Spots have beem picked out for months, and chairs are set up days in advance for one of the biggest events Southwest Florida has to offer.
The food trucks, axe throwing, rock walls and crafts on the river will all be in downtown Fort Myers for the Edison Felstival of Light parade kick-off party.
The edison festival of light begins on Saturday, but the party starts Friday night.
The Edison Festival of Light has been part of the fabric of Fort Myers for 85 years. It’s a part of Rita Davis’ fabric too.
“I started going as a young person with my mom. And now I bring my own children. And this is the first year that my husband and I will be going just as adults to enjoy it,” said Davis.
Ted Fitzgeorge has been on the board of directors for the festival for 25 years. “I keep trying to get away, and it just doesn’t work. They keep us. It’s like, what did they say in the godfather, ‘you think you’re out, and they just keep pulling you back in’. So it’s pretty exciting.”
The kickoff party Friday night is just a warm up for locals.
For the business owners, it is part of the tradition. “You can see people already showing up people marking their spots where they want to be along the parade route every year. It’s kind of it’s a tradition in Fort Myers,” said Neils Richter, managing partner of six downtown restaurants.
They are excited for the extra traffic, especially after the hurricane.
“It was just amazing to watch neighbors helping neighbors and people on boats in roads growing down the street in a boat rescuing people out of their houses. Those are the people that we’re honoring,” said Fitzgeorge.
“All the lights, the fireworks, it’s sometimes it’s cold. So it just feels like an event you wait all day for to happen in the nighttime makes it extra special.” said Davis.
The Edison Festival of Light begins with a kickoff event on Friday at 5 p.m. The Grand Parade will take place on Saturday from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. WINK meteorologists are honorary grand marshals.
You can find a full list of events from the Festival of Light by clicking here.