Edison Junior Parade returns to downtown Fort Myers (2024)

Charles Runnells|The News-Press

Before the big parade, there’s the little parade — complete with little people walking and rolling through downtown Fort Myers.

The Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade is back again this Sunday, featuring thousands of kids riding strollers, bicycles, wagons, floats and more along the approximately one-mile parade route. Plus there will be marching bands, dancing groups and other walking units.

“What makes it special is it’s about the kids,” said Kevin Anderson, president of the board of directors for the Edison Festival of Light. “This is the chance to see some of our youngest residents celebrating one of our most famous residents.”

Edison Junior Parade returns to downtown Fort Myers (3)

Edison Junior Parade returns to downtown Fort Myers (4)

Marching bands perform at Junior Parade

Marching bands from, Island Coast High School, Cape Coral, Mariner, North Fort Myers, Riverdale, and Ida Baker perform at the Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade.

The Junior Parade is part of the annualEdison Festival of Light. The month-long event celebrates former Fort Myers resident Thomas Edison, the inventor of the first commercial light bulb, and culminates Feb. 18 with the massive Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade.

The Junior Parade attracts about 5,000 people every year to either watch the parade or participate in it, Anderson says.

Some participants have been taking part in the parade for several generations, Anderson says. “We have families who have participated for about 30 years.”

Here’s more about the Junior Parade and other upcoming Edison Fest events:

Friday and Saturday

Thomas Edison's Birthday PartyCome celebrate the birthday of the late inventor and part-time Fort Myers resident. The partyincludes birthday cake, a singing of the “Happy Birthday” song and a science presentation by the Edison Wild Wizard and “Thomas Edison,” himself. Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School students will dance and play stringed instruments. 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Free admission. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., downtown Fort Myers.


STEMtastic Day of Discovery STEMtastic Day of Discovery is 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. There will also be children performing music, theater and acrobatics on the community stage. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park indowntown Fort Myers.

Mutt StruttDogs and dog lovers get together for a day of food, fun and the title event — a parade in which dogs and their owners wear costumes and sometimes appear on floats. Medals are awarded for various categories. 3-7 p.m. Free to attend. Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers.

Food Trucks & Craft Beer FestivalThis annual event features craft beer, local bandsand seven food trucks. 2-9 p.m. Free admission. The corner of Edwards Drive and Hendry Street in downtown Fort Myers.

Saturday and Sunday

Edison Garden FestivalThe annual fest features dozens of plant and garden vendors with booths under the trees around the museum and lab. Shop for hard-to-find plants that grow successfully in Southwest Florida. The Edison Garden Shoppe will have native Florida plants and heirloom plants from Thomas Edison's garden, plus vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Plant vendors and museum horticulturists will be on hand to answer gardening questions and help with plant selections. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free admission. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., downtown Fort Myers. 334-7419 or edisonfordwinterestates.org


Edison Festival of LightJuniorParadeThis smaller version of theEdison Festival of LightGrand Parade features kids and their families smiling and waving from floats, wagons, marching bands and more. 2:30-4 p.m. Free. The parade starts at First and Heitman streets in downtown Fort Myers.

Edison FestivalJuniorFun RunThe annual kids run takes place before theJuniorParade and is open to children in grades 5 and below. Run lengths range from 50 to 75 yards to 1 mile. 1-2 p.m. $7entry fee includes T-shirt and ribbon. People are urged to register early at the festival office. On race day, you can preregister starting at 10:30 a.m. Race takes place at First and Jackson streets in downtown Fort Myers

Friday, Feb. 17

Music Walk Downtown Fort Myers comes alive with music at this monthly celebration with bands in the streets and inside the bars and venues. Two bands will perform on the Festival of Light stage: The Tucci Bandfrom 6-7:30 p.m. and SOWFLO from 8-10 p.m. Music Walk takes place 6-10 p.m. on the third Friday of every month. Free. Downtown Fort Myers. downtownfortmyers.com/music_walk

Friday through Sunday, Feb. 17-19

Edison Festival Crafts on the RiverOne hundred exhibitors display and sell handmade crafts during this annual event. Items include jewelry, quilts, note cards, pottery, sculptures and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Sunday. Free admission. Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.

Saturday, Feb. 18

Edison Festival of LightGrand ParadeThe gigantic, two-hour parade returns with more marching bands, elaborate floats, government officials, law enforcement officials, clowns and other sights.7 p.m. Free.The parade travels from Fort Myers High School to Cleveland Avenue and then north to downtown Fort Myers.

Edison Festival of Light5KThis annual race travels through downtown Fort Myers and Cleveland Avenue. More than 1,400 people take part. 5:45 p.m. Coordinated by the Fort Myers Track Club. Entry fee is $25-$40. The run begins at Edwards Drive and Lee Street in downtown Fort Myers. Register at the festival office or online at edisonfestival.org.

Edison Festival Parade Celebration The annual party features food, crafts, local bands and other entertainment. It culminates in fireworks at 7 p.m. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.

Sunday, Feb. 19

Classic Car ShowEdwards Drive will be lined with classic cars. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.

Monday, Feb. 20

Cracker DinnerEnjoy dinner and entertainment with Fort Myers attorney, comedian and storyteller Tom Chase. Includes door prizes, live music, a silent auction and more. Presented by the Southwest Florida Historical Society. 5:30 p.m. $35. Broadway Palm dinner theater, 1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers. 939-4044

For more information on the Edison Festival of Light, call 334-7419 or visit edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Connect with this reporter:Charles Runnells (News-Press) (Facebook),@charlesrunnells (Twitter),@crunnells1 (Instagram)

Edison Junior Parade returns to downtown Fort Myers (2024)
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