Everything is in place for another festive and fun-filled Independence Day celebration on Marco Island and throughout the surrounding area.
As is tradition, the island’s day-long slate of 4th of July activities will be centered on Residents’ Beach where there will be music, food and beverages, games and contests during a day that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display over the water.
“Hopefully it will be sunny with some cloud cover, but no rain,” said Ruth McCann, executive director of the Marco Island Civic Association. “It’s a great family day on the beach. It’s a great time to reconnect with our friends and neighbors who we really haven’t spent a lot of time with since last summer.”
The day will be a mix of old favorites, such as music from DJ Ken Hodgdon of Southwest Florida Entertainment, along with new activities for all ages.
Returning is the annual sandcastle contest. Contestants should register at the MICA tent and judging will take place around 4 PM.
Children can look forward to face painting, and tug-of-war, hula-hoop and limbo contests and there’ll be new games to entertain them; egg toss and cornhole. There’ll also be a new craft, rock painting and for the first time, a patriotic costume contest, with the winner taking home a prize.
“We’re going to have the kids do a patriotic design that we’ll hide on the property and they can search for them,” said McCann. They’ll also be able to take the rock they decorated home with them.
The games will start at 2 PM rather than the usual 12:30 or 1 PM.
“We’re starting them a little later this year because we wanted to have more kids on the beach,” said McCann.
For a hotdog eating contest, fans will have to head to Coney Island this summer, because the event has been discontinued this year for Marco’s 4th of July celebration.
Fireworks will again begin around 9 PM.
Everyone attending must have a Residents Beach membership or be with a member, and overflow parking will be available nearby at San Marco Catholic Church, on San Marco Road.
MICA donated $5,000 of $52,000 required for the fireworks display. The city is donating $26,000, while the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce is raising the remaining funds.
“This year, we’re almost at our goal,” Dianna Dohm, the Chamber’s executive director, said recently. “We’re about $7,000 short and the remainder always comes in the last couple of weeks before the holiday. It amazes me the amount of money that is donated by residents who simply love the fireworks.”
McCann praised the community for always coming through to finance the display.
“We can always count on Marco residents and businesses to step forward and do their part to ensure that we have a wonderful fireworks display celebrating our nation’s Independence Day,” she said.
To donate, makes checks to “the MICC – Fireworks” and mail to Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, 1102 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, Fl. 34145, or simply drop them off at the office. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information about the city’s 4th of July celebration, visit marcocivic.com or call MICA at 239-642-7778.
In Naples, the festivities kick off with a parade that begins at 10 AM and wends its way through the downtown along Broad Avenue South, 3rd Street South and 5th Avenue South, 8th Street South past City Hall.
The city’s 4th of July fireworks will begin at 9 PM at the Naples Pier and feature a 20-minute display with special effects musically choreographed to patriotic selections simulcast on WAVV 101.1 FM.
People are invited to bring chairs or blankets to viewing spots in town because the fireworks can be seen all along the beach.
The display will be viewable live at naplespanorama.org.
For more information, visit naplesgov.com/parksrec/page/naples-4th-july-fireworks.
In East Naples, the Collier County Parks and Recreation Division and its Veterans Services Division will host a free 4th of July Celebration at Sugden Regional Park, from 4 to 10 PM.
There is an ice-cream social from 4 to 6 PM, with food and beverages available for purchase and a DJ entertaining throughout. It is suggested you bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating during the fireworks, which start at 9:15 PM.
Pets are not permitted and neither are coolers after 5 PM. Parking is off-site, except for handicapped parking.
Sugden Regional Park is located at 4284 Avalon Drive. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation department at 239-252-4000 or visit www.collierparks.com.
Befitting its status as Collier County’s first county seat, Everglades City will also be the first to celebrate Independence Day with its annual family-fun festival set for Saturday, June 30.
The opening ceremony begins at 10 AM on the steps of city hall; the old county courthouse, located at 102 Copeland Ave. It will be followed at 10:30 AM by the dedication of the fire station, which was restored after Hurricane Irma in honor of Lt. Tommy Mitchell.
Next, starting at 10:45 AM, is the Patriotic Parade. This year’s theme is “Hometown Heroes; Everglades Strong.” There are prizes for the best entries which can be anything from golf carts to swamp buggies. The Friends of Fakahatchee tram will carry dignitaries and historical re-enactors.
McLeod Park, located at 208 South Copeland Ave., will be the spot hotdogs and sodas, a bake sale, face painting, arts and crafts vendors, raffles, a kiddies’ best-dressed contest and playground games, starting at 11 AM.
The grand finale, a musical fireworks display will begin at 9 PM.
For more information call Dottie at 239-695-3781 or visit evergladeshistorical.org.