PRESS RELEASE: Edison Festival of Light and the Grand Parade of Light Dazzles with Special Guests and Balloons

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


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 (


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 or call 239-334-2999. Become a fan by following us on Facebook ( 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


STEMtastic Day of Discovery wins Best Educational Event


ORLANDO, Fla. (August 7, 2015) – The Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA) recently announced the winners of its annual SUNsational Awards during its 21st annual convention and tradeshow. Nominations were accepted in nine categories, including Printed Materials; Outdoor Advertisement; PR / Media Campaign; Photo; Promotional Item; T-shirt; Broadcast Media; Multimedia Marketing and Programming. Each category included three budget levels. First-place award winners include:

Educational Program: Edison Festival of Light

For a full list of winners, including second and third place award recipients, visit

Nominations were judged by a blue ribbon panel representing media outlets, printing companies, website designers, photographers, promotional marketing professionals and social media experts. “The SUNsational Awards have recognized and celebrated the talents of our members for more than
two decades,” said Suzanne Neve, Executive Director of the FFEA.”“This year, we added several new categories and received our highest volume of submissions to date. We’re proud of our members and their events – and excited to recognize them in this way each year.”

About STEMtastic Day of Discovery:
By providing the opportunity for community members to experience new initiatives in the realm of education, the Edison Festival of Light is helping to keep the inventiveness and spirit of Thomas Alva Edison’s legacy alive. A strong Edison Festival of Light sponsor, FPL, is focused on education so it is important that we are able to maintain the mission of the Festival to continue Thomas Edison’s inventive focus while fulfilling the desires of a loyal sponsor to foster science related education in the local region.

In the past, the Edison Festival of Light event was entitled Day of Discovery. With the understanding that the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools was trying to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education through the same avenues, we formed a partnership to optimize resources, experience, and help grow the initiative. The partnership came at a time when the Foundation’s event, STEMtastic, was outgrowing their current location. In order to enhance each organization’s strengths and maximize student involvement, the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Edison Festival of Light began planning what turned into STEMtastic Day of Discovery.

Overall, the goal was to promote STEM education in the Fort Myers community and introduce students and families to fun and exciting opportunities through education and careers involving the different initiatives. It is important to focus on the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) because it teaches valuable skills and knowledge that are essential for student growth and success. Rather than teaching the four disciplines as separate subjects, STEM integrates them into a close-knit archetype that provides the opportunity for real-world application.

In 2009, the Obama administration began the Educate to Innovate campaign that aimed to inspire students to shine in STEM subjects. According to projections, by 2018 it is estimated that there will be a need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs ( The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM career opportunities will consist of computing, traditional engineering, physical sciences, life sciences and mathematics. Jobs within the STEM field also pay about twenty-six percent higher than jobs in a non-STEM related career, with a bachelor’s degree.

Seeing as the Fort Myers area was ranked the seventh worst area for the science and technology workforce (Wallet Hub), it is important to expose students in this area to STEM fields in order to build awareness and offer private industry opportunities to develop talented students for jobs. The curriculum also shows students how to apply STEM to everyday issues and helps them to pursue employment in the field.

Saturday’s Parking & Road Closures

It is recommended that you plan ahead for parking since you will more than likely encounter some road closures. We have been told that the Fort Myers Police Department will begin closing streets in the Downtown area around 3pm or before hand if the City of Palms parking garage fills to capacity earlier.

Handicap Parking
Handicap parking will be available in the post office lot on Edwards and Monroe and the County Lot on Monroe until they are full.

Trolley Service
There will be trolley services to the downtown area (by LeeTran) on Saturday, which you can view below.
Downtown Trolley - Edison Festival

Road Closures
2015 Road Closures

To view a full listing of the road closures, visit the Fort Myers Police Department website.