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Celebrate Cape Coral Block Party ‘on hold’

By Staff | Feb 9, 2011

The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce will not be hosting one of its signature community events this year, as the Celebrate Cape Coral Block Party traditionally held the first Saturday in March has been put on hold.
Chamber President Mike Quaintance said the organization is attempting to “shift focus” toward educational and leadership opportunities for its members in 2011.
Quaintance announced recently the Chamber would be hosting the first of its focus groups at the end of February.
The Chamber also is planning to host the Disney Institute’s “Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence” in March.
Reduced revenue is partially responsible for the Block Party cancellation, but bringing Disney officials to the Cape is also proving a costly, but hopefully, rewarding effort.
“It’s a significant investment to bring Disney down here for this, but it’s expensive to bring them down here,” Quaintance said. “It’s taking some of the resources for Celebrate Cape Coral.”
Quaintance said the Chamber’s other two tentpole events — Holiday Festival of Lights in December and Red, White & Boom! in July — still have sponsorships and will be held as planned.
The Celebrate Cape Coral Block Party could return next year, too, if the money is available, but for now Quaintance said the focus will shift entirely to helping chamber members and the local business community.
“Like any other organization … you have to constantly reinvent yourself,” he added.
The Block Party annually drew thousands of people into Cape Coral’s downtown.
Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director John Jacobsen said events like the block party are the “lifeblood” of the CRA, and it would be missed.
“They’re good for the city and good for businesses,” Jacobsen said. “It’s a chance for the community to come out and bond. We consider it very unfortunate they couldn’t get the funding to put the event on.”
The CRA has helped the Chamber of Commerce through a series of grants for its special events, and Jacobsen said the Block Party and Parade might be something the CRA should consider taking on fulltime.
“It’s something we’re going to have to consider, but its still the Chamber’s event if it’s put on hold this year,” Jacobsen said, adding, “Not being a club or an organization like the Chamber or Rotary or Kiwanis, we don’t have a large contingent of volunteers, which is what special events need to have to work.”