3 To Do: Celebrating a nation's birth
Celebrating the Fourth of July ...
1. Saturday in Everglades City
Everglades City is always first! It was the original Collier County seat almost 100 years ago and is the first in the area to celebrate Independence Day.
This year the festivities are on Saturday, July 2, starting at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremony on the steps of City Hall (the old County Courthouse) followed by the Patriotic Parade around the town.
The theme is "Red, White, and Blue" and there are prizes for the best entries which can be anything from golf carts to swamp buggies or decorated floats.
This free family-fun event continues in McLeod Park behind the tennis courts with hot dogs, kiddies' contests, prize-giving, and a raffle. The day is rounded out with spectacular fireworks at 9 p.m. so you can make it a mini-vacation by having a delicious dinner and staying in one of the local hostelries.
2. Fun and fireworks on Marco Island
Alfie Oakes’ Fourth of July American Celebration: The owner of Oakes Farms and Seed to Table hosts an Independence Day party on Little Marco Island, including food, beer and live music by The Joel Fry Band and singer Ira Dean (best known as half of former country duo Trick Pony). From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 2. $45 for transportation to the island ($25 for ages 17 and younger), $35 for food and drinks ($20 for ages 17 and younger). Shuttle service starts at 8 a.m. at Naples Outlet Collection, 6060 Collier Blvd., Naples, or you can show up at the island using your own boat. Tickets: freedom-friday.ticketleap.com/alfie-oakes-2nd-annual-fourth-of-july-american-celebration.
Fireworks at Residents' Beach: In addition to a fun-filled day on the sand, fireworks will launch off the coast of Residents’ Beach at about 9 p.m., Monday, July 4. The fireworks can be seen from along Collier Boulevard and Marco’s beach front. No personal fireworks permitted on the beach. Public parking is located at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Swallow Avenue. Metered parking is $8 per car. Parking on the streets or swales in the South Beach area is prohibited. Information: cityofmarcoisland.com.
3. And in Bonita, Estero
Reading of the Declaration of Independence: At 10 a.m. Saturday, July 2. Estero Historical Society Museum, 9285 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero Park. Gary Israel will sing the national anthem and the Estero Fire Rescue team will raise the flag. Watermelon will be served picnic-style for all attendees following the ceremony.
Bonita parade: Bonita Springs Professional Firefighters Local 3444 hosts the annual parade on Old 41 Road. It includes bands, fife-and-drum corps, floats, military units and more. 9 a.m. Monday, July 4. Free. Old 41 Road will be closed along the parade route from 8:30 a.m. until after the parade. The parade travels along Old 41 Road from Kentucky Street to Rosemary Drive in downtown Bonita Springs. Information: 298-4706 or bonitaspringsparade.com.
Star Spangled Bonita: The annual Fourth of July festival features fireworks, a laser-light show, food and live country music by the Ben Allen Band. 6-9 p.m. Monday, July 4. Free.