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Fifth Marching Mullet Parade draws crowds to Captiva

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

Marching “mulleteers” make their way around the bend to the beach in time for sunset during the fifth Captiva Marching Mullet Parade Memorial Day weekend.

When Dave Jensen contrived the Marching Mullet Parade, it was to bring the Captiva community together with a splash of fun. Inspired by an eclectic group of musicians that gather at the beginning of each year on Captiva Island, the Jensen brothers – Dave, Jimmy and John – transformed old traditions in new ones.

The inaugural Marching Mullet Parade in January achieved abundant success and the Jensen brothers knew the mullets must march each month. On May 28, the fifth parade was held and Captiva found itself captive by hundreds of “marching mullets.”

“I was thrilled with the turn out,” said fellow mullet marcher Vanessa “Queenie” Viglione, who also helped coordinate the event.

Through encouragement from fellow classmate and music director, 13-year-old Ty Christoff, dozens of Fort Myers High School marching band members brought their talent to the island streets, marching down Andy Rosse Lane to the beach near The Mucky Duck restaurant in time for the exquisite Southwest Florida sunset.

“We couldn’t have asked for better island guests,” said Queenie about the impressive band turn out. “I realized just how much bigger the music section was when I saw the tubas.”

The Captiva Marching Mullet Parade ended on the beach in time for the gorgeous Southwest Florida sunset.

Longtime Captiva resident Nancy Oden noted the appropriate music selection for the Memorial Day weekend – a mix of veterans’ medleys brought the meaning of the holiday to the front line of the event. She felt the high school band was “incredible” and was wowed with the crowd on the beach.

“It is the greatest idea ever,” she said about Jensen’s genius.

One islander added a pinch of New Orleans flavor with a string of second liners. This group of people follows the band while carrying decorated umbrellas and white handkerchiefs. Second liners are traditionally found in New Orleans funeral processions. For former Louisiana resident Stella Farwell, it was a spirited event.

“I hope we get more second liners next year,” she said with excitement.

While Dave had no expectations for the parade’s prosperousness, he was elated with the community and band turn out. He said the Captiva Marching Mullet Parade is all about having fun as a community.

Dave Jensen and "Queenie" Viglione, founders of the Marching Mullet Parade.

But Oden said it best: “It’s definitely a tradition worth keeping.”

A sixth parade has not been scheduled, but Dave says the tradition will continue.

Anyone who would like to be a part of the Captiva Marching Mullet Parade mailing list, which will provide future parade dates, can sign up at www.marchingmullet.com.

Phill Urion plays his French horn in the Captiva Marching Mullet Parade.

Sharon Michie, Samantha Price and Erin Klapper.