Residents hoping to get a look at the new town of Babcock Ranch will have that opportunity this weekend during a two-day Founder's Festival event to be held at the site of the quickly growing community on the Lee/Charlotte county line.
The event will step off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday with the "2017 Sun Run." The festival will fellow from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on opening day and then continue Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. on the acreage being developed by FL Kitson & Partners in Charlotte County 20 minutes east of Fort Myers off Florida State Road 31 just north of the Lee County Civic Center.
Babcock Ranch, touted as an "eco-centric town" powered by solar energy, will ultimately include 19,500 homes and nearly 50,000 residents.
Actively under construction, the new town is literally coming out of the ground, a prepared statement on the Founder's Festival states.
"The Founder's Festival will celebrate the progress made thus far, including the completion of Founder's Square's event lawn, band shell, and boardwalk, the first buildings in Babcock's Downtown District, including Woodlea Hall, Curry Creek Outfitters, and the Table & Tap restaurant, as well as a fishing pier, dog park, the first four miles of the new town's trail network, and a number of new model homes, the release states.
A formal grand opening will be held in first quarter, 2018 when additional buildings at Founder's Square have been completed.
Founder's Fest will feature two days of music, food trucks, a farmer's market, model home tours, kids' games, family activities, and more.
Prior to the dedication of Founder's Square at 10:30 on Saturday, Babcock Ranch will host the Sun Run that will include a 10-K race starting at 7:30, a 5-K race starting at 8 a.m., and a one-mile Fun Run at 9. Registration for the 10-K and 5-K will continue Saturday morning and will require a $20 day of event registration fee. The free one-mile Fun Run is open to runners and walkers of all ages and strollers are allowed. Johnson Engineering, Inc. is sponsoring a race breakfast and hand sanitizers for the runners' cinch bags. Dana Miller of Cypress Lake High School's Performing Arts group will perform the national anthem prior to the start of the 10-K.
Kitson & Partners' Chairman & CEO Syd Kitson will welcome Festival visitors from the lakefront band shell at Founder's Square at 10:30 Saturday morning. Kitson will be joined on the stage by Babcock Ranch President Rick Severance, representatives from numerous partner organizations, and Charlotte and Lee County Commissioners as he formally dedicates Founder's Square with a ribbon cutting. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy the festivities while sitting on the Square's open green.
Upon completion of the ribbon cutting, Festival visitors will be treated to a performance by the "Pride" of Port Charlotte High School Marching Band and the games and other activities will begin on the lawn at Founder's Square and in the parks in the Lake Timber residential neighborhood where visitors will have an opportunity to tour the first model homes completed at Babcock Ranch. Furnished models by Stock Development and Homes by Towne from Lake Timber's Longleaf and Heritage Collections respectively will be open for viewing on both Saturday and Sunday. Games and activities sponsored by Trifecta Construction Solutions and Fawcett Memorial Hospital on both days will include an egg toss, sack races, a water balloon toss, hula hoop, a tug of war, and a basketball free throw shooting contest. Kimley-Horn & Associates is sponsoring 125 red maple and bald cypress trees and O'Donnell Landscapes, Inc. is donating 100 slash pine trees for children to plant. The DeSoto Arts & Humanities Council and Peace River Arts & Humanities Council will feature active painting by artists on the Square's boardwalk overlooking Lake Babcock. Food and beverages will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday in the Downtown District. Those attending the Festival will also have an opportunity to experience Sunset Trail, the first stage of the 50-mile network of nature trails that will be enjoyed by Babcock's residents and visitors.
Musical performances sponsored by CenturyLink at Founders Square's band shell will be held throughout the day on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, The Mystic River Band will play from noon to 2 p.m. and will be followed by headliner JP Soars & the Red Hots Band 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday's performances start at noon and include the Kollections Band from DeSoto County, The American Made Band from Charlotte County, and the headliner Ben Allen Band that will close the Festival with a performance from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Drawings for giveaways by five Babcock Ranch homebuilders will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the band shell.
Founder's Square is the heart of the Downtown District at Babcock Ranch. Visitors to the Festival will have an opportunity to visit the information center at Woodlea Hall, Babcock's first civic building situated on the western edge of Founder's Square. Hikers, bikers, kayakers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Curry Creek Outfitters located next door to Woodlea Hall. The lakefront Table & Tap restaurant includes indoor and outdoor dining and a beer garden immediately adjacent to the green at Founder's Square. Children will enjoy the Square's splash pad. Benches offer an inviting place to relax and the lakefront boardwalk at the northern edge of the green offers a place to take a stroll along the lake.
To learn more about the Founder's Festival at Babcock Ranch Saturday and Sunday, visit www.foundersfest.net. To learn more about living at the eco-centric, solar powered town being created by Kitson & Partners at Babcock Ranch, visit www.babcockranch.com.
Source: Kitson & Partners/Caffrey & Associates