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Sanibel celebrates the Fourth of July island style

By Staff | Jun 28, 2017

The Sanibel Lighthouse and the Caretaker’s Cottages will be dressed in red, white and blue bunting until July 7. JUDIE ZIMOMRA

This Tuesday, the island will be slam-packed with activities for the Fourth of July. The celebrations begin as early as 7 a.m. and end in the evening. The 27th annual Independence Day 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.

Ric Base, president of the Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce, said one of his favorite aspects about the Fourth of July on Sanibel is the small-town atmosphere that the parade brings.

“It’s something you don’t find in bigger towns,” Base said.

This year, the parade will feature about 50 different floats and a performance from BIG ARTS’ Concert Band.

“We’re anticipating the same amount, if not more,” said Trish Phillips, committee member of Friends of Don.

Friends of Don have put on the parade for the last 24 years. Originally, the parade was initiated by the Sanibel Captiva Board of Realtors.

“Back in ’91 was when they did it. My dad (Don Bissell) was actually the president of the board at that time. He was inspired by traveling the year before to Wisconsin to a little town and they had a hometown-style parade and he thought that would be great for Sanibel. He thought it was an opportunity for the real estate agents to give back to the community,” Phillips said.

Other Fourth of July activities for this year include:

* 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. – free pancake breakfast at the 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 37th annual Road Rally

In addition to the activities on Sanibel, Captiva Cruises will offer a special cruise from 7:30 to 11 p.m. aboard the Lady Chadwick featuring live music and a cash bar. The cruise will depart from McCarthy’s Marina, 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva. The cost is $50 for adults and $30 for children. Advanced reservations are recommended. To book a spot, go to captivacruises.com or call (239) 472-5300.

Also, for the first time in over a century, the Sanibel Lighthouse and the Caretaker’s Cottages will be decorated with red, white and blue bunting.

“The holiday decorations are so popular. The public works staff came up with this on their own and thought it would be a nice thing to do,” said Judie Zimomra, city manager of Sanibel. “People seem very, very happy with it.”

The decorations will be left up until July 7.

The fireworks, which are sponsored by the city, will take place at the north end terminus of Bailey Road at 9 p.m., rain or shine.

“It’s very important to remember on Sanibel that for more than a decade, the discharge of personal fireworks is illegal and we strictly enforce that,” Zimomra said.