With three events to sing at, listen to or drool over, the Isles of Capri has been hopping with activities for young and old, families and friends in April and on May 1. Here are the events, can you match them with the descriptions above?
The Annual Isles of Capri Picnic, the Cool Cruisers Car Show and Collier County Commissioner Rick LoCastro’s Town Hall Meeting. If you said “sing at” for the Picnic, “drool over” for the Cool Cruisers Car Show and “listen to” for Rick LoCastro, you scored 100%.
The Cool Cruisers Car Show
First was the Cool Cruisers Car Show, held on April 24 in the parking lot behind the Capri Community Church. Gawkers, young and old, flocked to the cars, talked to the owners, took photos, examined the interior of the cars and reminisced down memory lane, which brought out some winks and grins. The cars are authentically restored and immaculate, both inside and out, and some are staged with items from their eras. There was an old “woody” that had decals all over the back windows, just as what the fad was at the time, which was, FYI, before my time.
One of our Capriers was thrilled to find the exact duplicate car that her boyfriend drove her to high school every day. She felt like a star because she was in his cool car and one of the few couples that even had a car, much less a very sharp convertible.
I could have stayed much longer, but I would probably have fallen in love with a memory lane car, as she did. However, I took lots of photos of my favorites to share with you. If you haven’t been to a Cool Cruisers of Southwest Florida event, check out their website. There are lots of generic destinations, but if you want more details, click on Larry Day’s List at the bottom of the Cool Cruiser Calendar of Events for May through June 2021. Great times and superb nostalgia.
Town Hall Meeting with Collier Commissioner Rick LoCastro
On April 28, Commissioner LoCastro addressed a large crowd, safely distanced with many in masks, in the community room of the Capri Community Church. The meeting, which was to be from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, started with about 45 minutes of the Commissioner telling the audience about his background starting with his military career in detail.
For example, he was the Base Commander of Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Here’s the detail we probably don’t need to know; the base was 725 square miles and the largest Department of Defense installation, with 35,000 personnel, 3,000 houses and 1,000 dormitories, supervised 1,500 medical staff and 300,000 annual patient visits, and much more. 45 minutes to listen to his resume after he’s already been on the job for months. Plus, there was an information sheet about him in the Collier County Recycling Drop-Off Center bag with the same information single-spaced with minute margins that were shared with the audience members.
The Commissioner promised he would honor the Vietnam Vets with a pin and certificate signed by the President, and he did. It was a nostalgic moment for them and the audience. He took it a step further and asked if anyone in the room had lost a loved one in any war and he honored each of them with a pin and certificate. Very thoughtful.
The reason there was such a healthy turn-out was because of the concerns about change on the Isles of Capri. There is a plan in place to remodel one of the existing buildings on the Isles of Capri, add a restaurant, bar, several food trucks, over 100 boat slips, a children’s entertainment area and perhaps movies shown on the side wall of the building at night.
This project is the brainchild of John Rogers, who is a recognized businessman and long-time resident on Isles of Capri. He owned and operated the renowned Blue Heron with his wife, Alex Alexander, and now owns and leases The Island Gypsy and Osteria Capri, formerly the Blue Heron, which is also very successful.
Isles of Capri is a closely-knit neighborhood between Naples and Marco Island, with neighbors that care about each other, love their peace and quiet, appreciate the environment and love to have fun. Just ask all the Bocce players! Residents are informed about their community by connecting with the Coconutele email newsletter on an almost daily basis, thanks to Annie Hall, the beloved editor.
With mostly residential homes, and several condominium units in the periphery areas of the Isles, in other words, not in-your-face ostentatious or scenery blockers. The worries of the residents are well-founded. They’re worried about additional traffic through their quiet streets presently traveled by walkers, joggers, bike-riders, pets, and many children playing and walking to and from bus stops, playground, and friends’ homes.
Concerns about noise, parking, congestion, more boaters through their quiet waters, late-night music, and noise, but most of all safety. To Rogers’ credit, he held his own Town Hall meeting on a weekend at the area to be developed. He had the plans and spoke candidly to the large crowd that gathered and expressed a willingness to listen and meet the needs of the residents.
Most of the attendees at the LoCastro Town Meeting were there to hear the plans or get answers about the proposed changes to their neighborhood and how it would affect them and their property values. Unfortunately, by the time this topic was addressed as the last item on the agenda, most residents had departed, their patience depleted. There were few seats occupied when LoCastro, sadly, dodged the questions and left the audience unfulfilled.
The Commissioner stated that the permitting department makes many of the decisions about plans and usage. John Rogers and his attorney were there and could have answered many of their questions, but for the late hour and scant audience. LoCastro’s tag line is, “Working to Exceed Expectations Every Day” and he has conducted many Town Hall meetings already. However, unless he puts the community concerns ahead of his lengthy background information, frustrated citizens won’t attend.
Annual Isles of Capri May Day Spring Picnic
On Saturday, May 1, the annual May Day Spring Picnic was held in the big green space in the middle of the Isles to the delight of music lovers, socializers and corn-hole aficionados who joined the golf carts and lawn chairs with coolers. The aroma of grilled hot dogs filled the air, and the weather was perfect. Even the four-footed, furry dogs enjoyed the day rubbing noses with other friends.
The set-up was complete and ready to go, thanks to the Officers and Board members. There was a sensational starting act singer named Aura who belted out lots of familiar songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s and many in the crowd knew all the words. She also sang songs beautifully from more recent singers. She has been featured at the Island Gypsy and is also available for other types of gatherings and performances, including weddings.
ICONIC The Band, a four-piece group, sang songs that most of us in the audience could sing along with or dance to. They sang iconic hits from top artists and wowed the Capri audience. The lead singer, Eric Barton, has a raspy voice that knocks your flip-flops off, he’s awesome. The band, Eric, Brian Nordby, Dave Hogan, and Oscar Gomez perform at clubs, bars, shows, and events such as the Annual Capri Cook Out.
Thanks to the Capri Community Church chefs for cooking their mouth-watering delicious hot dogs and providing chips and beverages. Have you noticed they’re always in good humor?
The Capri Community Inc had a booth selling new, unique Capri flags for homes, golf carts, caps, shirts, and decals designed by Rich Downs and family. The demand was overwhelming with many items sold out, so orders were taken to be fulfilled later. But it’s not too late! You can still order any of these items so stay tuned to the Coconutele and the virtual on-line newsletter for more information on where and when. Special thanks to the Isles of Capri Community Inc. Board and Officers – Joyce, RJ, Kate, Shauna, Sam, and Paul – for all their diligence, planning, time, and effort to make these events special for all attendees.