The Edison Festival of Light celebrates 80 years at the Grand Parade this weekend!!

What began in 1938 as a tribute to Thomas Alva Edison, Lee County’s most famous winter resident, has grown to be the largest series of events in the region. This year, the Edison Festival of Light continues the rich tradition and culture that has helped to bring the community together for eight decades. Following are just a few of the highlights!

Crafts on the River and Classic Car Show – The Craft show begins on February 16 and lasts all the way through the 18th, which is also a day of more than 100 classic cars along Edwards Drive. Food vendors and free entry to both! (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Grand Parade Day!
February 17 – 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Find your spot and settle in! Some have had their chairs out by the road since November! On Edwards Drive you can enjoy free entertainment all day, plop down in a reserved Street Seat. At 7 p.m. the largest night parade in the Southeast kicks off at Fort Myers High and travels down US 41 to the River District and ends on Jackson and Second Streets. Catch the fireworks show before enjoying the many local establishments!

  • Parade Celebration – Begins at 11 a.m. and bands begin at 3 p.m. on Edwards Drive you can catch free entertainment on the stage. Cloggers, vocalist, dancers! Food vendors and beverages too!
  • 5K Race 5:45 p.m. shotgun start and thousands of local, national, and international runners and walkers will take it to the streets just before parade time. Race starts on Edwards Drive!
  • VIP Tickets – $50 gets you prime seating at Harborside Event Center, dinner and beverages too!
  • Reserved Street Seats – Local non-profits offer seats right on the street for $10!
  • Clydesdales are coming!  Suncoast Beverages and Anheuser-Busch is bringing back the heralded breed of horses, which will join two other local horse groups and the Wells Fargo stagecoach during the Grand Parade.
  • Hurricane Heroes and Mandy Harvey honored as Grand Marshals! FPL and LCEC representatives will be this year’s Grand Marshals in honor of their work during Hurricane Irma restoration. Honorary Grand Marshal Mandy Harvey, the deaf ‘America’s got Talent’ singer finalist will also be honored in the parade thanks to her local ties. Many other dignitaries will join in the festivities as well!
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team will perform tricks on their Harley Davidson Road King bikes all along the route. They have performed in six presidential inaugural parades, many Bowl parades, at the Kentucky Derby and all across the United States and Australia.
  • Bands, bands, bands! At least 18 marching bands will play throughout the Grand Parade.  More than a dozen local bands, including Gulfcoast High School with nearly 300+ members will put on a show that will be remembered for a long time. In addition, we cannot forget the Second Time Arounders from St. Petersburg, which is the largest permanent adult marching band in the world!

For more information about the Edison Festival of Light, visit www.edisonfestival.org.

Press Release: Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade Celebrates 80th Anniversary

FORT MYERS, FL — 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 Greg Edsell, Edison Festival of Light Board President.

The largest event of the Edison Festival, the Grand Parade of Light held on Saturday, Feb. 17 will dazzle downtown Fort Myers and has many new and exciting participants.  The 2018 Grand Marshals are the FPL & LCEC Hurricane Heroes. Utility workers will represent the thousands who worked tirelessly to restore power after Hurricane Irma. In addition, the Honorary Grand Marshal is Mandy Harvey, the deaf singer who was a finalist on America’s got talent. Her rich, captivating vocals captured the hearts of judges when she used her ukulele while performing original songs.

There will be many new entries and some favorites such as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team, the Budweiser Clydesdales, more than 18 marching bands, lots of floats, and the LCEC light bulb balloon.

Seats are still available for the Grand Parade of Light.  Street seats are $10 and tickets to the VIP event at Harborside Event Center that includes food and beverages are $50 per person.  Information on all parade tickets can be found at the Edison Festival website under Tickets.

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:

Crafts on the River – Feb. 16 – 18, 2018   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.

Parade Celebration –Feb. 17, 2018,  11 am – 7 pm, Edwards Drive, downtown Fort Myers.  Start the celebration for the Grand Parade of Light and listen to bands 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. 17, 2018, 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. 10, $30 Feb. 11-16, and $40 race day and includes a t-shirt.

Classic Car Show – Feb. 18, 2018 – 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.

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 INFORMATION:

Photo courtesy of the Edison Festival of Light

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Street Closings February 10-11, 2017

Below you can find the streets that will be closed for STEMtastic Day of Discovery, Mutt Strutt, Food Trucks & Craft Beer and the Junior Events.

Street Closings:

SATURDAY, February 10 8:00 AM – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 4:00 PM, 2018
Edwards from Heitman to Jackson
Dean from Bay to Edwards
Hendry from Bay to City Pier
Boat Ramp parking lot
City Pier parking lot
Limited access to Post Office parking lot (for business only)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2018
JUNIOR PARADE, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
First Street from Virginia to Heitman (Barricades on all cross streets from McGregor)
First Street from Heitman to Lee (Barricades one block on either side – Second and Bay)

Press Release: Edison Festival of Light Announces 2018 Official Poster Contest Winner

To commemorate the 80th Anniversary, the Edison Festival of Light held a poster design contest that was promoted on social media. Local graphic designer and illustrator, Todd Calfee’s design was selected and posters were displayed throughout the Downtown River District.

Todd graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005 and is proud to be teaching at Cape Coral Technical College. While there, he helps emerging designers begin their careers. Attending the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade has become a family tradition for the Calfee family. They have a special spot near Fort Myers High School where the kids love to see the floats and sway to the music of the passing bands.

Todd’s love for Fort Myers and its rich history led to an interest in the vintage signs at venues like the Arcade and Edison Theatres. His colorful poster design captures part of the history while also paying tribute to the Festival of Light 80th Anniversary. Don’t be surprised if you see more of Todd’s work promoting our great City and the events held here.

Press Release: Edison Festival of Light JUNIOR PARADE this SUNDAY!

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For Immediate Release

Contact:                     Ted Fitzgeorge – 239-560-5563

Greg Edsell, President – 239-313-8870

Edison Festival of Light JUNIOR PARADE this SUNDAY!

February 9, Fort Myers, FL – The Edison Festival of Light offers a day full of historical events for the young-at-heart this SundayFree for spectators!

Junior Fun Run

Sunday, Noon – 2 p.m. – First Street in the downtown River District, starting and ending at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Kids of all ages take to the brick streets and everyone’s a winner!

Junior Parade

Sunday 2:45 – 4 p.m. – Downtown River District, beginning at Centennial Park and ending on Edwards Drive (see attached map for route). The Junior Parade features strollers, bikes, wagons, floats, clowns, many marching bands, and more! Years ago, the parade was held on a Wednesday afternoon and schools closed so children could participate. Now, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Junior Coronation & Awards

Sunday 4 p.m. (or when the parade ends) – Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center. Everyone gathers at the SBDAC to crown the new Junior King and Queen. Parade participants are on the edge of their seats to see who wins awards and who is invited to join the Grand Parade of Light on February 17.