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.