Marking Independence Day in the middle of a Cape Coral paradise, everyone is invited to attend the eighth annual Great American Picnic celebration at Cape Harbour today beginning at 11 a.m., raising funds and awareness for the Adopt-a-Troop foundation.
"The festivities will kick off with a Color Guard presentation by the Cape Coral VFW Post 8463 and Pignoli's new musician, Carmen, singing the National Anthem. And let me tell you, when the National Anthem is sung, there won't be a dry eye in the house," said Glenda Swager, Cape Harbour's event manager. "Also, for the first year, we will be hosting a patriotic pet parade, where each pet will have their photo taken and uploaded to our Cape Harbour website."
This will be the first year the pet show is a parade and not a contest, and Swager is eager to boast that all of the pets have a blast during the show. All pets are welcome, and feel free to dress them up in their most patriotic costumes.
Immediately after the parade, the "Best Patriotic Hat Contest" will take center stage. Everyone is encouraged to put their "thinking caps" on to create the most patriotic hat that they can, with sign-ups at 10:30 a.m. to enter the contest.
"We really want you to go all out - glitter, splatter, whatever you can come up with - don't be afraid to go big, to go bold, and to go patriotic," Swager said. "We'll be awarding ribbons to the most spectacular, smallest, largest, most patriotic and most original. It will certainly be a very fun contest."
Celebrity judges Lois Thome and John Woods are excited about the new contest and are looking forward to choosing the winners.
About the Adopt-a-Troop foundation
A non-profit volunteer group of friends whose goal is to support American and Canadian troops now fighting for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Adopt-a-Troop foundation, led by Kaye Caple, was founded in November 2007. Its sole purpose is to raise funds and/or needed items to fill care packages, then send the packages to our troops overseas.
The first care packages, 20 in total, were sent in November 2007. Since then, the local group has sent thousands packages to Iraq and Afghanistan military men and women, including Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force.
All funds raised goes to filling the care packages for our troops, and covering the shipping costs to get the packages out to them. Through this small endeavor, we are thanking our troops for the sacrifices they make everyday to protect the lives and freedoms of many who will never know their name. For further information on the local Adopt-a-Troop foundation, visit AdoptATroop.net, call Kaye Caple at 239-671-8456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three additional contests will take place during the Great American Picnic celebration as well, including a water-balloon-tossing contest, sponsored by Run Agrounds, a watermelon-eating contest, sponsored by The Joint, and Best Patriotic Cupcake Contest, sponsored and hosted by Pignoli on the Harbour.
"All are welcome to enter any and all of the contests, and there is no charge for entry," Swager said. "For those interested in entering the Best Patriotic Cupcake Contest, you can sign up as late as that morning. Be sure to bring your best cupcake!" Call 239-541-0800 to enter early.
Chris the DJ and the "Juke Box Hero" will fill the square with music all day long, the Dixie Roadhouse Dancers will show their struttin' skills, and those attending are encouraged to peruse the Cape Harbour eateries, many offering very special patriotic food and drink specials that day.
"Our Saturday Farmer's Market vendors will all be set up in the square, offering fresh food, goods and wares," Swager said. "And merchants along the Marina Promenade will have their doors open, featuring red-hot holiday specials. We have several new shops for you to enjoy. High Maintenance Salon/Day Spa and Divine Divas will be doing 'Tattoos & Firecracker Braids' for all the kids - and kids at heart. It's going to be a festive day here at Cape Harbour!"
In celebration of the day of independence, the Banana Bay Tour Company will host its annual 4th of July Spectacular Fireworks Cruise from the harbour's marina. Boarding begins at 7:15 p.m. dockside at Rumrunners. Call 239-728-8687 reserve your seat and enjoy a 3.5-hour cruise, with the climactically fantastic fireworks spectacle from the sea.
For those looking to take in the fireworks display from land, Swager states the Great American Picnic is the perfect family-friendly pre-event before heading down to the City of Cape Coral's Red, White & BOOM! fireworks celebration, title sponsored this year by Storm Smart.
Those attending the picnic event are encouraged to bring a donation for the Adopt-a-Troop foundation, a local non-profit volunteer group of friends whose goal is to support American and Canadian troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group collects trinkets and supplies, boxes them all up and then ships them overseas to deployed troops and their camps.
"We are just so happy to help the efforts of the Adopt-a-Troop foundation every year. It blesses our hearts to have everyone come out in a united effort to give back our troops," she said. "Kaye Caple has packed up 80 boxes and is preparing to send them out to two Marine units. The troops call her Mom and are so grateful when they receive the care packages. She works hard and needs our support to help get them delivered, so the funds raised will help cover the cost to ship the boxes overseas. And, every year, we send a signed banner to the troops, as well. Intergraphic Group, Inc. has donated the 'Troop Banner' this year, so be sure and write a special message to the Marines that will be receiving it while you're at our eighth annual Great American Picnic!"
The Great American Picnic event is open to the public, there is no cost for admission, no charge for parking and all contests are free to enter. For further details on the event, visit CapeHarbour.com or call 239-470-2746.