Edison Fest 2023: Parades, food truck wars, car shows and more things to do (2024)

Charles RunnellsFort Myers News-Press

Get ready to celebrate Fort Myers’ most famous winter resident, Thomas Edison, with a food-truck war, three parades, car shows and a whole lot more.

It’s all part of the 85th annual Edison Festival of Light — more than two weeks of fun that happen every February in Fort Myers.

The Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade and Grand Parade are the two biggest fest events, drawing thousands of people every year to downtown Fort Myers. But there are a lot of other events happening, too.

Here’s a closer look at all the Edison Fest events happening this weekend and later in Fort Myers. For more information, call 334-2999 or visit edisonfestival.org.

What to expect: 2022 Edison Fest grand parade lights up the night in Fort Myers

People of Influence: Thomas Edison

More: Thomas Edison viewed Fort Myers in new light

Strolling Flower Show

Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council transforms the window fronts of downtown Fort Myers businesses for the monthly Art Walk event. 6-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. First Street in downtown Fort Myers.

Antique Car Show

More than 100 antique cars from local clubs and car owners are displayed on Henry Ford’s lawn along the Caloosahatchee River. Plus food, live entertainment, informal tours with living history characters and a Model T tour and lecture with Edison & Ford staff and car owners. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. $20 admission includes access to the museum site. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., downtown Fort Myers. 334-7419 or edisonfordwinterestates.org

Mrs. Edison’s Hymn Sing

Sing along at this 33rd annual event named after Mrs. Mina Edison, wife of famous Fort Myers resident Thomas Edison. The two shows feature the First Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir, guest soloists and more accompanied by piano and organ. 1 and 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. Free admission (although canned goods and/or cash donations are requested to feed the hungry through Community Cooperative’s Sam’s Community Kitchen & Café). First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers, 2438 Second St., downtown Fort Myers. 334-2261 or fpcfortmyers.org

Edison Garden Festival

More than 60 Florida garden vendors display and sell their exotic, tropical and native plants and trees at the annual Edison Garden Festival. Plus you can buy garden supplies and gift items, such as mulch, trellises, pottery, cut flowers, jewelry and artwork. There also will be live music and food trucks. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-12. Free (tours of the Estate homes, museum and lab not included). Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., downtown Fort Myers. edisonfordwinterestates.org

Thomas Edison's Birthday Celebration

Come celebrate the birthday of Thomas Edison, the late inventor and part-time Fort Myers resident who died in 1931. The party includes birthday cake, special guests and a music and dance performance from the students of Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School. 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. Free admission. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., downtown Fort Myers.

STEMtastic Day of Discovery

An award-winning showcase of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) exhibits for local children and their families. Visitors can participate in an indoor and outdoor interactive area with STEM-related exhibits, games and presentations. Plus children performing music, theater and acrobatics on the community stage. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. Free. Caloosa Sound Convention Center at Luminary Hotel & Co., 1375 Monroe St., downtown Fort Myers.

Mutt Strutt

Dogs and dog lovers wear costumes and gather at Centennial Park for a pet parade with a few “doggie floats,” dock jumping, wiener dog races, food, vendors, a look-alike contest and more. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. Free. Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., downtown Fort Myers. To participate, email info@edisonfestival.org.

Edison Food Truck Wars

Experience mouth-watering cuisine from some of the area's most creative food trucks, which will be competing for prizes. Plus craft beers, wine and more will be sold. The day also includes the Edison Kid Zone, ax throwing, cornhole, live entertainment, a deejay and the Break the Bed Races. Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. Free. Food trucks to be announced. The intersection of Edwards Drive and Hendry Street in downtown Fort Myers.

Edison Festival Junior Fun Run

This kids run is open to children in grades 5 and below. Fun run lengths range from 50 to 75 yards to 1 mile. Noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. $5 entry fee includes T-shirt and ribbon (while supplies last). Race starts at First and Lee streets in downtown Fort Myers.

Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade

This smaller version of the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade features kids and their families smiling and waving from floats, wagons, marching bands and more. More than 100 units participate in what’s billed as Florida’s largest youth parade. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Free. The parade starts at First and Monroe streets in downtown Fort Myers.

Junior Coronation & Parade Awards

This awards ceremony for Junior Parade participants takes place right after the Junior Parade. In addition, the Junior King and Queen of the mythical Royal Court of Edisonia are crowned. They'll join the rest of the court on floats during the Grand Parade. 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Free. Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., downtown Fort Myers.

Crafts on the River

Exhibitors display and sell handmade crafts during this non-juried event near the Caloosahatchee River. The three-day event includes jewelry, photography, paintings, sculptures and more. 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17-19. Free. Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., downtown Fort Myers.

Edison Parade Kick-Off Party and Music Walk

Get the party started a day early with popular country act the Ben Allen Band, DJ Memphis and more — all happening during the monthly Music Walk celebration. Music Walk features bands playing at bars and in the street throughout downtown Fort Myers. 5-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. Free. Caloosa Sound Amphitheater in Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., downtown Fort Myers.

Edison Festival of Light 5K Run

This 3.1-mile race travels through downtown Fort Myers. More than 1,400 people take part every year. 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Entry fee is $35 in advance ($20 for youth) and $40 for everybody on race day. Coordinated by the Fort Myers Track Club. Race starts at the intersection of Bay and Jackson streets in downtown Fort Myers. runsignup.com/Race/FL/FortMyers/EdisonFestivalofLight5K

Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade

The gigantic, two-hour parade is considered to be the biggest night parade in the Southeastern United States. Expect local marching bands, floats, local government and law enforcement officials, clowns and much more. 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Free (although various local nonprofits also sell reserved “street seats”). The parade travels from Fort Myers High School to Cleveland Avenue and then north to downtown Fort Myers.

Classic Car Show

Hundreds of hot rods and classic cars line Edwards Drive for this annual event during Crafts on the River. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19. Free. Edwards Drive in downtown Fort Myers.

Cracker Dinner

This annual dinner includes door prizes, live music, a silent auction, a buffet dinner and this year's headliner, acclaimed author Robert N. Macomber, best known for his Honor Series of thrillers about fictional American naval officer Peter Wake. Macomber will speak on the topic “The Adventurous Life and Strange Death of the U.S. Navy Schooner Annie on Our Coast.” Annie was a U.S. Navy blockade ship during the Civil War that captured five ships. The presentation will be accompanied by local singer John Goulet. Cracker Dinner is presented by the Southwest Florida Historical Society. 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. $40. Broadway Palm dinner theater, 1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers. Tickets sold at Broadway Palm. facebook.com/SWFLHS

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells is an arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Email him at crunnells@gannett.com or connect on Facebook (facebook.com/charles.runnells.7), Twitter (@charlesrunnells) and Instagram (@crunnells1). You can also call at 239-335-0368.

Edison Fest 2023: Parades, food truck wars, car shows and more things to do (2024)
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