Hosted by the Fort Myers Beach Civic Association, the annual Fourth of July Parade will kick off the patriotic festivities, starting from Beach Elementary around 10 a.m. and heading north on Estero Boulevard toward Times Square.
Heads up: The Sky Bridge will be closed from 9:45 a.m. until just before the parade’s end.
Fort Myers Beach’s first official mayor Anita Cereceda will lead the parade as Grand Marshall, and look forward to seeing several local celebrities, business and organizations float through the marching spectacle.
Parade awards are sponsored by the Beach Observer and Beach Bulletin and will include Best Musical Unit; Best Decorated Float; Best Patriotic Theme; Best Overall Theme; Best Decorated Bicycle; Best Car; Best Truck; Best Marching Unit; Best Business; Best Non-Business and Best of Parade.
After the parade, the awards are expected to be announced at the Surf Club. Sponsors include The Mermaid Lounge; Mango Bay; The Beached Whale; Charley’s Boat House; Surf Club; Sunset Boat Tours; Winds; Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa; and Yucatan Beach Stand Bar and Grill.
During the day
Don’t bother leaving the island after the parade. Between the parade and the fireworks show, there are plenty of fabulous places and things to see and do.
“The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days on the Beach – and it should be even busier this year, with July Fourth falling on a Monday,” said Bruce Cermak, owner of the Surf Club and always lending a helping hand to the local community.
During July 4th alone, beach officials estimate the amount of visitors to the island to be in the thousands.
“We’re going to have 30-40,000 people coming to Fort Myers Beach on the Fourth of July,” said Dennis Boback, Fort Myers Beach Civic Association Parade chairman. “This is the perfect opportunity to set up and sell some great things to the community in our vendor area.”
For the first year on the island, thousands of visitors July 4th will also have a chance to do some shopping while perusing the Civic Association’s vendor area, set up at The Mermaid Lounge and Liquors, 1204 Estero Blvd.
The Mermaid is one of the greatest places to set up a vendor village, as it’s located toward the end of the parade route and right near where the fireworks display will be taking place.
Enjoy shopping for trinkets and trophies, baubles and jewelry, sunglasses, clothing, accessories, gifts and so much more.
Vendor spots may still be available, so call Dennis Boback (462-8798) or Lee Melsek (470-3407) for any further questions or to reserve your spot.
The Fort Myers Beach July 4th parade has become a prelude to the island’s spectacular fireworks show off the pier just after dark. The fireworks show is regarded as the finest and most popular in all of Southwest Florida and draws tens of thousands of people to the island and along the shoreline.
“We truly have a world-class show every year,” Bruce said. “(Bill) Semmer really blows up his money. It’s phenomenal.”
Every year, Bill Semmer, his Fireworks Committee and all the hard-earned donated money goes to Garden State Fireworks, creating one of the best displays around. It’s always customized to be different every year, but every year, you can expect an amazing fire show.
Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER