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Parade, fireworks and more set for holiday

By Staff | Jul 2, 2019

The islands have a host of activities scheduled to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, including a community parade, in-vehicle scavenger hunt and fireworks show, plus a beach cleanup the day after.

On July 4, the 29th Annual Independence Day Parade will kick off at 9:30 a.m., then the July 4th Celebration at Jerry’s will begin at 10:30 a.m. Teams in the 40th Annual Road Rally will take off from the starting line at noon, and the city of Sanibel’s fireworks display will light up the sky at 9 p.m.

The next day, Keep Lee County Beautiful will host a 5th of July Cleanup on the Sanibel Causeway Islands for people interested in helping to collect the trash and debris left over from the celebrations.


Following Sanibel Community Church’s 4th of July Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., the 29th Annual Independence Day Parade will take place at 9:30 a.m. This year’s theme is “Seas the Day,” and the grand marshal for the parade will be a local non-profit organization, Captains for Clean Water.

“I think it’s become an island tradition, and everybody always looks forward to it every year,” Trish Phillips, a member of the Friends of Don – the volunteer group that organizes the event – said.

“I think we like doing it because it creates that hometown feeling,” she added.

The parade route will start out at Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way. The participants will travel east on Periwinkle and exit at Casa Ybel Road. The route will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. to noon.

One of the participants this year is the Island Band, which will play live.

“They’ve been performing for us now for, I think, this is the third year,” Phillips said.

Island entities like the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Sanibel Sea School are taking part, as well as groups like the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, Sanibel-Captiva ABWA and Cub Scouts.

She noted that Pam Rambo’s Shell Love Bug, of iLoveShelling.com, is back.

Island businesses also get in on the fun, with this year’s participants including ones like the Sanibel Deli & Coffee Factory, The Clam Shack, Love Boat Ice Cream, and The Timbers and Matzaluna.

“So they’ll do their cow car,” Phillips said.

Even citizens – families, a group of friends, condo neighbors – can sign up to participate.

“This year we have a ‘Housewives of Kenzie Island’ group,” she said of one entry.

The Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel Fire and Rescue District and Captiva Island Fire Control District will take part with their vehicles and gear, along with Sanibel City Council members.

Spectators are encouraged to come out early and bring a blanket or beach chair.

Bringing water and wearing sunscreen and bug spray are also suggested.

Parade participants have been known to pass out goodies, so have a bag ready to collect them.

“Come celebrate with all the locals,” Phillips said.

Sanibel Community Park will serve as the designated handicap parking lot for the event.

In order to raise funding to support the following year’s parade, event T-shirts and tank tops are sold leading up to the event. If there are any still available day of, the shirts will be priced at just $10.

Celebration at Jerry’s (subhead)

Jerry’s Foods will hold its annual July 4th Celebration at Jerry’s from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Free and open to the community, it will feature a water slide, dunk tank, bounce house and Slip N’ Slide, along with food and refreshments. The event takes place in the parking lot of the store.

Jerry’s Foods is at 1700 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


Hosted by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, the competition will kick off at noon at Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market, at 703 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel. Limited to 50 vehicles – teams – it entails setting off across the islands to correctly answer as many questions as possible on a list.

“It’s basically a scavenger hunt that’s done from the inside of your car,” club President Stan Howard reported. “It’s the oldest Fourth of July tradition on the islands – and it’s a lot of family fun.”

Proceeds raised from the event will help to fund six college scholarships that the club awards. In addition, the club supports activities for island youths at the Sanibel Recreational Center and more.

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place teams based on a point system.

In addition, one team will be named the Best Decorated Vehicle and receive a prize.

The public is invited to take part in the 50/50 raffle.

If there are any team openings left the day of the rally, the entry fee is $45 and it covers the vehicle, driver, navigator, unlimited crew and one T-shirt. Teams must be on site 20 minutes before noon.

Additional shirts will be available for purchase for $15 each.

The entry form is online at www.sancapoptimist.org.

For more information or to register, contact Randy Carson at 239-699-8739.


Sponsored and funded by the city, the public fireworks show will go off at approximately 9 p.m., weather permitting. The fireworks will be shot from the usual site, the northern end of Bailey Road.

“This is a long-standing tradition for the island and an opportunity to show a patriotic display on Sanibel,” Community Services Department Director Keith Williams said.

The launch site will not be open to the public for viewing.

“There are excellent opportunities on the Causeway Islands,” he said of the top public spot.

“It’s about a 20- to 25-minute show,” Williams added.

He noted that the city has put on the Fourth of July display for several years now.

“We know it’s something our residents and our visitors look forward to,” Williams said.

The public is also reminded that no other fireworks are permitted within the city. An ordinance – which is in effect year-round – prohibits the possession of or firing off of fireworks on Sanibel.


On July 5, residents and visitors are invited to participate in the 5th of July Beach Cleanup on the Causeway Islands from 8 to 10 a.m. Other sites include Bunche Beach and Fort Myers Beach.

Firework debris, sparklers, beer cans, lawn chairs, flip-flops and more will be picked up before they have a chance to pollute the local waterways. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate.

Those interested are encouraged to register at klcb.org/5th-of-july-cleanup.html.

“It does help us with our event planning when volunteers preregister,” Program Coordinator Mike Thomas said. “We like to make sure we have adequate supplies for everyone participating.”

Water, garbage bags, latex gloves and a limited supply of litter sticks will be provided.

“It also lets me plan out with my site leaders how much area we will target on the day of the cleanup,” he added.

A group can register at one time, and the entire process takes less than a minute.

“The registration page will be open until the day of the event,” Thomas said.

Organizers recommended that participants wear sunscreen.