CHARLOTTE COUNTY VISITOR’S BUREAU
18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 502
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL 33948
941.743.1900, FAX: 941.743.2245
‘FISH ARE JUMPIN’ CONTEST AND AUCTION
FEATURES A FINE KETTLE OF FISH
Redfish Sculpture Event Will Support United Way
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (March 11, 2004) One fish, two fish, Redfish,
view fish ... as they are transformed from mere wooden sculptures into sea life, with
personalities all their own -- as part of the „Fish Are Jumpin‟ Redfish Sculpture Contest
Charlotte County Visitor‟s Bureau, the organization coordinating this year‟s “Oh
Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup Tournament,” is partnering with United Way to use this
fintastic fund-raiser to anchor support for the agency and lure some cash for its
community projects and services.
Hand-carved cypress wood redfish are being used as bait for local businesses.
United Way is encouraging them to “adopt” a sculpture custom carved by local artist
John Davis, owner of Davis Cypress in Punta Gorda. Each fish is a whopper -- 4 ½ to 5
feet high, and weighing 80 to 100 pounds.
Like any freshly caught fish, the sculptures are in the raw, and must be prepared.
These filets of fun are primed to be designed and decorated to reflect either a sponsor‟s
business or a particular creative concept. For example, a restaurant may choose to
paint and dress its fish like a chef or a tourism fish may tout the reel a-lure of Florida‟s
The „Fish Are Jumpin‟ event is a new component of this year‟s “Oh Boy! Oberto
Redfish Cup Tournament,” which will cast off June 11-13, 2004 -- and once again be
broadcast to over half a million viewers on cable sports network ESPN2.
„Fish Are Jumpin‟ was conceived locally by Downtown Focus, a promotional
„think tank‟ group in Punta Gorda initially organized by Marilyn Smith-Mooney. The
sculpture concept is not a „fish out of water‟ for Becky Bovell, director of the Visitor‟s
Bureau. While on board with Rhode Island tourism, she charted a similar, successful
course which gained national recognition using the RI native Mr. Potato Head image.
“„Fish Are Jumpin‟ should happily hook everyone involved. Hopefully it will lure
visitors to Charlotte County while it focuses attention on our local businesses and top-
notch arts community. And it‟s a sure strike for Charlotte residents because we can all
enjoy the fun while benefiting a great cause,” said bureau director, Becky Bovell.
„Fish are Jumpin‟
Redfish sculptures can be snagged for a $750 sponsorship, which includes a
$100 honorarium for the creative agent decorating and finishing the sculpture. The
current catch includes twenty-seven sculptures. The goal is to have at least 50 fish out
of water and on our shores during the entire month of May prior to the Redfish Cup
Not one to be out-cast, the Visitor‟s Bureau has hooked the very first fish, which
will be designed by local artist and sculptor Jeff John.
The redfish will be displayed in the sponsors‟ places of business and a „fish
finder‟ Treasure Hunt will lure the public until June 5, when a „bait and switch‟ will find
redfish swimming upstream to the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda. More sculptures
than a photographer can capture with a fisheye lens will spend seven days on display
for contest judges. Winners will be announced during the Redfish Cup Tournament. The
top four catches will receive cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000, and be sold at
live auction. Other donated redfish sculptures will be sold at a silent auction. Minimum
bids are set at $1,000.
Funds raised through „Fish Are Jumpin‟ will help support the United Way‟s 34
partner organizations, serving families, senior citizens, the disabled, children and many
others. All netted proceeds will remain in Charlotte County. The Charlotte Herald-
Tribune/SNN6 is the exclusive sponsor of the „Fish Are Jumpin‟ contest and auction. As
the presenting sponsor, the Herald-Tribune/SNN6 will host a Silent and Live Auction
Wine and Cheese Gala at the Visual Arts Center on Saturday, June 12. Silent Auction
will be 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. The Gala will start at 5 p.m. with the Live Auction beginning at 6
For sculpture sponsorship information, call Elizabeth Burdick at United Way of
Charlotte County, at (941) 627-3539.
As for the redfish themselves, they‟ll wait with baited breath to find out which in
their school will take home top honors.
The Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands region is located halfway between Sarasota
and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf coast. Southwest Florida International
Airport, 35 minutes to the south in Ft. Myers, provides convenient flight service. For
more information on how you can enjoy Florida‟s Best-Kept Secrets throughout
Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, visit the Charlotte County Visitor‟s Bureau web site
at www.pureflorida.com or call 1-888-4PUR-FLA.