness about the event in the community, especially for families. Knickman said a lot of people were trying to get an idea of what it was about because of the expansion to three days, and organizers did not expect such a turnout from families.
“Now that we know the families are coming out, we can put a little more emphasis on families during the daytime on Saturday and Sunday,” he said.