Englewood Pioneer Days, 2012
If you’ve been near Englewood on Labor Day week-end in the past 53 years then you’ve seen Englewood pay homage to their Pioneers. Over the years many organizations, clubs, businesses and groups have rolled up their sleeves and gone to work to give thousands of spectators many hours of enjoyment and entertainment. Starting in late August and running until the Grand Parade on Labor Day there are activities that range from historic tours, Englewood Idol competition, Shipwreck Dance, Diaper Derby, Cardboard Boat races (a favorite) and finally the parade. One can only imagine how it takes a "village" to pull off all these events and to be successful doing it.
This year the 1st Grande Tours Grand Prix PaddleBoard Races were held in conjunction with the popular cardboard boat races. We were excited about the invitation to bring our staff & equipment to Indian Mound Park on Saturday before Labor Day and take part in the races. We will indeed be back next year!! The event was a big success and a real crowd pleaser.
Grande Tours played a small part in the process of preparing for such a large event. There were meetings after meetings to put it together. As a new-comer, I was blown away at how so many dedicated Englewood folks are able to pull together, work endless hours, plan months in advance, to give thousands of people a true family experience. I say hats off to Erick, Jean and Bart, to name a few, for endless time devoted to organizing the Pioneer Day Events. Every citizen and visitors should be very proud that Englewood can keep this tradition alive. It goes hand and hand with the charm and character of the area. I speak for all of us who attended, “Hats Off” to all the folks who worked so hard for such a great week-end.
What else have we been up to?
The first of August we once again were asked by Betty Staugler, Florida Sea Grant Agent, to help out with the 4th Annual Great Scallop Search conducted in the Charlotte Harbor estuary areas. Grande Tours donated kayaks for the day to 6 of the 24 groups who volunteered to search designated areas for live scallops. Why do they do this you might ask? When coastal waters are able to support bay scallops, it is a good sign that the water and seagrasses are of reasonably good quality. Scallops are an important species to both humans and the environment. This yearly event provides information to determine the percent of survival and hopefully to restore the bay scallop population.
When growing up in this area it was a sure thing to fill your bag with the limit in one short trip. In 2012 fewer scallops were found by the volunteers than in 2011 in Gasparilla Sound area, however more than double were found in the Pine Island Sound area compared to last year.
Thanks to North Port and Sarasota County for inviting us to offer free kayak/PaddleBoard trips out of their new launch areas. Two areas had ribbon cutting ceremonies at new launching facilities for kayaks and PaddleBoards. The launch areas now have custom made floating docks to get you in the water and on your way.
On September 15th, Grande Tours will once again offer free kayaks to anyone wanting to help with the Annual Coastal Cleanup. Last year volunteers loaded the kayaks down with everything but the kitchen sink! If you can’t help that day, do your part and take your garbage with you and dispose of it properly.
On October 6th, Grande Tours will host a fund raiser for Peace River Wildlife Center. 100% of the kayak and PaddleBoard rental fees will go to The Center. Come out and help support this center and show your love for animals.
For the MCC Church of Venice we will be hosting an evening of kayaking, PaddleBoarding, B.B.Q and a drumming circle around the fire ring. The church will receive all the proceeds from the event. Last year we had over 25 folks join us and we expect to top that number this year.
Grande Tours Kayak & PaddleBoard Center is privileged to be able to offer our facility to so many worthy organizations. This is the way we can give back to the community that has helped to support us.