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Happy Sweet 16

By Staff | Dec 27, 2011

The Town of Fort Myers Beach turns “sweet 16” on New Year’s Eve. Officials are planning a birthday party to celebrate the town’s incorporation in 1995.

At the near end of the celebration, the Semmer Team and Garden State Fireworks will combine efforts to produce one of the finest and most popular fireworks displays in all of Southwest Florida from the Beach Pier at midnight.

Beach residents and visitors are encouraged to come to Time Square for festivities from noon until the end of the fireworks show Saturday, Dec. 31. Town officials will be handing out traditional free cupcakes from noon to 2 p.m. (or until they run out). Live music is also expected throughout most of the day and evening.

“Local musician Mary Winner will be performing as a solo artist for those two hours, and cupcakes and cookies will be passed out,” said Councilwoman Jo List.

List said other performers are expected to take the stage during the course of the event. Lucky Dog Steve, Tommy V., David Potter and Habitat for Harmony are lined up for live entertainment.

“Music will be played until 4:30 p.m. and will start up again at 6:30 p.m. There will be a two-hour gap during dinnertime,” said List. She and husband, Mark, are founding members of Habitat for Humanity.

The Fort Myers Beach Civic Association has handled the party during past recent years, but is not involved in the coordinating efforts this year. Town officials are hoping that other community organizations will continue the birthday party in the following years.

The annual birthday party recognizes the humble start of a municipality that ordained and established its charter so that Beach residents and business owners can “promote the general welfare and common good of the community by providing the framework for a municipal corporation to exercise municipal home rule powers under the Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida.”

“It is really special to me because the first birthday of the Town is also the first New Year’s Eve my husband and I ever spent on Fort Myers Beach,” said List. “It has a great dual meaning to me personally.”

The Semmer Team fireworks committee, which also puts on the Fourth of July fireworks, is raring to unveil another eye-popping man-built and electronically produced fireworks show from the Beach Pier Saturday when the clock strikes midnight. The team members volunteer their time for the event and pick up any incidental costs relating to it.

The fireworks display is usually less than 10 minutes in length, but packs a punch that keeps residents and visitors coming back year after year. The Town of Fort Myers Beach sponsors it.

As it has for the past 23 years, the team will be partnering with Garden State Fireworks, a team of federally licensed pyrotechnic experts who manufacture their own fireworks. The company is protected by a $5 million liability insurance policy and holds an outstanding safety record.

And, safety is always an important issue when dealing with fireworks.

“We’re proud to be part of their team. They do a wonderful job,” said Joanne Semmer, spokesperson for the Semmer Team. “They are professional and safe. Their safety record is impeccable.”

Special trolley service

New Year’s Eve

Regarding Fort Myers Beach, LeeTran will operate two trolley routes on Saturday, Dec. 31, in honor of New Year’s Eve, according to Joanne Haley of LeeTran. The trolleys will run until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

“There will be four trolleys running on the Beach and five on the park-n-ride (route from Summerlin Square at the Winn-Dixie Plaza to the Beach), she said.

Trolley service from Summerlin Square on the mainland to Bowditch Park at the north end of the island, will run approximately every 40 minutes during the course of the night. The extra vehicles begin routes at 6:30 p.m.

Expect trolleys to provide rides along and off the Beach until long after the fireworks display is over.

Beach trolley service travels on Estero Boulevard from Bowditch Park to Lovers Key State Park.

The adult trolley fare is 50 cents per boarding; the discount fare (seniors 65 and up, disabled persons and students with required I.D.) is 25 cents per boarding. Exact change is required.

For more information, contact LeeTran Customer Service at 533-8726