July 2023 Newsletter

Thank you for joining me for this month's newsletter. The 4th of July represents a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by our ancestors, who laid the foundations for the liberties we enjoy today. Wishing you and your families a wonderful celebration.

Your feedback is valuable to me, so please don't hesitate to share your thoughts by replying.

Additionally, feel free to visit my website waltbethel.com where you can browse my listings, search for properties, and explore my archived newsletters and stories on the history of Florida.

Centuries Fade, Tradition Endures: Punta Gorda's Fourth of July Celebration Still Shines!
Step back in time to over a century ago, when the vibrant town of Punta Gorda was abuzz with anticipation for the grand Fourth of July festivities. It was the year 1922, and the echoes of a remarkable celebration the year before still reverberated through the hearts of the locals. In 1921, a staggering 6,000 individuals had gathered to commemorate Independence Day, marking a momentous occasion—the opening of the majestic Charlotte Harbor Bridge.

Now, as the new year rolled in, the town prepared to welcome an even larger crowd of 10,000 enthusiastic attendees. The air crackled with excitement as advertisements adorned the newspapers, spreading their message far and wide. From the confines of Charlotte County to the far reaches of the United States, all were cordially invited to partake in the festivities. It was an occasion that transcended boundaries and united people under the banner of celebration.

Picture this: a picturesque park sprawled in front of the elegant Hotel Punta Gorda, where a sumptuous dinner awaited the hungry revelers. But the indulgences did not stop there. A wide array of exhilarating sporting events had been meticulously planned to enthrall the crowd. There would be water polo matches, swimming races that would test the limits of human endurance, tub races filled with laughter and friendly competition, and the spectacle of fancy diving that would leave spectators in awe.

And that was not all—for the daring souls, there would be aquaplaning, a thrilling escapade where the brave would glide across the water's surface with the wind as their ally. As if that weren't enough, the organizers had even arranged for an audacious aeroplane stunt, tantalizingly dangling the possibility of a parachute jump from high above the azure sky.

Throughout the day, the stirring tunes of the esteemed Charlotte Military Band would resonate in various corners of the town, filling the air with melodies that stirred the soul. And when dusk cast its enchanting spell, a dancer would grace the lobby of the grand Hotel, bringing the curtain down on a day steeped in merriment and joy.

Alas, not everything went according to plan. The devastating hurricane that struck in October 1921 had left its mark, damaging the beloved City dock that played a pivotal role in the festivities. The planning committee had fervently hoped that the diligent contractors would restore the dock to its former glory in time for the Fourth of July. But fate had other plans, and the dock remained unfinished, casting a temporary shadow over the watersports that had enthralled the masses in years past.

Nonetheless, the undeterred spirit of the Punta Gorda community prevailed. The crowds may not have flocked in the same numbers as before, but those who persevered were rewarded with a feast fit for the occasion. Patience was the key, as all were eventually satiated with a delectable array of nourishment.

As the day unfolded, the streets of Punta Gorda transformed into a sea of automobiles, with an estimated 650 cars filling the bustling central business district. Private vehicles carried an additional 3,000 individuals, eager to be part of this historic event. Yet, it was the resolute sound of train whistles that heralded the arrival of a considerable portion of the crowd, as they journeyed from near and far. From the neighboring counties of DeSoto, Hardies, Highland, and Polk, to the familiar faces of Manatee and Sarasota, the Fourth of July celebration at Punta Gorda attracted a diverse tapestry of attendees.

Today, as the sun sets on the memories of yesteryear, the tradition lives on. Fisherman's Village stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of Punta Gorda, welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe. And, as if whispering secrets of the past, the waters of Charlotte Harbor beckon with open arms, inviting swimmers to traverse its expanse just as they did over a century ago. The echoes of that historic Fourth of July celebration reverberate through time, reminding us that in Punta Gorda, the flame of tradition continues to burn bright..

Citrus Spotlight
The Florida Citrus Label Tour
The beauty of Florida has captured eyes for centuries, and citrus has long been its most cherished product. One of the earliest examples of showcasing the citrus industry’s impact on the sunshine state was through the use of citrus crate labels – and that is how the Citrus Label Tour was born.

In the late 1800s, citrus was transported to the northern states via rail. Looking for a way to attract buyers, growers coordinated with the Florida Citrus Exchange to create an artistic advertising campaign utilizing a crate label. These bright and bold pieces of art had unique and personal features, typically depicting family members, pets, and a vision of the Florida lifestyle. The labels were primarily printed Tampa, and once completed they were attached to individual wooden crates in the growers’ packinghouses.

By showcasing fresh Florida citrus, and often times the tropical allure of the state, the public was able to build connections with growers while savoring the many positive aspects of Florida. It’s been said that citrus crate labels were Florida’s first billboards.

30th Annual Fourth of July Celebration

Celebrate 30 years with us!
Stop in and enjoy our open-air seating 4th of July weekend (Friday-Tuesday)!

Live entertainment, food and drink specials & festive fun for all ages plus goody treat bags for the kids!

🎆 FIREWORKS will be seen from Harpoon Harry’s on Tuesday, the 4th of July! Fishermen’s Village will present Fireworks at 9pm.

🌊 Don’t miss the annual FREEDOM SWIM!

🎶🎤Live Music

Although you may be familiar with some popular facts of the historical event also known as Independence Day, you may find it interesting to learn of some lesser known or "fun facts."

*The Continental Congress approved a Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1976, and many historians believe that date should be the official day of the United States of America Independence.

*Thomas Jefferson drafted the document on a "laptop," a portable writing table used on one's lap.

*The average age of signees was 45. The youngest was Edward Rutledge aged 26 and the oldest was Benjamin Franklin at age 70. Thomas Jefferson was 33.

*Two signers became presidents: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

*Three presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe died on July 4th. Adams and Jefferson died on the same day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the USA’s independence.
Featured Listings
HUGE Price Improvement!
453 Acre Farm
13505 Sugarbowl Rd. Myakka City, FL 34251
453 acre farm currently in Watercress production. This extremely well kept property could also be utilized for limitless produce production in addition to the watercress. This property features a combined 25,000 sqft+ of packing facilities, walk-in cooler, quality control area, warehouse, barns, and office space. There are 4 pump house stations with a central 12” well. This farm is located less than 2 miles to Hwy 70 in Manatee County with easy access to I-75. Call today to hear more about this lucrative opportunity.
Total Acres: 453
MLS: C7466071
NEW Price: $2,650,000
223+ Acres
9 J Whitaker Rd. Venus, FL 33960
223.25 Acres in Venus, Florida. This property could continue as a producing grove or be converted to farm land. A mobile home, two barns and one permitted 12” well are already in place. An additional 900+ contiguous grove acres are also available.
Total Acres: 223.25
MLS: C7457417
List Price: $1,900,000
52 Acres
SW Hull Ave. Arcadia, FL 34269
52+ acres with close proximity to Hwy 17 in Ft. Ogden, zoned A-5. This property features one permitted 8” well with a quarter mile of road frontage plus an abundance of wooded area. A perfect spot to build your new estate home and still have plenty of land to graze your horses or cattle. The future land use zoning of Neighborhood Mixed Use also provides potential for residential development. Up to 3.5-5 units per acre. LOTS OF OPTIONS!! Call today for a showing!

MLS: C7468513
Total Acres: 52
List Price: $777,000
20+ Acres with 3/2 Home
1232 NW Myrtle Ave. Arcadia, FL 34266
Country living at its finest! On 20+ acres come experience the peace and tranquility this beautifully renovated, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home has to offer. Set amongst majestic oaks at then end of a quiet street, you will be welcomed by open grazing land for your beloved farm animals. Home is well-maintained with over 1,000 sqft, open living area and updated kitchen. High quality vinyl floors throughout whole home. Master Suite offers tiled shower. The screened back porch is ideal for family gatherings and those late evenings sitting outside admiring the sunset over your Florida property. Property is two 10 acre parcels both zoned RM. Less than 5 miles to downtown Arcadia, with easy access to Charlotte and Sarasota County. Set up your showing of this beautiful home and property today!

Total Sq Ft: 1,050
MLS: C7466560
List Price: $649,999
Parcels Ranging 6-20 Acres Charlotte County
Neal Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Mutiple 6-20 Acres of desirable land is waiting for YOU! Offering a quiet and private setting, yet within minutes to Hwy 31 with convenient access into Arcadia, Punta Gorda or Ft. Myers. Ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn or animals. Zoning is AG which allows for agriculture and residential and NO deed restrictions. 

MLS: C7459395
Listing Price: $149,000-$298,000
About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, Peyton and Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 | wbethel@waltbethel.com| www.waltbethel.com