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 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 INFORMATION:

Photo courtesy of the Edison Festival of Light

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Grand Parade Award Winners

The following entries received awards at the 2016 Grand Parade:

North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts
San Carlos Park Elementary School
Moore Haven Senior Citizens
Gulf Coast Baptist Church
Evangelical Christian School
Hernando Desoto
Galloway Family of Dealerships
Florida Southwestern
Rotary International
Hodges University
Bayshore Elementary School Cloggers
North Fort Myers High School
Dixie Roadhouse
German American Club
Stokes Marine
St. Michael Lutheran School
Cigar Bar
Inventing Brighter Futures for Children with Congenital Heart Disease
Tempco Pest Control
Florida Lottery
American Red Cross

Grand Parade Awards

The following participants won awards for their Grand Parade entries:

First Place Awards:
Bayshore Elementary
DR Horton
Florida Weekly
Galloway Family of Dealerships
Littleton Elementary
Miniature Horses
North Fort Myers Acedmy for the Arts
Salty Sams Pirate Cruise
Wells Fargo Stagecoach
Whispering Pines Clydesdales & Carriage

Honorable Mention Awards:
Dixie Roadhouse
Florida Forestry Service
Florida Power & Light Commercial Float
FPL 1925 Mack Truck
FPL Hybrid Bucket Truck
Florida Southwestern University
Hodges University
LCEC Service Truck
North Fort Myers High School float
Rheem Team
San Carlos Park Elementary
Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair
Southwest Florida Living Historians Military Vehicles
Southwest Florida Youth Bowling Association
Swamp Buggy Races

2015 Honorary Grand Marshal

77th anniversary celebration

Fort Myers, Florida – The Edison Festival of Light Committee and program sponsor Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz are proud to distinguish Kathryn Kelly as the Honorary Grand Marshal of the Grand Parade of Light set to take place on February 21st.

Nominations were submitted by community members wishing to recognize exemplary altruistic individuals and reviewed by the committee. Founder of the Heights Foundation, Kelly has made a lasting impact on the community through the foundation’s educational programs, holiday outreach events and more. Described by her peers as an inspiration, Kelley has been committed to improving the lives of those around her by helping to develop strong independent families in our community.

As Honorary Grand Marshal, Kelly will be spotlighted in the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade. In addition, Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz will make a contribution to the Heights Foundation in Kelley’s honor.

The Grand Parade of Light is a two-hour extravaganza featuring national & local marching bands, unique floats and giant balloons, local government and law enforcement officials and more. The parade, which has gained recognition as the largest night parade in the south east, brings the entire community out in celebration of the life and achievements of winter resident, Thomas Edison. This event is FREE to the public and will take place on February 21st beginning at Fort Myers High School at 7:00 pm and concluding in the downtown River District. A Grand Parade Party and concert on the River with live entertainment the day of the parade is also FREE to the public! The fun begins at 11am!

Goldstein, Buckley, Chechman, Rice and Purtz