things to do in naples

Naples National Art Festival 2019

Henri Matisse reportedly once said “Creativity takes courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson declared “Every artist was first an amateur.” And, of course, Bob Ross famously stated on his PBS television show “We don’t make mistakes. Just happy little accidents.” Art is just as important as math and science to creating a world worth living in. Creativity should be nurtured and encouraged. You can do both when you attend the Naples National Art Festival 2019.

Dozens of talented artists from all over the country compete in the juried Naples National Art Festival 2019 at Cambier Park. Support their talents by visiting the festival.

What: Naples National Art Festival 2019
Where: Cambier Park (585 Park St)
When: February 23rd, 10 am to 7 pm & February 24th, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: $5 per person donation suggested
Contact: Naples Art Association (239) 262-6517

Naples National Art Festival 2019

Literally, thousands of people visit Cambier Park each year for the Naples National Art Festival. As a juried art show, it attracts some of the finest artists from around the country. They vie for cash prizes in 18 different categories in a wide variety of mediums, such as painting, sculpture, jewelry, wood, and metal. The quality of work displayed here helped last year’s Naples National Art Festival rank in the top 25 of Sunshine Artist Magazine’s Best Classic & Contemporary Art Shows. It also made the top 50 of ArtFairCalendar.com’s America’s Best Art Fairs.

New for this year, the festival includes a live performance by the Blu-Tones on Saturday. In fact, Saturday’s hours have been extended specifically to bring their music to the public. This Naples-based band plays rock-n-roll hits from the ’50s to the ’70s, Elvis to The Eagles. You’re going to love them! Also, local favorites Artichoke and Co and Naples Smoked BBQ provide tasty treats for sale. When thirst hits, quench it with beverages from The Wine Store and Rip Tide Brewery.

Admission & Parking for Naples National Art Festival 2019

Technically, everyone is welcome to attend the 2019 Naples National Art Festival free of charge. However, organizers suggest a $5 per person donation at the gate. Money raised from the festival helps fund their educational art programs. So, every bit helps. Parking is provided free of charge in the designated parking spots in Cambier Park and along 5th Ave S.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019

Did you know that, across the country, approximately 40 million Americans are considered “food insecure”? Of those 40 million people, 12 million are children. Almost 40,000 live in Collier County alone. In a hugely successful country like ours, this is a travesty. One way you can help fight this issue is to join the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019 later on this month.

Help end food insecurity in Collier County one bowl at a time by attending the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019 on Jan 26th at Cambier Park.

What: Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019
Where: Cambier Park (580 8th South St)
When: Saturday, January 26th, 11 am to 2 pm
Admission: $20-$60 per person
Contact: City of Naples Parks & Recreation (239) 213-3058

Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019

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Dozens of local artists, teachers, potters, students, and volunteers design and paint hundreds of ceramic bowls specifically for the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019. Several chefs from some of the best local Naples restaurants prepare various soups for guests to choose from. Prominent community members line up next to dozens of amazing volunteers to serve this soup to the community at the event. All money raised goes directly to local Naples-Marco Island organizations that provide food to those in need.

Tickets for the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019

Until 12 pm on January 23rd, purchase an advance ticket for just $30 each. This grants you early access (10:30 am) to the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019. That’s an extra half an hour to view the Pay-N-Take Auction as well as early shopping at the on-site Boutique. Or, become a Friend of Empty Bowls for $60 per person. That gives you even earlier access to Empty Bowls Naples (10:15 am) as well as the Boutique and the Pay-N-Take Auction. In addition, you receive a special commemorative mini-bowl, you will be specially acknowledged at the event, and you’ll receive exclusive invitations to all workshops in the future. If you wait until the day of the event, tickets cost $20 per person and you will be allowed in at the 11 am general admission start time.

Whether you order your tickets in advance or make a last-minute decision to come, everyone is welcome to join the Empty Bowls Naples Fundraiser 2019. All donations are accepted and very much welcome. Together, we can end food insecurity in the US one bowl at a time!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019

It’s the last day of 2018. What will you be doing to celebrate? Watch the fireworks show at 5th Avenue South? Festivities start at 7 pm, if that’s your plan. How about starting 2019 off with a beautiful light show at the Botanical Garden tomorrow night? It closes on January 3rd. So, you have a few days left to enjoy it. But the first major event for January takes place on the first weekend of the year at the Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019. And, if you love art, you absolutely must come to this show!

Naples New Year's Art Show 2019 starts off with Art in the Park on Jan 5th and continues with artist booths set up around 5th Ave South on the 6th. Free admission for everyone.

What: Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019
Where: Fifth Ave South (701 5th Ave South)
When: January 5th & 6th, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Fifth Ave South (239) 692-8436

Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019

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The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019 starts off with Art in the Park on Saturday, January 5th. Located in the first block of Park St, just south of 5th Ave South, Art in the Park features dozens of talented artists showcasing their skills in all kinds of media, including paintings, photographs, handmade items, and sculptures.

With winter temperatures in the mid-70’s, it’s no wonder that artists flock to Southwest Florida for things like the Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019! In addition to Art in the Park, dozens of artists and artisans set up booths all around the 5th Ave South shopping center. Set amidst beautiful Mediterranean-style buildings, you can’t tell that it’s actually the middle of winter here.

Visit with the individual artists responsible for each work of art on display. If you fall in love with certain pieces, purchase them for your own personal art collection and take them home with you. And if you want your children to develop a love of the arts as well, events like the Naples New Year’s Art Show 2019 provide the perfect introduction.

On a final note, keep this in mind. However you choose to welcome in the new year, please make sure you do it responsibly. Never drink and drive. Arrange for safe travel home before you head out for the evening. That way, everyone starts 2019 off in the best way possible…alive. Happy New Year!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Botanical Garden Night Lights 2018

Can you believe that Christmas Eve takes place just two weeks from today? That’s incredible! Did you watch the Naples Boat Parade of Lights last week? Dozens of beautifully decorated boats floated along the Venetian Bay. Gorgeous! Looking for more fun Christmas-time things to do this season? Check out the Naples Botanical Garden Night Lights 2018. Millions of lights set the garden aglow each night into the new year.

If you thought the Naples Botanical Garden was beautiful during the day, it's absolutely magical during its Night Lights 2018 event now through Jan 3rd, 2019.

What: Naples Botanical Garden Night Lights 2018
Where: 4820 Bayshore Dr
When: Now thru Jan 3rd (closed Dec 24th, 25th & 31st) 6 pm to 9 pm
Admission: $5-$25
Contact: Naples Botanical Garden (239) 643-7275

Naples Botanical Garden Night Lights 2018

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While the garden provides a lovely walk through its natural beauty during the daytime, it outdoes itself in elegance and grace when night falls. From 6 pm to 9 pm every evening, Naples Botanical Garden takes on a distinguished glimmer courtesy of Night Lights 2018. In addition to the millions of twinkling lights throughout the garden, guests enjoy live music performed by talented local artists.

Fogg Cafe serves light refreshments to guests (for a fee) each night as well. And, while you’re there, pick up unique Christmas presents for your loved ones at the Naples Botanical Garden’s gift shop. December 14th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 29th & 30th includes your chance to wish upon the Wishing Tree. But the tree only makes its appearance on those special days.

Naples Botanical Garden Night Lights 2018 Tickets

Tickets for Night Lights 2018 cost $20 per adult and $10 per child ages 4 to 14 through December 14th. After that, they cost $25 per adult and $15 per child ages 4 to 14. Children under the age of 4 enter free of charge (but still need a ticket). Are you a Naples Botanical Garden member? pay just $10 per adult and $5 per child any night during the Naples Botanical Garden’s Night Lights 2018. Members can purchase their tickets online here. Non-members can purchase their tickets ahead of time online here.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Christmas Tree Lighting & Celebration on 3rd St South

Now, I understand that Christmas is still 43 days away. We celebrate Thanksgiving next week. But, the people in charge of the 3rd St South Shopping District just can’t wait. They get things started early with their 2018 Naples Christmas tree lighting next Monday. And they want to invite everyone to celebrate their kick-off to this holiday season.

3rd St South hosts their annual Naples Christmas tree lighting and celebration of lights the entire week of Thanksgiving 2018...with snow!

What: Naples Christmas Tree Lighting 2018
Where: 3rd St South Shopping District (1300 3rd St S)
When: Monday, November 19th, 6 pm to 9 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: 3rd St South (239) 649-6707

Naples Christmas Tree Lighting 2018

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From 6 pm to 9 pm on November 19th, the 3rd St South Shopping District turns into a winter wonderland. The plaza fills up with Christmas cheer when the mayor officially flips the switch at the Naples Christmas tree lighting. Listen in awe as bells ring from every courtyard in the shopping center. See the living nativity in all its glory at the tree lighting. I hear Santa plans on making an appearance as well. Next, if you believed that it never snows in Florida, you’ll be proven wrong. Every day during Thanksgiving week, snow falls on the plaza promptly at 7 pm. Then, at 7 pm every Thursday in December, expect to see snow falling in the plaza again.

3rd St Celebration of Lights 2018

For the rest of Thanksgiving week (except Thanksgiving Day), visitors can bask in the Celebration of Lights at 3rd St South. From 6 pm to 9 pm each evening, carolers inspire guests with traditional Christmas carols in the Fleischman Courtyard. This tends to be a pretty popular event in Naples at this time of year. So, if you plan on adding dinner to your evening’s plans next week, make reservations at your favorite restaurant ahead of time. Otherwise, you might not find a seat anywhere. You don’t want to miss seeing the snow falling at 7 pm, do you?

It really is the most wonderful time of the year in Naples right now. To prove it, 3rd St South hosts their Naples Christmas tree lighting event on November 19th, with their Celebration of Lights taking place until November 24th (except Thanksgiving night). And they’ve promised snow on the plaza every evening at 7 pm sharp. What a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

2018 Naples International Film Festival

Toronto. Cannes. Tribeca. Sundance. Naples, Florida? Yes. For the last 10 years, Naples has welcomed filmmakers from all over the world. The 2018 Naples International Film Festival looks to be the biggest selection in the festival’s history. Any film-lover worth their salt won’t want to miss an opportunity to view these movies before anyone else does.

The 2018 Naples International Film Festival hosts 60 screenings of movies made by filmmakers from all over the world.

What: 2018 Naples International Film Festival
Where: Artis-Naples (5833 Pelican Bay Blvd) & Silverspot Cinema
When: October 25th to 28th
Contact: Artis-Naples (239) 597-1900/(800) 597-1900

2018 Naples International Film Festival

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Over a four-day period, guests of the 2018 Naples International Film Festival have a chance to view 60 different screenings and hear from the filmmakers of each themselves. The films range from quirky narratives to insightful documentaries as well as bundles of interesting short films and promising student films. This year’s feature film for opening night is The Drummer and the Keeper, an Irish drama about living life with a mental illness. The cost to attend the opening night film, including walking the red carpet, is $69 per person. Reserve your opening night tickets online here.

From 10 am to 10 pm over the rest of the 2018 Naples International Film Festival, dozens of other films will be shown at the Silverspot Cinema in Naples. Purchase tickets for each individual screening. Or bundle them up and pay just $55 for four movies. To set up your own viewing schedule, take a look at the 2018 Naples International Film Festival’s quick guide here.

Closing Ceremonies for the 2018 Naples International Film Festival

Beginning at 5:30 pm on Sunday, October 28th, guests at the 2018 Naples International Film Festival closing ceremonies will be served some delicious food while filmmakers receive their awards on-stage. Steve Martin and Martin Short perform their act live after the awards presentation. Unfortunately, tickets to see their show have already been sold out. But, it’s not too late to pick up tickets for the awards ceremony. Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased online here.

By supporting the arts in Naples, you also support art around the world. And if you love movies, you’ll love the 2018 Naples International Film Festival. Get your tickets today!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos 

Naples Area 2018 July 4th Parade and Fireworks

This Wednesday, we celebrate our nation’s 242nd birthday. Most people have the day off. That means backyard barbecues and outdoor games of all kinds abound. For many, the Naples area 2018 July 4th parade and fireworks show certainly fit somewhere in their schedule. Do you know where to go to enjoy these events? Well, let me tell you.

What are you doing this Independence Day? Barbecue? Beach? Going to the Naples area 2018 July 4th parade and fireworks show? All of the above?

Naples Area 2018 July 4th Parade

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The Naples area 2018 July 4th parade takes place at 10 am on Wednesday. It starts at Broad Ave S and 3rd St S. Participants march north on 3rd St. Then, they turn east onto 5th Ave S. When they get to 8th St S, they go south, past City Hall, until they end up at 8th Ave S. Spectators will see marching bands, decorated floats, and cars full of prominent city officials make their way along the parade route. Feel free to bring a lawn chair with you for comfort. But, I strongly suggest you arrive early to find a good spot. They do tend to fill up pretty quickly. Parking does, too. So, you may find yourself walking a little bit before you find an opening. If you bring your dog, please make sure it is on a leash. This is as much for their safety as it is for yours.

Naples Area 2018 July 4th Fireworks Show

Now, you can’t have an Independence Day celebration without fireworks. Luckily, the City hosts their Naples Area 2018 July 4th fireworks show right at the Naples Pier. The show starts promptly at 9 pm. But, like the parade, you’re going to want to come early to stake your spot. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. Pets, unfortunately, are not. Loud noises not only scare animals, but they may also damage their hearing. Please keep them at home. Public parking will be available. Heed all “no parking” signs as they will be strictly enforced. That means that, if you decide to park in a “no parking” zone, you will be fined and towed. It’s not worth the hassle.

What are you doing this Wednesday? Spending it at the beach? Enjoying a nice barbecue with friends and family? Going to the Naples area 2018 July 4th parade and fireworks show? Please share your annual Independence Day traditions in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018

Do you consider yourself a “foodie”? Ever wanted to dine at one of our area’s upscale restaurants? Perhaps the pricier places make your wallet quake. During Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018, guests sample from a pre-fixed menu at various Collier and Lee County restaurants for a reduced price. And a portion of the price paid for each meal gets donated to charity.

Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018 takes place May 31st to June 13th at more than 70 local area restaurants. Who's going?

What: Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018
When: May 31st to June 13th
Where: Participating Marco Island and Naples restaurants
Cost: Varies per restaurant ($16+ for lunch, $26+ for dinner)
Contact: Naples, Marco Island & Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau (239) 252-6292 or via email

Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018

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For two weeks of the year, the Naples, Marco Island and Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau partners up with local area restaurants to bring Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week to life. Thanks to sponsors like Mercedes-Benz of Bonita Springs, the Greg Norman Collection at Miromar Outlets, and the Kagan Law Firm, you receive the opportunity to dine at more than 70 different restaurants throughout Lee and Collier Counties. Some restaurants offer vegetarian selections as well. Choose from a two-course lunch or three-course dinner. Chefs create their own special pre-fixe menu for this event.

How You Can Participate in Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018

While reservations aren’t always necessary, organizers advise that you contact the restaurant you wish to visit to make one ahead of time. As you can imagine, our restaurants fill up pretty quickly during this time. Simply go to the SWFL Restaurant Week website here, choose the city you want to visit, then click the menu link next to the name of the restaurant you’re interested in. You can even preview the menu at the website. It’s that simple. One dollar from every meal purchased goes to the Sizzle SWFL FGCU Food & Beverage Scholarship.

Sizzle SWFL FGCU Food & Beverage Scholarship

In a tourism-driven economy like Southwest Florida, utilizing educated people in the hospitality business is crucial. The Sizzle SWFL FGCU Food & Beverage Scholarship awards money to Southwest Florida high school students interested in pursuing a degree in hospitality services at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Sizzle SWFL promises a minimum of $10,000 to be donated to the scholarship. If you want, you may also donate $1 more per meal to increase the money paid into the scholarship. Just let your wait staff know that you’d like to do that when you order.

Make plans to eat out at participating restaurants during Marco Island-Naples Sizzle SWFL Restaurant Week 2018. Sample amazing food from some of the area’s most talented chefs. Visit several different establishments to experience the most you can out of this two-week event. Is your favorite restaurant on the list? Share your faves in the comments below. Bon appetit!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Taste of Collier 2018 Delights Your Naples Taste Buds

Food, glorious food. There’s nothing better than wonderful food prepared by talented chefs. Foodies rejoice! Tickle your taste buds at the Taste of Collier 2018 located at Bayfront Naples this Sunday, May 6th.

The Taste of Collier 2018 hits Bayfront Naples on May 6th. Sample various dishes prepared by talented local chefs and watch live demos.

What: Taste of Collier 2018
Where: Bayfront Naples (465 Bayfront Pl)
When: Sunday, May 6th, 11 am to 5 pm
Admission: $5 per person (kids under 10 FREE), $10 for sheet of 10 Food & Beverage tickets
Contact: McQuaid Marketing & Promotions, Event Co-Ordinator (239) 331-7371

Taste of Collier 2018

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For over 30 years now, musicians and chefs gathered together to create the ultimate feast for the senses. The Taste of Collier 2018 promises to be the biggest gathering yet. Eighteen local restaurants agreed to participate in this year’s event. They include Texas Tony’s Rib & Brewhouse, Pincher’s Crab Shack, Bonefish Grill, and EJ’s Bayfront Cafe among others. Enjoy live musical performances by Guy Smith and the Sarah Hadeka Band throughout the day. Don’t forget to visit the Chef’s Show Tent. A different local chef prepares a dish using only local ingredients each hour.

Ticket Info for the Taste of Collier 2018

General admission runs just $5 per person. Kids under the age of 10 get in absolutely FREE of charge. No money will be accepted on the event grounds. Instead, you must purchase food and beverage tickets. These tickets cost $1 each and can be purchased in sheets of 10 for $10. If you wish to sample a particular food or beverage item you see, simply provide the chef with the appropriate amount of tickets. Sampling costs vary per item sampled, costing anywhere from one to seven tickets each. You can purchase tickets online or at the event itself. But, remember, no other currency will be allowed once inside the gates.

Food for a Cause

In addition to serving amazing food, the Taste of Collier 2018 raises funds for local charities. Over its 34 year history, this event raised more than $1 million. Organizations such as the Red Cross, St Matthews House, READ of Southwest Florida, the Heil Luthringer Foundation, JROTC, and others benefitted from past Taste of Collier events. This year’s charity of choice is Meals of Hope, who pack meals for the Feeding America Food Bank Network. These meals are then passed out to low-income families and individuals in need.

Have you attended a Taste of Collier event in the past? What did you enjoy most about it? Do you have any tips for those attending the Taste of Collier for the very first time? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Stay in May Festival 2018

If you love art, music, food, healthy living or any combination thereof, you’re going to want to make plans to be at the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018. Over the course of the 20-day event, thousands of visitors choose from dozens of events all over the Naples area. Only the best of the best showcase their skills in this ultimate celebration of our Southwest Florida lifestyle.

Whether you enjoy fine art, live music, delicious food, or want to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018 has something for you!

What: Naples Stay in May Festival 2018
When: April 23rd to May 12th
Where: Multiple Venues Around Naples, FL
Contact: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau (239) 252-6292

Naples Stay in May Festival 2018

Art

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Visual artists from the Naples Art District set up installations around the Norris Gardens. The Norris Art District hosts several workshops at the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018 to help you find your inner artist. Cuba has had a tremendous influence in Southern Florida. “Havana Modern” author Michael Connors discusses what he found in his travels to this beautiful country at the Jett Thompson home. Who needs a pub crawl when you can take a gallery hop instead? Visit 32 different galleries featuring various artists at the Alive Alive event. You can’t think of the art deco movement without hearing the sounds of big band orchestras headed up by Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie or Glenn Miller, right? Big Band and Art Deco meet at Rose Auditorium. Three short film festivals are scheduled throughout the entire Stay in May event: April 29th, May 2nd, and May 6th. However, the May 2nd festival is already sold out. So, you’d better get your tickets now for the other two or you might miss out!

Music

Whether you enjoy rock, pop, classical/chamber music or jazz, the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018 features something you’ll enjoy. The Fifth Ave Chamber Orchestra, the Bach Boys, and Seraphic Fire perform classical music. The Bumper Jacksons offer country swing and street blues with a jazz twist. The Naples Zoo plays host to “One Night in Memphis” with their odes to the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and, of course, the king himself, Elvis Presley. And don’t miss the smooth jazz stylings of the William Noll Jazz Ensemble, Wycliffe Gordon or the Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto Quintet.

Food

Now, you can’t have a Naples Stay in May Festival 2018 without food. Participants in four different high school culinary arts programs put their skills to the test for you at Venue Naples. Celebrity Chef Brian Roland (Crave Culinaire) hosts this can’t be missed event at Venue Naples.

Healthy Living

Finally, a healthy mind creates a healthy body. During the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018, take your first steps into meditation at the Awareness of Breath Workshop. Learn valuable tips about relieving the stress you might feel throughout your day at the Conquering Stress workshop. Finally, they say music soothes the savage beast. Find out how to utilize sound to treat what ails you at the Music as Mind Medicine class.

For a complete list of events as well as prices and tickets for each, please visit the Stay in May Festival website here. Some events require a ticket even if they are free. Take a moment to peruse the website and plan your time during the Naples Stay in May Festival 2018.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos