Parade, barbecue and fireworks to make July 4th sizzle
The Sanibel community is poised to shine bright and bold for the Independence Day holiday.
Sam Bailey, one of the island’s patriarchs, will be leading Sanibel’s annual Independence Day Parade in his Model T, fireworks will be launched over San Carlos Bay from the north end of Bailey Road, and people will have the chance to prove their driving and problem-solving skills during the 31st annual Road Rally.
So life — the stuff memories of made of — will happen with a bang on Saturday, July 3rd, and Sunday, July 4th.
Local businesses and non-profit organizations will fill the parade with a menagerie of funky, colorful, and history-based floats. Parade-goers can expect an arsenal of overflowing water guns wielded by pint-sized soldiers. But super-soakers and water-filled bazookas are often welcome at the parade since temperatures sizzle this time of year.
Everybody loves a parade
The 20th annual Independence Day Parade will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July. This year’s theme is Freedom Rocks. The parade entourage will begin at Island Inn Road, go down Periwinkle Way and end at Casa Ybel Road. Periwinkle Way will close to all traffic at 9 a.m. T-shirts are on sale at the Bank of the Islands, 1699 Periwinkle Way. T-shirts come in adult and youth sizes. They cost $10. For more information about entries and fees go to Bank of the Islands.
Bailey’s Center will have three floats in this year’s parade. Island patriarch Sam Bailey will be riding in his Model T car.
The parades never get old for Bailey who looks forward to attending them each year.
“I enjoy seeing people happy,” he said. “That’s what its all about.”
And no oil spill in the gulf waters is going to rain on Bailey’s parade or island beaches.
“In spite of all of the controversy I think more and more people are coming to beaches to Florida in the summertime.” he said.
Community House cools things off for parade goers
The Community House is hosting its first Parade Insider allowing people to watch the parade in air conditioning via live video and audio feed. Cool treats are being donated by Dairy Queen of Sanibel and Billy’s Bikes is shouldering the costs of the live feed. The Insider is from 9 a.m. to noon.
Live music, fun and food at the BCMA’s “Backyard BBQ”
The Bailey’s Center Merchants’ Association’s (BCMA) second annual Backyard BBQ will be held on Saturday, July 3.
There will be food, beverages, live music by The Hat Boys, independence smoothies, wine tasting, mule and wagon rides, pictures with Uncle Sam, a dunk tank, a bounce house and waterslide, free face painting and other activities for children and adults.
The fun and family-centered event will begin immediately following the Independence Day parade from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Bailey’s Center on the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.
There will be giveaways from the merchants. There are free raffle tickets at the participating merchants’ locations at the Bailey’s Center.
“We are lining up so many great activities and the event is really coming together. We want to see everyone there,” said Ken Kasten, President of BCMA.
Fireworks to bring bling
Sanibel’s annual Independence Day Fireworks display will begin at dusk, Sunday, July 4th. The fireworks are launched from the north end terminus of Bailey Road. Best viewing of the fireworks display is from the bayside of Sanibel and from any of the Sanibel Causeway Islands.
On Sunday, July 4 The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club is holding its Independence Day Celebration, 949 Sand Castle Road
The following retailers have obtained an annual Retail Holiday Sidewalk Sales permit and may be holding special sidewalk sales over the holiday weekend:
Periwinkle Place Shopping Center, 2075 Periwinkle Way
The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way
Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, 1975-2019 Periwinkle Way
Olde Sanibel Shoppes, 630 Tarpon Bay Road
Seahorse Shopping Center, 362 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel Seashells (www.seashells.com.), 1544 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel Square, 2240 Periwinkle Way
(Press reports contributed to this story.)