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Sanibel offers an array of activities for the Fourth of July

By Staff | Jun 29, 2016

There was plenty of Red, White and Blue on display on floats during last years Sanibel Fourth of July Parade, as this float participant shows her USA pride. FILE PHOTO

Sanibel will celebrate its 26th annual Independence Day parade on Monday, July 4th. A slew of family-oriented activities will be offered in honor of the holiday.

Celebrations begin as early as 7 a.m. and end in the evening. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m., at Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way at the Bailey’s Center.

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

This year, the parade is doing things a little bit differently. For the first time in many years, the parade will feature a marching band. Brian Bissell, a Cypress Lake High School parent, helped make this a reality.

His father, Don Bissell, was actually one of the founders of Sanibel’s annual Independence Day parade. Bissell, turned to his son Brett, who is a drum major at Cypress Lake High School to see if he could help organize a few of his band friends to march. Brett happily agreed.

“After presentations at several meetings with parents and school administration, everyone agreed we would try. Our goal was to get just 25 of the 60 plus members to form a group good enough to march. As of today, we have over 30,” Bissell said.

The marching band will play three songs as they march along the parade route. Marissa Kotzin, band director of Cypress Lake High School, helped the students with rehearsal.

“It is with much joy and the great spirit that I only wish my mom and dad were here to march alongside their grandson as his group gives back to the community in a perfect way,” Bissell said.

Judie Zimomra, city manager of Sanibel, said that the parade is primarily fueled by the residents.

“If you go to some towns, the city is the one who makes it happen. Here, it’s really driven by the community. It’s a community event put on by the community, for the community,” Zimomra said.

Her favorite part during the whole event is looking down Periwinkle Way and seeing the American flag making its way down the street.

“Nothing says this is my town than standing out on the Fourth of July and celebrating the country’s independence and seeing your own community coming together for something that special,” Zimomra said.

The Fourth of July festivities will conclude with fireworks that are sponsored by the city this year. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m., rain or shine. They will be launched from the north end terminus of Bailey Road.

Other Fourth of July activities include:

7 a.m. – 9 a.m. – Free Pancake Breakfast at Sanibel Community Church

8:30 a.m. – July 4th Community Celebration at Bailey’s

9:30 a.m. – Independence Day Parade

10:30 a.m. July 4th Celebration at Jerry’s

Noon San-Cap Optimist Club’s 36th Annual Road Rally

6 p.m. – July 4th Celebration at Huxter’s Liquors (Live Music)

9 p.m. – Fireworks Display

In addition to those activities, the Veranda of Bailey’s General Store will have a raffle from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to benefit Community Housing & Resources.

Businesses that have already contributed to the raffle baskets include: Island Cinema, Whims, Lily & Co. Jewelers, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Pinnochio’s Original Italian Ice Cream, Photography by Dorothy Wallace, Messy-Bessy, Adventures in Paradise, Watson MacRae Gallery, Schnappers Hots, Island Inn, Captiva Cruises, Tribeca Salon and Sanibel Day Spa.

Raffle tickets are $2 each, three for $5 or 10 for $15 and can be purchased in advance at www.signupforms.com/registrations/7784. Raffle winners will be announced at 1 p.m. You must be present to win.