Red, White & Kaboom
The Second Continental Congress said adios to King George III in 1776. The idea of becoming 13 independent states was formalized in Philadelphia on July 4. Thomas Jefferson composed the wording and 56 delegates from 13 colonies signed the “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.”
But the Continental Congress made its decision on July 2. “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America,” John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail. Oops. Independence Day this year, a Monday and anniversary No. 240, offers traditional fare such as backyard barbeques and chilled beverages. The way we celebrate as a nation, however, is a parade and a town party. And Southwest Florida is no exception. We’ve compiled a short list of Independence Day celebrations you may wish to attend (check websites for times and days).
Naples Pier and Naples Parade (July 4) Kick off the day with a two-hour parade at 10 a.m., traveling Broad Avenue South, Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. To ensure a good spot for best viewing, arrive early. The streets start filling up as early as 8 a.m.
The city is organizing the “4th of July Fireworks” at the Naples Municipal Pier starting at 9 p.m. The presentation will be a 20-minute show choreographed to patriotic music on the radio station WAVV 101.1 FM. The event dates back 26 years.
Sugden Regional Park (July 4) The day kicks off with an ice cream social from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., food vendors and entertainment starting at 6:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Bonita Springs (July 4) The city celebrates with a parade from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Festivities continue into the afternoon at Riverside Park, bringing fun games and contests, food and beverage vendors and live entertainment at 5 p.m. Fireworks are at dusk.
Estero (July 2) Miromar Outlets is hosting its 17th annual Independence Day celebration at the plaza in Estero on Saturday, July 2. Starting at 6 p.m. there will be face painting, live music and entertainment. Then fireworks will begin at dusk. Lawn chairs and blankets are suggested.
Fort Myers Beach (July 4) Sunshine, a slight Gulf breeze and the sound of waves hitting the shore is how Fourth of July begins on Fort Myers Beach at 10 a.m., with a parade that runs for an hour from the Sea Grape Plaza to Times Square. Going into the evening, fireworks will begin at dusk from the fishing pier. Make sure to make your way over to Fort Myers Beach early because the Matanzas Pass Bridge will be closed from around 9:30 a.m. till 12 p.m. Then at night, it will be closed once again, but only for oncoming traffic, from 9:30 p.m. through 11 p.m.
THE SECOND DAY OF JULY, 1776, WILL BE THE MOST MEMORABLE EPOCH IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA.” —JOHN ADAMS IN A NOTE TO HIS WIFE, ABIGAIL
Fort Myers (July 4) The River District Alliance on July 4 holds its annual Freedom Fest in downtown Fort Myers. There will be variety of food vendors, children’s games, live music and performers during the all-day event. Fireworks are at dusk over the Caloosahatchee River.
Cape Coral (July 4) The city’s Red, White, and Boom festival is held on Cape Coral Parkway, from Del Prado Avenue to the foot of the Cape Coral (Lower) Bridge. Expect lots of food, crafts, activities, giveaways and live entertainment, as well as contests such as the most patriotic dog, apple pie baking and a banana split eating contest for kids. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. Keep in mind, Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to the Cape Coral bridge and the bridge will be closed from 3 a.m. on July 4.
Sanibel (July 4) Small town but big parade takes over Periwinkle Way, starting at 9:30 a.m., with a free picnic afterward at Bailey's General Store and at Jerry’s Plaza, float judges, hot dogs, scouts, fireworks and a post-parade road rally hosted by the San-Cap Optimist Club. Fireworks will begin at sunset off the Sanibel Causeway.
Captiva (July 4) Star Spangled Celebration on Captiva will begin at South Seas Island Resort at 6 p.m. Included are festival foods and drinks, along with games and face painting for the kids. The fun golfcart parade, with carts decorated in patriotic colors, leaves from Chadwick Square down South Seas Plantation Road at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. n
South Seas Island Resort on Captiva hosts a colossal Independence Day party. Check websites in Southwest Florida for other celebration times and details.