Jubilee Celebration to open city’s 50th anniversary calendar
The city of Cape Coral is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2020 beginning with two events to “kick-off” a year that’s poised to commemorate the last 50 years of the city and look ahead to what the future brings.
The two-event opener, put on by the Cape Coral Historical Society and Museum, take place Jan. 24 and 25, starting with the Jubilee Celebration, followed by Jamin’ in Cultural Park, a day-long music festival on museum grounds.
“It’s what we’re considering the kick-off weekend,” said Janel Trull, the executive director of the society and museum. “With the two events back-to-back, it was an opportunity for us to have an entire weekend of celebrations. We’re very excited.
“We’re calling the Jubilee Celebration an evening of appreciation, so we will have people there that have been a part of the city from the beginning.”
The business attire event will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Jan. 24 at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Tickets are $50 and include valet parking, a buffet and hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast, iced tea and water and one drink ticket for the bar. The bar will be serving beer, wine and a ’70s style cocktail.
“People can learn a little bit about our history, but also talk a little bit about where we’re headed as a city as well,” Trull said. “It can also be an educational opportunity for those who want to learn more about the city of Cape Coral.”
Many special speakers and life-long Cape residents will be in attendance to recount their memories of a city that is now booming with growth.
Attendees also will be treated to a historical display, an ice sculpture, a short film and a one-of-a-kind, 30-minute display from Liquid Fireworks by Waltzing Waters.
“For people who have not seen Waltzing Waters, it’s an opportunity to see a special showing right here in Cape Coral at the Yacht Club,” Trull said.
For Gloria Tate, a long-time resident of the city and a community leader for decades, getting Waltzing Waters back in front of a Cape Coral audience is near and dear to her heart.
“Bringing the Waltzing Waters back to Cape Coral is my ultimate wish,” Tate said. “Many have never seen it, and I think they will be pleasantly surprised when they see the 30-minute show at the Jubilee Kickoff.”
Liquid Fireworks by Waltzing Waters, a mesmerizing synchronized-to-music water display featuring lighting and, quite frankly, a little bit of magic, has been featured at Disney, Universal, Sea World, Comerica Park in Detroit and in countless venues across the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
The magical fountains even caught the eye of the Rosen brothers back when Cape Coral was established, but the company’s story runs much deeper than that.
The idea originated in Germany in the late 1920s when Otto Przystawik, the founder of Waltzing Waters, designed a primitive version of what you see now for an innovative nightclub hot spot.
The Rosen brothers saw a Przystawik dancing fountain at a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s and had to have it, but not after some tough negotiations. Eventually, Otto built a show for the Rosen Brothers in Cape Coral Gardens.
The Rosen brothers actually created the name “Waltzing Waters” for the Cape Coral Gardens location.
Michael Przystawik is currently president of Liquid Fireworks by Waltzing Waters. He is Otto’s grandson and third generation member of the business, as his father, Gunter, was also a past president.
The short film of the city, being put together by Wendy Schroder and Angelo Cario, is a collection of images and film depicting what it was like to live in the city throughout the decades.
“It’s going to be some highlights of the last 50 years of the city,” Trull said. “It’s a lot of images and films that people may have never seen before.”
Trull said there will be community leaders and lifers who will deliver “I remember when” talks and connect those who have been along for all 50 years of the ride and those who may be newer to the area.
It will even bring those together who may not have ever met, otherwise.
“One of my goals has always been to meet Leonard Rosen’s daughter, Linda Sterling,” Tate said. “I am looking forward to celebrating our jubilee with her and Julia Swift, his granddaughter.”
Trull said local businesses have stepped up and have gone “above and beyond” when it comes to participating in the events.
“That’s part of the fun of having the jubilee — is being able to incorporate as many Cape Coral businesses and local businesses as possible,” Trull said. “Because we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the city, we wanted to keep everything local. It’s always great to have local participants.”
These events also provide an opportunity for the Historical Society and museum to build a stronger bond with the city.
“They’ve provided us with lots of information, which has helped enhance our own collection and our own intellectual knowledge of the city itself,” Trull said. “As the Historical Society, it’s nice to have that connection with the city so we can continue preserving. There are events that happen on a regular basis, that, eventually, 50 years from now, could be very important things. It’s nice to be at the table to be able to collaborate and work together with the city.”
Trull said funds raised from the events will go towards the museum and its continued efforts to uphold and sustain Cape Coral’s history.
“With our mission to preserve the history of the city, this helps fund various projects to do so, as well as future programming and events for the city,” Trull said.
If anything, the Jubilee Celebration is a way to honor those who brought the Cape to where it is today, and those who continue to fuel the city’s growth.
“My hope is to see the city of Cape Coral continue to be a vibrant city, affordable to all with opportunities to live, work and play for all,” Tate said. “I hope we continue to maintain a great safety record and have full confidence in our city leaders, police department and fire department to help all of us enjoy living in our ‘waterfront wonderland’ that many of us call paradise.”
Trull said she hopes these events ignite a year full of celebratory events to commemorate five decades of incorporation.
“We hope this is sort of a jumping off point for the year,” Trull said. “We hope to do many more events throughout the year and continue to celebrate different aspects of the city.”
“It’s always nice to hear the anecdotes from people who lived through it — what it was really like then,” Trull said. “And how things have changed.”
Tickets can be purchased at the historical museum at 544 Cultural Park Blvd., by phone at 239-772-7037, or online at www.capecoralhistoricalmuseum.org/JubileeCelebrationTickets.
The Cape Coral Yacht Club is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.
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(Editor’s note: We invite you to check out all of the Jubilee Kickoff stories grouped together in a special 50th anniversary section under News. Stories on upcoming events, and history highlights, will be posted throughout the year.)