2017-03-16 / Arts & Entertainment News

Pedal and Play puts the ‘fun’ in fundraiser

nanette CRIST

The season may be winding down, but there are still plenty of events to keep you busy. Don’t let season fatigue stop you from enjoying these fun outings.

Pedal and Play in Paradise

Pedal and Play in Paradise will get rolling for the eighth year on March 24. Last year’s experiment of spreading the festivities over two days worked so well that it’s become the new template. And why not? It makes it easier for riders to participate in more event offerings.

The ever-popular City Manager’s Ride will kick off the weekend. With Howard Kunik leading the way, riders will get the inside scoop on what’s happening in our community.

Next up is a party at Sheraton Four Points’ T.T.’s Tiki Bar. Riders can relax after Mr. Kunik’s tour and enjoy complimentary appetizers and a beautiful sunset over Charlotte Harbor. Those in need of a stretch can enjoy some yoga, compliments of the Yoga Sanctuary. Event organizers Terri and Eddie Hoagland promise a few surprises as well.

National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale will present “Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions” on March 29. 
COURTESY IMAGE National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale will present “Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions” on March 29. COURTESY IMAGE The main event will begin bright and early Saturday morning. As in the past, cyclists select the ride that best suits them. Straight up routes of 15, 30 and 62 miles are offered (with rest stops along the way). And then there’s the mystery ride, a 10-mile jaunt that will take cyclists on a search for the story behind the Fountain of Youth.

Food galore will be available to ensure riders keep up their strength. Breakfast and lunch are included with your registration. Then there’s the free beer and ice cream. Needless to say, you will not end the day with a calorie deficit.

In classic Charlotte County style, Pedal and Play isn’t just about having fun. Proceeds from the volunteer-run event go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and TEAM Punta Gorda’s Bicycle Initiatives.


It’s hard to resist a concert with the title “Bad Boys.” Join the North Port Concert Band on March 23 for a show featuring music synonymous with “gangsters, wise guys, pickpockets, playboys and impersonators.”

Given the theme, you won’t be surprised to learn that numbers from “Guys and Dolls” and “The Godfather” will be featured. But conductor Dennis Silkebakken didn’t just go for the obvious choices when putting together the repertoire.

Bernard Hermann’s classic theme from “Psycho” will be performed. So will John Williams’ music for the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” And the concert band will give a nod to classical music’s own bad boy, Amadeus Mozart, with its rendition of his Turkish March “Rondo Alla Turka.”

Pedal and Play will take to the road on March 24-25. From left: Susan Miller, Mike Gardner, Diane Williams and Maryann Gardner. 
COURTESY IMAGE Pedal and Play will take to the road on March 24-25. From left: Susan Miller, Mike Gardner, Diane Williams and Maryann Gardner. COURTESY IMAGE Composer Nelson Riddle will be represented in two quite different ways. Mr. Riddle wrote much of the music for the “Batman” television series, including the show’s theme song and “Batman Riddles the Riddler.” He is also known for his musical arrangements for Las Vegas’ quintessential bad boy, Frank Sinatra.

And speaking of Ol’ Blue Eyes, baritone Stephen Ditchfield will make a return appearance with the concert band with a medley of Sinatra favorites.

The concert band’s final show of the season will be “My Kind of Towns” on April 23.

“Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions”

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale will present “Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions: My Search for Truth” on March 29 at the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center.

Ms. Vitale’s credo is to “live the story” — and she’s done just that while covering stories that have taken her to more than 90 countries. She has experienced conflict firsthand in war-torn regions such as Kosovo and Guinea-Bissau. She has lived side-by-side with refugees in a camp in Gujarat, India. And she has waded into the crowds in Prague to chronicle the emotions — and violence — of protesters and police when the World Bank was in session there.

But the beauty of the countries Ms. Vitale has visited — and their wildlife — has drawn her in as well. She’s come to believe that “you can’t talk about humanity without talking about nature.”

In Ms. Vitale’s recent work, she’s brought her focus to issues like reintroducing rhinos into the wild. But she hasn’t abandoned her commitment to living the story. To understand the lives of giant pandas, Ms. Vitale donned a panda costume that allowed her to get up close and personal with an embarrassment of the animals. (Yes, “embarrassment” is the word for a group of pandas.)

Ms. Vitale’s talk is part of the Friends of Boca Grande’s Great Adventures and Explorations Series. The goal of the series is “to raise awareness of critical environmental, political and social issues through the lens of some of the world’s most intrepid adventurers and explorers.”

Go forth and enjoy all our community has to offer! ¦

>> What: Pedal and Play in Paradise
>> When: March 24-25 (times vary)
>> Where: Starts at Laishley Park Pavilions,
100 Nesbit St., Punta Gorda
>> Cost: $45 in advance/$50 day of/$25
Friday only
>> Info: pedalandplayinparadise.com

>> What: North Port Concert Band presents
“Bad Boys”
>> When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 23
>> Where: North Port Performing Arts Center,
6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port
>> Cost: $12/adult; $5/child
>> Info: northportconcertband.org

>> What: Photographer Ami Vitale presents
“Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions”
>> When: 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 29
>> Where: Community Center Auditorium, 131
First St. West, Boca Grande
>> Cost: $35/general admission; $60/reserved seating
>> Info: friendsofbocagrande.org or 964-0827

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