Edison Festival of Lights

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Thomas Edison is most recognized for lighting up the world with his most infamous invention – the light bulb. This year, the Fort Myers River District will celebrate Edison’s accomplishments during the 75th Edison Festival of Lights, February 14-17th and 22nd, 2014.

History of the Edison Festival of Lights

Originally from New Jersey, Edison began heading south to Ft. Myers, Fla. in 1885 for warmer winters. Located along the drifting waters of the Caloosahatchee River, Edison’s estate neighbored the seasonal home of another famous innovator, Henry Ford.

Today, the Edison Estate is a local and historical landmark that is preserved and celebrated annually.

The Edison Festival of Lights attracts every civic group in the area including government officials waving from light-trimmed convertibles, local high school marching bands and spectators holding glow necklaces.

Want good seats? You better arrive early.  Fort Myers residents take this extravaganza seriously, claiming their curbside spots with lawn chairs and picnic supplies way before noon.

The Grand Parade includes a slew of luminous floats sprinkled in flashing and colored lights — in honor of Edison’s inventions. Parade participants dress in colorful costumes and dance to music atop flatbed floats.

You can count on sunny weather and fun-filled activities including:

  • Crafts on the River –  February 14-16, Friday, Saturday 10am – 5pm;  and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm

Centennial Park is transformed into a craft-lovers dream with 100 exhibitors displaying their hand-crafts. The non-juried event delights in old, new and unique items that come from all over the world.

Grab a prime spot in Centennial Park for the Grand Parade and the fireworks by arriving early for daytime entertainment and music.

  • 5K Run February 15, Saturday 5:45pm

This race has gained international notoriety. Well over 1,400 participants and thousands of spectators take over the streets of the Downtown River District. Register your team for this 3.1 mile race for fun and a chance to win cash prizes.

The Grand Parade is a two-hour extravaganza, starting at Fort Myers High Edison Stadium and ending at Fort Myers River District/Downtown. The event is recognized as the largest night parade in the Southeast. Although attendance is free, local non-profit groups sell seats and VIP tickets inside of the Edison Festival of Light’s office.

Presented by the Hot Chili Rods of Cape Coral, hundreds of classic vehicles line Edwards Drive for a day of nostalgia and pride. Enjoy food, beverages, Crafts on the River and the Vintage Market.

  • Mutt Strutt February 16, Sunday (no scheduled time)

A Centennial Park celebration for you and you four-legged friend.

  • Cracker Dinner February 17, Monday 6 pm

Come chow down at the Riverside Community Center.

  • A Night Downtown Benefit Concert with the Screaming Orphans – February 22, Saturday 6 pm

The last event of the celebration located at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

End this activity-filled weekend relaxing and floating on the water in a boat or canoe rental, available at the Royal Shell Port Sanibel Marina. For rental and eco tour information, call the Royal Shell Port Sanibel Marina at 239-437-1660.