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30 Things to do in Southwest Florida This January

Fill your schedule with art and food festivals, boat shows, plays and exhibitions this month.

BY December 29, 2022
Bonita Springs National Art Festival at Riverside Park
Bonita Springs National Art Festival at Riverside Park (Photo courtesy Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau)

A new year brings opportunities for new goals and fresh starts. Throughout Southwest Florida, events let you hit the ground running when it comes to working on your resolutions—whether you aim to see more art, diversify your palate or run a half marathon. Naples Botanical Garden and Naples Art District honor Frida Kahlo in murals and exhibitions, Fort Myers’ Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall hosts legendary rock band Styx for one night and WINK brings you the best foods from Charlotte County at its Taste of the Town food festival in Punta Gorda. Don’t miss these rocking events as you kick off the new year. 

 

Jan. 3-7

Broadway Blockbusters with Naples Philharmonic Pops at Artis—Naples

Catch some of Broadway’s most popular hits, like “Popular” from Wicked and “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera in this concert. Naples Philharmonic’s principal pops conductor Jack Everly, who used to work as music director of the National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth on PBS, leads a team of vocalists in this program at Hayes Hall. 

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Jan. 4

National Spaghetti Day at Pazzo! Cucina Italiana, Naples

Celebrate the classic Italian dish with chef Abel Tirado’s version of Spaghetti alla Chitarra at one of Fifth Avenue South’s longest-standing restaurants. Tuck into the velvet-wrapped interiors to enjoy the centuries-old pasta, so named for the guitar-like tool used to create the robust noodles. 

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Jan. 4-8, 10-15, 17-18, 20-22

Admissions at The Players Circle Theater, Fort Myers

This dramedy won an Obie Award (one of the highest honors in the Off-Broadway world) for its witty retelling of a family trying to get their son into Yale University based. The story provides an unrestrained assessment of privilege, power and hypocrisy. 

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Jan. 5-8

Fort Myers Boat Show on the Caloosahatchee River

Don’t miss the 50th anniversary of one of the state’s largest boat shows, with more than 500 boats from more than 130 manufacturers stationed along the Caloosahatchee River. Pick your next sunset-viewing ride and shop for gear and accessories, including engines, boat lifts, fishing kits and outdoor apparel. 

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Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26

Coconut Point Farmers Market, Estero

While you’ll still find the fresh ingredients, food and hand-crafted goods you’re used to at this returning farmer’s market every Thursday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., January also brings the debut of eight new retailers in the shopping center. Shop boho-luxe threads at Johnny Was, preppy polos and jumpsuits at Southern Tide and resort dresses and tops at Jean-Pierre Klifa.

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Jan. 7-8 

Estero Fine Art Show at JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

Voted one of the best art shows in the country, Estero Fine Art returns for the 28th year, attracting artists from across the country to the baseball stadium for artful displays. Expect live music, nibbles from local vendors and a competition for young artists. 

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Jan. 6-25

Paint Slinger and Shhh… Quiet at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers

These concurring exhibits reflect the art center’s push to promote heavy-hitting local artists. In the Grand Atrium, Naples painter Lynn Davison’s masterful figurative works reveal layers of emotions through the subjects’ hands. Meanwhile, assemblage artist Ran Adler’s latest body of work explores the meditative art of embroidery in SBDAC’s Capital Gallery. 

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Jan. 6 – Feb. 11

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Fort Myers 

This Andrew Lloyd Webber dance spectacular recounts the Biblical story of Joseph—whose father gives him a coat of many colors before his 11 brothers sell him into slavery—with an exuberant, theatrical spin. 

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Jan. 7-29

Mud Row at Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples

Set years apart, but under one roof, in this story, two generations of sisters confront their histories and one another. MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient and playwright Dominique Morisseau penned this masterpiece that navigates race, class and the ties that bind with humor. 

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Jan. 9-31

Leigh Herndon at Marco Island Center for the Arts

Trained in various styles of wax-resistant textile dyeing, the Naples artist, on view at Marco Island Center for the Arts, uses the Japanese rōzome process, similar to batik, to create vibrant, detailed landscapes. 

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Jan. 11-22, 25 – Feb. 5

The Game’s Afoot at The Naples Players

A castle in Connecticut, a 1930s Broadway star and a murder collide in this story. The Edgar Award-winning whodunnit follows the hero and his cohort on a journey through a labyrinth of mirrors and trickery to determine who among them is the culprit. 

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Jan. 10-29

Ripcord at Florida Repertory Theatre, Fort Myers

Comedy and treachery ensue when two women are forced to share a room in their retirement home. In his 18th season with the company, Jason Parrish directs this battle to the death. 

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Jan. 13-15

Punta Gorda Seafood & Music Festival at Laishley Park

In its second year, this event offers fresh seafood, live music and lots of goodies to shop from. Catch the live tunes, while browsing the marketplace for food and art and crafts during the three-day gathering with free admission. 

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Jan. 14

Scene to be Seen at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón

The centerpiece of this annual gala is a runway show featuring wearable art from local artists and designers—all benefiting Naples Art Institute. A cocktail reception welcomes guests and is followed by a silent auction and an afterparty with an open bar. 

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Jan. 14-15

Bonita Springs National Art Festival at Riverside Park

Rated one of the top fine arts festivals in the U.S., the Bonita Springs event gathers more than 200 juried artists from around the world. Proceeds benefit the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs.  

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Jan. 14-15

Cape Coral Art Festival & Market Place on Cape Coral Parkway

For the 38th year, The Rotary Club of Cape Coral brings hundreds of artisans to the downtown area. Stroll along Cape Coral Parkway and discover everything from original crafts to fine art from up to 300 artists. Can’t make it? A virtual festival offers patrons a chance to preview and purchase pieces from Jan. 2-31.

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Jan. 14 – Sep. 10

Frida and Her Garden at Naples Botanical Garden

A blooming reproduction of the famed Mexican artist’s La Casa Azul captivates visitors at the Garden this month. See monumental animal sculptures, each decorated with folk paintings inspired by Frida Kahlo’s work. 

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Jan. 15

Barron Collier Companies Naples Half Marathon

Race alongside aspiring Olympians in this benefit for the Gulf Coast Runners Youth Development and Scholarship Fund. Compete for cash prizes, medals or the sense of pride of getting through the finish line. 

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Jan. 16-18

Mike Vecchione at Off the Hook Comedy Club, Naples

The veteran of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, plus Comedy Central and Netflix specials is known for his quick delivery. 

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Jan. 18

Kelsey Irvin at Gardner Colby Gallery, Naples

The Californian’s collage work weaves vintage signage with collected pieces of vintage paper from magazines or promotional materials, along with graphite, fabric, and oil and acrylic paint.

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Jan. 18

The Rocket Man Show at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Myers

Sir Elton John handpicked Rus Anderson to perform as his body double for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. Rus captures the high energy of The Rocket Man’s early concerts—complete with flamboyant costumes. 

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Jan. 18

Bluegrass with Nitrograss at Luminary Hotel & Co., Fort Myers

Charles Wood, Darren Nicholson and Colby Laney make up this bluegrass band, led by the banjo playing Charles. Bring blankets and lawn chairs to listen at the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater.  

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Jan. 18 – Feb. 1

Gonna Wrap You Up in My Love at East West Fine Art, Naples

London artist Cathryn Shilling’s glass sculptures push the boundaries of the medium, creating singular objects that mimic fabric and evoke the sensation of being wrapped in a warm hug. 

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Jan. 19

Styx at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Myers

The band behind the hit “Come Sail Away” has toured and recorded for five decades and continues to bring down the house. Don’t miss their show at Barbara B. Mann. 

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Jan. 19-22

Naples Boat Show at Naples City Dock

Some of the world’s top cruiser and yacht vendors, including Azimut Yachts and Aquila Power Catamarans, showcase the latest boats to hit the market on Naples Bay. 

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Jan. 20

David Mayfield Parade at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers

Grammy and Emmy-nominated producer David Mayfield performs at SBDAC with his band for the fourth time. Two-time National Bluegrass Banjo Champion Steven Moore accompanies, and Christine King and Andrew Bonnis round out the band on fiddle and bass. 

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Jan. 21 

WINK Taste of the Town Punta Gorda at Laishley Park

Sample the best restaurants and food trucks of Charlotte County, along with live music and family-friendly activities. Get a free ticket to the event by giving blood through any of the OneBlood centers throughout the region on Jan. 14 and Jan. 20. 

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Jan. 21-22

Art Fest Naples at Fleischmann Park, Naples 

This 26th-anniversary art show benefits the STARability Foundation, which assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A portion of the proceeds from the 26th-anniversary art show benefits St. Vincent de Paul Naples’ Meals on Wheels.  The program serves nutritious food and a friendly visit to homebound seniors and disabled neighbors.

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Jan. 21 – Feb. 5

Frida Fest! Celebrating the life of artist Frida Kahlo in Naples Art District

District artists create vivid murals and life-sized “Fridas” to honor the iconic artist and decorate the streets for its two-week Art & Design Expo. 

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Jan. 24 – Apr. 29

Clyde Butcher’s Cuba: The Natural Beauty at Marco Island Historical Society, Marco Island

The legendary environmental photographer showcases black-and-white works from his three journeys into the Cuban wilderness. The works take viewers into locales that have been inaccessible to visitors for decades, while highlighting the country’s lush landscapes. 

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Jan. 27

George Michael Reborn At Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers

Relive the glory of the WHAM! Singer through body double Robert Barko. With coiffed hair, ripped jeans and killer dance moves, Robert tributes the late artist with an authentic performance. 

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