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Sanibel and Captiva offer Fourth of July festivities, fireworks

By Staff | Jul 1, 2015

Many longstanding traditions of the islands will offer an assortment of family-oriented activities this 4th of July holiday kicking off in the morning and carrying on through the day until an array of colors fill the night sky with a firework show. FILE PHOTO

Many longstanding traditions of the islands will offer an assortment of family-oriented activities this 4th of July holiday kicking off in the morning and carrying on through the day until an array of colors fill the night sky with a firework show.

Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce President Ric Base said the 4th of July celebration will begin with the Independence Day Parade at 9:30 a.m. at Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way at the Bailey’s Center.

Periwinkle Way from Donax Street to Tarpon Bay Road will be closed from 9 a.m. to approximately noon during the parade.

The family-oriented parade, he said will feature 70 to 80 floats.

“A lot of people get involved. It’s a lot of fun,” Base said of the many people bringing chairs and finding a place along the route to sit. “People come year after year.”

Although, Sanibel’s Independence Day Parade is not the Rose Bowl Parade, he said everyone decorates their car, truck or float for the event.

Following the parade, the Sanibel Captiva Optimist Club will hold the 36th Road Rally at noon. The rally takes teams and families around the island searching for clues. Time, mileage and the most correct answers will receive prizes.

The road rally will begin and end at the Timbers Restaurant parking lot on Tarpon Bay Road.

The day of festivities will conclude with a chamber sponsored fireworks display at the causeway at 9 p.m. Base said this is the fourth year the chamber is sponsoring the fireworks show, which has been going on for many years. He said they began sponsoring the fireworks show because they wanted to ensure that it would continue every year.

“People can see it from multiple places around the island and on the causeway,” Base said. “The causeway is the best place to watch it.”

Other locations to watch fireworks include the boat ramp before driving over the Sanibel bridge and around the Lighthouse Beach. He said there is no public viewing at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club this year.

“The city works with us closely and (they are) out full force during the parade and during the fireworks to ensure everyone is safe,” he said.

As of Monday, July 22, Base said the islands are completely booked for the 4th of July weekend in terms of lodging.

“There’s no possibility of getting a room,” he said. “All the beaches are open. All the stores are open and everybody is here to service our residents and guests. (It will be) a great, safe and wonderful weekend.”

South Seas Island Resort will celebrate Independence Day with visitors within the South Seas Welcome Gate.

Marketing Manager Daniel Smock said before Hurricane Charley impacted the island, they held a 4th of July celebration every year.

“This is the second year in a row since Hurricane Charley,” he said, which impacted Southwest Florida in 2004. “We brought it back last year with a great response.”

This year the festivities will kick off Saturday, July 4, at 6 p.m., at South Seas Island Resort, for the Star Spangled Celebration. The celebration will include games, a face painter, balloon artists, many games for the youngsters and such carnival food as corn dogs, hamburgers and cotton candy, as well as drinks.

The popular golf cart parade will begin strolling down South Seas Plantation Road from Chadwick Square at 6:30 p.m. featuring golf carts decorated in red, white and blue. The parade will do a loop around Sunset Beach Park before ending at the west lawn for fireworks.

“They get pretty elaborate with them,” Smock said of the golf carts. “A lot of our repeat guests know the drill . . . lots of red, white and blue.”

This year, he said they are expecting approximately 30 golf carts to participate in the parade, which will last approximately 30-minutes depending on travel time.

First, second and third place winners will be announced after parade participants reach the end of the route.

The celebration will conclude with a fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico at 9 p.m.

Individuals also have the opportunity to watch the fireworks on the water with Captiva Cruises.

Captiva Cruises is offering a special cruise from 7:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. The cruise will be aboard the Lady Chadwick with patriotic music and a full cash bar.

The cruise will depart from McCarthy’s Marina, 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva. It is $45 for adults and $30 for children 12 and younger.

Other 4th of July cruise destinations offered through Captiva Cruises include Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Boca Grande and Cayo Costa, as well as a Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise.

To make reservations, call Captiva Cruises at (239) 472-5300.