FORT MYERS, FL (Feb. 6, 2016) — It is time to “Illuminate. Innovate. Celebrate.” in Southwest Florida. The Edison Festival of Light, Southwest Florida’s largest and longest running festival announces details for the upcoming Festival. “Our Board of Directors has been working to produce a multitude of fun and exciting events over the next two weeks,” said Kevin Anderson, Edison Festival of Light Board President.
The largest event of the Edison Festival, the Grand Parade of Light held on Saturday, Feb. 18 will dazzle downtown Fort Myers and has many new and exciting participants. The 2017 Grand Marshals are the Cape Coral Little League Senior League World Series Championship team, who beat British Columbia, Canada to win the title. In addition, the Honorary Grand Marshal is Bobby Nichols, a twelve time PGA Tour champion. Nichols has held the Nichols Cup Golf Tournament at Fiddlesticks Golf Course for the past 15 years and has donated over $8.2 million for abused and neglected children from the proceeds of the tournament. “This is quite an honor to be chosen as the Honorary Grand Marshal for this community tradition, “said Nichols.
In addition, the Grand Parade of Light will have triple the number of helium balloons as in previous years. “We are excited that Chico’s is bringing back their shopping bag balloon, which made its debut in this parade a number of years ago,” said Anderson. In addition, Fort Myers Pest Control will be carrying Jerry the Mouse, of Tom and Jerry cartoon fame, making its debut here in Southwest Florida. Anderson continued, “These large balloons are a part of Americana and a tradition in parades across the country. Having these helium balloons brings a new excitement and experience for our parade-goers.”
Seats are still available for the Grand Parade of Light. Street seats are $10 and a ticket to the VIP event at Harborside Event Center that includes food and beverages are $57 per person. Information on all parade tickets can be found at the Edison Festival website under Tickets.
IFor those unable to attend the Grand Parade in person, the parade will be broadcast on MeTV on Sunday, March 12, from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. MeTV is a Waterman Broadcast station and is found on various cable channels throughout the area.
Volunteers are still needed for the Grand Parade and for all the Edison Festival of Light events. Information on opportunities can be found at www.edisonfestival.org/p/volunteer.
Other Edison Festival of Light highlights include:
STEMtastic Day of Discovery – February 11, 2017 from 10 am – 3 pm in Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park. The largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) event in the region has over 7,500 participants create and learn through hands-on experiments. Activities will include displays from Mote Aquarium and Full Sail University.
Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival – February 11, 2017 – 2 pm – 9 pm Edwards Drive, downtown Fort Myers. Local craft beer and epicureans will delight in tasting some of Southwest Florida’s creations while listening to local bands. Admission is free.
Mutt Strutt – Feb. 11, 2017 – 3 pm – 6 pm – Edwards Drive and Hendry, downtown Fort Myers. Bring your favorite pooch and join in the festivities to celebrate our canine friends. A parade and costume contest will take place at 5 pm. Canine registration to participate in the festivities is $10.
Junior Fun Run – Feb. 12, 2017 – 11 am registration – First and Jackson Streets – Fort Myers. Designed for the children, this fun run is for kids between the ages of 2 and 10. Registration is $7 per child and includes a t-shirt while supplies last.
Junior Parade – Feb. 12, 2017 – 2:30 pm First Street and throughout downtown Fort Myers. Starting in the early 1940’s, The Junior Parade showcases the creativity and talent of area children and their family as they parade through downtown, including proceeding down historic First Street and them moving north down Lee to Bay, proceeding west on Bay to Monroe and then north on Monroe to Edwards. This free parade features more than 100 units including floats, clowns, bands and dignitaries. A highlight of the Junior Parade and the Grand Parade are the homemade floats. Over a dozen nonprofits are building floats to promote their organizations. Families have participated for generations whether wearing costumes and walking the parade route or building floats; some of those families now help manage the parade.
The Junior Parade will be broadcast on MeTV on Sunday, March 5 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
Crafts on the River – Feb. 17 – 19, 2017 – 10 am – 5 pm Friday and Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm Sunday – Centennial Park. Join local and national craft vendors as they showcase their talent and wares throughout Centennial Park. Free admission.
Music Walk Block party – Feb. 17, 2017 – 6 pm – 10 pm. Start the celebration for the Grand Parade of Light as we kick off the weekend as part of the Music Walk on Friday. Listen to SoFlo and the Tucci Band while enjoying in your favorite beverages and munch on various foods that celebrate Southwest Florida and your favorite traditional festival food items. Free admission.
Parade Celebration –Feb. 18, 2017, 11 am – 7 pm, Edwards Drive, downtown Fort Myers. Start the celebration for the Grand Parade of Light and listen to bands, local disc jockey DJ Mad Mel and local talent while having more beverages and food. Multiple food locations include the boat ramp, the corner of Dean and Edwards, and Hendry and Edwards. Free admission.
Edison Festival of Light 5K – Feb. 18, 2017, 5:45 pm Centennial Park, Fort Myers. Join 1,500 participants in this sanctioned race that has earned national recognition thanks to its rich history, list of participants and thousands of cheering fans. Participants race along the Grand Parade route and cross the finish line in time for the parade to begin. Registration is $25 until Feb. 11, $30 Feb. 12-17, and $40 race day and includes a t-shirt.
Classic Car Show – Feb. 19, 2017 – 10 am – 3 pm, Edwards Drive, Fort Myers. Celebrate classic cars and hot rods that include antiques, muscle cars and more. Free admission.
All festival event details are listed on the Edison Festival of Light website (www.edisonfestival.org).
Designed to “Illuminate. Innovate. Celebrate.” , the Edison Festival of Light, Inc. honors Thomas Alva Edison’s contributions to mankind including Southwest Florida, and seeks to improve the community by education and activities relating to Edison’s works and values. Sponsors include the City of Fort Myers, Florida Power and Light, Budweiser, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau, Chico’s FAS Inc., Family Thrift Center, LCEC, MedExpress Urgent Care, Morgan & Morgan, Downtown Property Owner’s Association, Florida Lottery, Fort Myers Pest Control, Wells Fargo, Applebee’s, Pepsi, Lipman Produce, Liberty Tax Service, Rasmussen College, B&I Contractors, and Florida Vacation Auction. Media Partners include Beasley Radio, Happenings and Family News, IHeartMedia, Lamar, The News-Press, Parent and Child magazine, TOTI publications, and ValPak.
For more information, visit www.edisonfestival.org or call 239-334-2999. Become a fan by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/edisonfestival) and Twitter and Instagram (@edisonfestival). The Edison Festival of Light is a member of the Florida Festivals and Events Association and the International Festivals and Events Association.
Photo courtesy of the Edison Festival of Light