Punta Gorda Fireworks, LLC
1200 W. Retta Esplanade
Punta Gorda, FL 33950

June 9, 2015
By Mark A. Figueredo
Local Business and Residents Create Boom in the Sky
Punta Gorda Fireworks Seeks Donations for July 4th Show

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- The Fourth of July: Impossible to imagine without fireworks and patriotic songs. But that’s what actually happened up the road in Englewood a few years back when the skies remained dark one Independence Day holiday because there was no money to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

“We were not about to let that happen here,” said Jerry Cleffi. Cleffi is events manager for Smuggler’s Enterprises, parent company of half a dozen major restaurants in southwest Florida and the now the sparkplug in the engine that drives a special entity: Punta Gorda Fireworks, L.L.C.

The “we” Cleffi refers to is a coalition of local movers and shakers, including this year’s presenting sponsor, Grande Aire Services, who is donating $10,000 towards making the fireworks happen. Punta Gorda Fireworks, L.L.C., a unique, single-purpose entity, was born to raise funds in order to put on a traditional fireworks display over Charlotte Harbor, celebrating the Fourth of July – every July.

This year marks the eighth Independence Day blowout held in Laishley Park since Fourth Fest was born. “We love supporting this event because it gives the local community a time to gather and celebrate being American.  Years ago when the city did not have the money to put on the event, we stepped in with the help of other generous donors to keep this tradition alive and have continued ever since,” Bobby Miller, President of Grande Air Services, said.

That commitment is sustained in one way: donations. Contributions are used for one purpose only and that purpose is to pay for the fireworks. Administration, such as office space, promotion, planning and organizing efforts are underwritten by Smuggler’s “so that every dollar donated by businesses, individuals and community groups goes to pay Garden State Fireworks, period,” Cleffi said.

Garden State Fireworks is the world-famous pyrotechnic company that has been operated by four generations of Santore sons and brothers. The bill: $35,000. A bill that is one hundred percent paid for by the people and for the people.
Staging the area’s largest come-one, come-all event of the summer requires a complex infrastructure leading up to the 9 p.m. fireworks show. Punta Gorda Fireworks’s concerns include permitting, grounds preparation and sanitation, police, safety, EMS, and cost-conscious contracting to ensure that when the clock strikes eleven on the morning of Saturday, July 4, everything and everyone from food and fireworks to bands and bounce houses will be in place and on schedule for the next 12 hours.

Punta Gorda Fireworks seeks donations, large and small, to help pay for the fireworks. Named sponsorships start at $250 and include recognition and logos on souvenir programs, the Jumbotron, and throughout the day’s announcements and evening events. Major donors may purchase exclusive tent chalets and reserve tables for front-row seating that include food and beverage service.

Individual support is particularly welcome and especially appreciated, Cleffi said. “Not everyone can be a ‘big donor.’ Even five or ten dollars via PayPal at our website helps. Every contribution represents someone’s personal generosity that says we’re doing this right.”

Family fun starts at 11 a.m. in Laishley Park. At noon, the opening ceremony with “The Star Spangled Banner” and presentation of the colors by the US Paratroopers Color Guard will open up the live entertainment for the day. Local bands promise to rock the park throughout the afternoon. Waterslides in every kid size – even a couple in grown-up scale – along with rides and bounce houses will make the day fun for one and all. All-American treats -- cotton candy, hotdogs, hamburgers, pizzas, funnel cakes, beverages and more -- will be on sale all day from local vendors and restaurants. Red-white-and-blue shopping and gifts will be on hand, with many vendors holding raffles and prize giveaways.

Evening events launch at 6 p.m. when The Boogiemen Rock-n-Soul Revue opens with Hats-off, Hands-on-Heart arrangements of “God Bless America” and “This Land is My Land,” along with other favorite independence lyrics, all American hits and fan-favorites.
The music, marches and fun climax at 9 p.m. when Garden State Fireworks launches its spectacular fireworks show using 100-percent American made and packaged pyrotechnics. “The show this year is going to be absolutely amazing,” Cleffi said. “And people can see it from both sides of the harbor, from their boats, and up and down the waterfront in condos and communities nearby. You don’t have to be in Laishley Park to see it, which is why we’re trying to get out the word that our fund-raising provides a show every neighborhood will enjoy.”

Nashville recording artist, Jack-Michael will deliver a special 1 hour concert right the after the fireworks with his signature mix of new country hits and originals.
That’s a lot of entertainment for a gate of just $3. But wait! There’s more! Kids under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. And all-day, in-and-out wristbands go for just $10. And the best part is, all gate proceeds – every dollar – goes directly to offset the cost of the fireworks.

For more information, contact Punta Gorda Fireworks, L.L.C. via Web at , by telephone at 941-628-0702 and 941-637-5953, or at the local headquarters, 150 Laishley Court, Suite 1112, Punta Gorda, FL 33950.

Current Sponsors Include

Presenting Sponsor: Grande Aire Services

America the Beautiful Sponsors: Bud Light, Dean’s South of the Border, Hurricane Charley’s, Palm Auto Mall

Born in the USA Sponsors: Mosaic, Four Points by Sheraton, Charlotte County Ford, Calusa Bank, Integrity Employee Leasing, Bacardi, Pepsi, Rapid Graphix, Fishermen’s Village, PGPCNP Board of Realtors

This Land is your Land Sponsors: PODS, Waste Management, Labor Ready, Punta Gorda Rental, Punta Gorda Rental, Everything Punta, Scoops and Bites

Contact: Jerry Cleffi
Event Director
Punta Gorda Fireworks, LLC
(941) 628-0702



Press Release - April 3, 2015

July 4, 2015
Fourth Fest 2015 featuring WaterMania!
presented by Grande Aire Services                                  
Vendor Forms
Sponsorship Form

Smugglers Event Management is pleased to announce… FourthFest 2015 featuring Water-Mania!

4th-Fest 2015 at Laishley Park, Punta Gorda’s Annual Independence day celebration, is scheduled for July 4th in Punta Gorda. This 1 day festival is a celebration of the USA with nonstop entertainment for the entire family.

This year’s event features Water-Mania- a group of 12 giant waterslides- to be erected in Laishley Park. There are slides of all types and sizes for the littlest kids to grownups too. In addition to the Water-Mania Water Slides there will be a large Kid’s Fun Zone with plenty to keep the young ones excited.

Vendors, displays, and unique shopping opportunities await as the park will be filled with booths just waiting for attendees to visit. There will also be plenty of fun festival food, cold beer and beverages!

Live Music will fill the park all day on July 4th with bands performing on the stage throughout the day. Live music starts at noon. The Boogiemen Rock n Soul Revue will hit the stage at 6pm and perform right up to the fireworks. The Boogiemen are a July 4th tradition in Punta Gorda and a show not to be missed! As a bonus, Nashville recording artist Jack Michael will present a bonus one hour concert immediately following the fireworks finale.

Our Exclusive Jumbotron will be running all day promoting the event with schedules and info as well as recognizing sponsors with TV ads, video, photos, and logos, as well as live video of our 2 headlining bands!

The best fireworks display in all of Southwest Florida presented by the Famous Santore Brothers of Garden State Fireworks will start promptly at 9:00pm, shot over the beautiful Peace River. This year an additional 5 minutes of fireworks have been added to an already spectacular show lasting over 25 minutes! With a spectacular Fireworks Show and a full day of activities, Laishley Park is the place to be on this Fourth of July!!!

Sponsorships are available for any budget and all donations and sponsor funds go directly to the fireworks expense.

As a bonus! - Star Spangled Banner Level Sponsors will have their own Sponsor Chalet Tent for their company’s use with seating for up to 30 people with private access to the VIP area, a Fourth of July BBQ, and complementary beverages. In addition the sponsor area will feature waterfront seating for the very best view of the Fireworks Display.

There are a limited number of Sponsor Chalet Tents available, so reserve yours now with your sponsorship!

For more information or to register visit or call 941-637-5953.

Jerry Cleffi
Smugglers Event Management
150 Laishley Ct #121
Punta Gorda, Fl 33950




Please help support this community event by making a donation online or by mail to The Punta Gorda Fireworks Fund. The fireworks are 100% funded by sponsors and donations. No municipal funds are used.



Fireworks Photos © Christopher Frame and Harbor Style Magazine