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Parade, fireworks included in on-island Fourth of July plans

June 27, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The islands are planning a host of activities to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday coming up, including a community parade featuring dozens of participants and a fireworks show.

The 28th Annual Independence Day Parade will take place at 9:30 a.m., starting out from Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way. The route travels down Periwinkle, before existing at Casa Ybel Road.

"We think it's a great opportunity for families to get together over the holiday and celebrate our independence," Trish Phillips, member of the organizing group called Friends of Don, said.

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"It's a nice little island tradition," she added.

Sponsored by the city of Sanibel, with a monetary contribution by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, the fireworks display will go off at 9 p.m. at the end of Bailey Road.

"There is nothing more patriotic than a small-town community, Independence Day celebration," City Manager Judie Zimomra said.

Fact Box

If you go


28th Annual Independence Day Parade


July 4 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.


Along Periwinkle Way, from Tarpon Bay Road to Casa Ybel Road


Free and open to the community


If you go


Fourth of July fireworks display


July 4 at 9 p.m.


End of Bailey Road


Free and open to the community

She reminded the public that no other fireworks are permitted per city ordinance.

"Because of our local birds and wildlife," Zimomra said.

The grand marshal for this year's parade is the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. The theme selected for the 2018 event, which CROW helped to pick out, will be "Wild About America."

"They're celebrating their 50th anniversary," Phillips said.

The parade lasts for about two hours and there were 60 entries last year.

"One entry could have three vehicles or a couple different trucks or trailers," she said.

Phillips explained that American Legion Post 123 and its Color Guard will kick off the line of participants. In the past, the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District and Captiva Island Fire Control District have both taken part, as well as the Sanibel Police Department and Lee County Sheriff's Office.

"The (Lee County) Port Authority will sometimes come out," she said.

Service groups, like the Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva and Sanibel Captiva Charter Chapter of the American Business Women's Association, have taken part alongside the Boy Scouts, Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, family floats and others. Island businesses also make sure to get in on the fun.

"We had the BIG ARTS Concert Band, which was a real treat to have live music," Phillips said.

She recommended that attendees a bring bag to collect goodies thrown from the floats.

"They provide lots of sweet treats and giveaway items," Phillips said. "Necklaces, candy."

Bringing a hat or an umbrella is also advised, along with sunscreen and bug spray.

"Definitely some chairs while you wait," she said. "Get to your spot early, so you're not stuck."

Periwinkle will be closed from Donax Street to Tarpon Bay from 9 a.m. until about noon.

The participants are encouraged to decorate their floats for a contest.

Awards will be handed out for: best float for commercial, small entry, not-for-profit and family; best salute to the U.S. military; most patriotic; best nature theme; best original design; and best music.

"It's usually one winner in each category," Phillips said. "They get a plaque."

Afterward, the annual July 4th Celebration at Jerry's will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot, at 1700 Periwinkle Way. There will be water slides, dunk tanks, inflatables and more.

The Sanibel Captiva Board of Realtors originally started the parade, before deciding after the first couple of years that it no longer wanted to run the event. Phillips explained that the community did not want to lose the tradition, so Friends of Don was founded and has been organizing the event since.

Event T-shirts, which are currently available, are sold to help fund the parade.

"We sell the T-shirts to help us get ready to have the funding to start planning and preparing for next year's parade," she said. "We do have people who have been collecting these since the start."

For just $10 each, the T-shirts and tank tops are available in small to extra extra large and can be purchased at the Bank of the Islands branch on Sanibel, located at 1699 Periwinkle Way.

"T-shirt prices haven't gone up since we started this," Phillips said.

Any leftover shirts will be sold day of along the parade route.

She noted that organizers are always in need of extra volunteers for the event. Anyone interested in helping out with this year's parade can contact Trish Phillips at 239-246-2981 for more details.

The community is encouraged to come out.

"It's a great island event, it's an old-fashioned tradition," she said. "It's just a lot of fun and gets you into the spirit of things for the day."

For more information about the parade and participation, contact Phillips.



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