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Local Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Southwest Florida

The new year is almost upon us. Soon, New Year’s Eve will be here – the last day of 2013 right before jumping straight into 2014.

If you haven’t already made plans to celebrate, you might consider a few choice options in the area to ring in the new year with friends and family.

(Of course, spending the evening at The Colony at Pelican Landing is always a great option too!)

Here are a few events to consider for your nighttime fun.

2013 New Year’s Eve Downtown Countdown –Fort Myers

Fort Myers has a great celebration every year called the Downtown Countdown. Running from 6pm to 2am, the Downtown Countdown features music, craft bear, a kids zone, great dining, and – of course- a champagne toast at midnight. This year, Paige Miles from American Idol is performing, along with The Miami Sound.

The Downtown Countdown is located in the River District. Tickets can be found here.

Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration – Fort Myers Beach

Located on Times Square on Fort Myers Beach, the Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration brings street performers, vendors, great food, live bands, and fireworks for your enjoyment.

If you’ve never been to Fort Myers Beach, especially at night, you should try it – the sunset is phenomenal as always!

New Year’s Eve in Naples

For a wide selection of fun, you can also visit a few choice locations and events in nearby Naples.

Enjoy a night-long party at New Year’s Eve on Third Street South, or head to Sugden Plaza on Fifth Avenue South for live entertainment and music. Fireworks will be sent off into the night at Naples Pier beginning at 7:30pm. Or, you can dress it up with The Crystal Ball New Year’s Eve Gala and Concert presented by the Southwest Florida Symphony, starting at 7:00pm.

No matter where you choose to spend your evening, we hope you have a terrific New Year’s Eve and an even better 2014!

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Will Gambling Be Expanded into Southwest Florida and Lee County?

Bonita Springs is growing and becoming a go-to destination in Lee County. This growth brings with it new – and controversial – issues that are being debated as we speak.

The latest issue? Gambling and whether or not it should be expanded throughout Lee County.

Last year, voters across the county voted “yes” for a referendum that supported adding slot machines to certain gambling institutions currently in place, like the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track. That is important because slot machines have been heavily restricted in Florida, mainly due to an agreement the state of Florida has with the Seminole Tribe.

So far, though, the referendum hasn’t been followed up by a bill in the state legislature. The legislature and the governor would both have to support the bill to make it pass into law.

Why is this a key issue for the community? Gambling, for starters, is a pretty controversial issue. While there are gambling opportunities in Lee County already, these aren’t what you would call “casino-style” gambling – such as slots, card games, and the like.

Those – especially slots – are only located in casinos owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe. Opening up the possibility for slots in Lee County would offer a new source of revenue for communities in Southwest Florida and could pave the road for a casino based in the county itself.

Of course, gambling is viewed by many as an immoral vice that should be restricted. Plus, some have concerns about the impact gambling has on crime.

Lee County voters have spoken, though. Residents of Bonita Springs, in the near future, could very well have a new form of entertainment available to them only a short distance away if the state decides to back the will of the people and allow expanded gambling to come to our neck of the woods.