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Independence Day celebration will sparkle

June 28, 2018
By ANITA FORCE MARSHALL ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

There's a lot to look forward to by celebrating the Fourth of July on Fort Myers Beach with all its down-home charm. The town knows how to show its residents and visitors a fun day celebrating our great nation and local town pride.

"There will be patriotic top hats and Hawaiian leis for sale and the fireworks show will be everything that Fort Myers Beach residents know and love about the Fourth of July on Fort Myers Beach," said Sean De Palma, Town of Fort Myers Beach Parks and Recreation Department Parks and Recreation director. "This year is special because the parade will have new participants in it, the event downtown will have a dunk tank and our second annual watermelon eating contest."

This much-anticipated day starts with the Fort Myers Beach Fourth of July parade at 10 a.m. which goes along Estero Boulevard from Bay Oaks Recreation Center to Times Square. Everyone looks forward the colorful floats and costumed participants. It's a Fort Myers Beach tradition.

Article Photos

"My favorite part of the parade is seeing the families come together for such a classic event," De Palma said. "They are no doubt making memories together, and the smiles we see are very rewarding to me. Our Fourth of July is for people of all ages, young and old, full time and part time residents. Really there is something for everyone."

The celebration continues with the Parks and Recreation Department in Times Square from noon to 2 p.m. for a fun and memorable afternoon. The celebration will include patriotic crafts, a watermelon eating contest, dunk tank, and lots of red, white and blue.

"A big thank you to local sponsors Melon 1 who is donating watermelons for our watermelon eating contest. Galeana Jeep is providing Jeeps to drive in the parade, and Truly Scrumptious is donating a large patriotic cake," De Palma said. "This is an event that the Fort Myers Beach's Parks and Recreation Department coordinates with the gallant efforts of Public Works, Beach Fire, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office. There are many supporting staff that strive to ensure a spectacular and safe experience."

Don't forget that the Matanzas Pass Bridge will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon for the Fourth of July Parade and will also be closed for fireworks from 9:30 to 11 p.m. to oncoming traffic, so you can get off the island but not on. If parking is an issue for you, consider taking the Beach Trolley to Fort Myers Beach to enjoy a full Independence Day of activities. The Fort Myers Beach Trolley services the island with stops all along the beach. Service runs from Lover's Key State Park to the Beach Park & Ride facility on Summerlin Square Drive. You may also utilize paid parking lots which are at Lynn Hall Park on Old San Carlos Boulevard, under the Matanzas Pass Bridge, or across from and next to the Lani Kai Resort.

The big finale is worth waiting for the Fort Myers Beach Fourth of July fireworks show is scheduled to begin at approximately 8:45 p.m. at Times Square.

"What most are surprised about with the fireworks, is the quality of the show," De Palma said. "Even though we are a small town, we know how to put on a fantastic show. I love to see the town come together and enjoy something so classic, I feel like it unites us as a community and because of the camaraderie, it's these events that make the Fourth of July exciting, and fun for the whole family."

So open up your beach chair and enjoy the show as the beautiful fireworks light up the night sky.

Where is the best place to see the fireworks?

"That's another great thing about our fireworks show, there are so many good 'seats,'" De Palma said. "All along the beach you can great view of them!"

For more information, visit

Morning After Mess

- Beach Cleanup Day

So, you had a fabulous Fourth on Fort Myers Beach. How about you, your family and friends volunteering the next day for clean up? Join in for the Morning After Mess - Beach Cleanup Day on Thursday, July 5, from 8 to 10 a.m. All volunteers can check-in at either Bunche Beach, Lynn Hall Park, or the Sanibel Causeway. The Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation has been hosting the cleanup for the county for more than 10 years.

"Our event promotes environmental stewardship while having a direct impact," said Trish Fancher, executive director of Keep Lee County Beautiful. "We find so many fireworks, bottles, and left-over picnic items on the beach and are able to remove them before they get blown into the Gulf and ultimately out to sea. We are able to prevent the litter from impacting our waterways and wildlife."

Everyone is always surprised about the volume of bottles, discarded picnic items, and just how many pieces of fireworks are "left behind" after they explode into thousands of tiny parts that do eventually come back down and are caught in the waves.

"With the thousands of people (who) gather on Fort Myers Beach to watch the town's display, plus the hundreds, if not thousands, who bring their own, it is the perfect place to make a large impact in a short amount of time," Fancher said. "I really enjoy witnessing the people who more than likely stayed up a little too late and perhaps celebrated a little too hard but dragged themselves and their families out of bed to make a difference. They see the importance of our event."

Trish would like to thank the sponsors: Lee County Solid Waste, Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation, Advanced Disposal, Waste Pro, Covanta, Town of Fort Myers Beach, Lee County Parks and Recreation, and Florida Department of Transportation.

KLCB will supply volunteers with all the materials needed to complete the cleanup (except sunblock).

"Anyone who recognizes the need to keep the litter and debris out of our waterways will enjoy our event. We have had volunteers as old as 94 (that I know of) and as young as 2 years actually picking up materials," Fancher said. "It is great to see such a wide variety of volunteers, all ages, all colors, all religions, all political affiliations, all people who recognize we have a common thread in needing to protect our environment."

For more information or to register, visit (under special projects, 5th of July, registration)



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