Christmas Island Style: Everybody loves a parade

Lance Shearer

Everybody loves a parade, they say, and Marco Island is certainly no exception.

Saturday evening, thousands lined San Marco Boulevard under balmy skies and perfect temperatures, as the Christmas Island Style street parade paraded down the street. Dozens of companies, churches, organizations, dance troupes, marching bands and first responders waved to the crowds, performed for the judges at the reviewing stand, and tossed candies to kids along the route from Balfour Drive to Barfield.

Leading the parade was MIPD Chief Tracy Frazzano, fulfilling the Christmas wishes of a lot of kids who had been wondering, “when is someone going to give us some candy?” She did not disappoint, doling out sweets to kids of all ages, including one senior “kid” Linda Thomas.

The police department had a hefty presence in the parade, with units including their Color Guard, beach truck, all-terrain and their “hot car” Dodge Challenger, lights ablaze. They also paraded the MIPD police boat, one of a large number of boats for what is, after all, a street parade. Additional vessels came from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Marco Sportfishing Club, Sail & Power Squadron, Marco Patriots, Real Deal Fishing Charters, Naples Boat Mart and Marco Yacht Sales.

The massive Paradise Cycle Boat Cruises pontoon boat came with a posse of boot-scootin’ dancers, all performing a “Country Christmas.” But perhaps the most notable naval vessel was the submarine, U-728, brought by US Submarine Veterans of Naples.

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Outstanding wheeled vehicles included a massive LCEC utility truck, Keith Pershing of Island Automotive in his root beer-brown ’49 Pontiac, and the whizzing mini-cars of the Araba Shrine drill teams, including the perennial favorites the Flintstones.

Speaking of perennial favorites, marching bands are the heart and soul of a parade, and CIS had two – the MICMS band and the Lely High School Trojans. Both bands received “best” awards from the judges, for “best overall band” (MICMS) and “best marching band” (Lely). The Shriners took the Fruitcake Award for most humorous, the Marco Patriots won for “most patriotic,” and best overall (business) went to Paradise Cycle Cruises.

The best overall (individual/organization) was awarded to the Marco Island Newcomers Club, who brought a large contingent of holiday-attired ladies. The Sunshine Sisters gave them a run for their money, with their women dressed in shimmering diaphanous gowns, each lit up internally with (battery-operated?) multi-colored lights and won for “most entertaining.”

But the evening was more about fun than winning, and everyone who participated, or for that matter spectated, seemed to go home happy. By the time Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus came by in a bright red convertible, waving to all to close the parade, there was nothing left to say but “Merry Christmas!”

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The  2022 CIS street parade winners

  • Best Overall in Parade – Business – Paradise Cycle Cruises
  • Best Overall in Parade – Individual/Organization – Marco Island Newcomers Club
  • Best Holiday Spirit – Marco Presbyterian Church
  • Best Holiday Traditional – San Marco Knights of Columbus
  • Most Original – United States Submarine Veterans – Naples Base
  • Most Entertaining – Sunshine Sisters
  • Most Original featuring Children – Mermaid Tails Dance
  • Best Lighting Display – Marco Island Sportsfishing Club
  • Best Overall Band – Marco Island Charter Middle School
  • Best Marching Band – Lely Trojans Marching Band
  • Most Patriotic – Marco Patriots
  • Fruitcake Award (Most Humorous Display) – ARABA Shrine