The American Legion will host the 4th of July Parade and fireworks for islanders to enjoy again this year, with events kicking off at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Tom Ruscik said the Legion has been hosting the parade for at least the last eight or nine years.
"The reason we do this is to keep people here on the island, so they don't have to travel into Cape Coral or Fort Myers to have their celebration," he said. "This is another way people can stay on the island and not have to drive off island to see these things."
The theme of the parade this year is "Welcome Home to our Veterans from Afghanistan." This year the grand marshal is Jeff Lutz, a veteran from Afghanistan.
"We try to do something a little different each year," Ruscik said. "Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us, we want to do something for them and give them recognition."
A judging will be held for first, second and third place for the best float decorations.
"We like to see people do patriotic decorations," he said.
Although the number of floats that participate in the parade changes every year, he said they always have participation from the Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, Chamber of Commerce and people from Matlacha and the island.
In addition to the floats, Ruscik said the Legion Riders also incorporate the youngsters in the parade by allowing them to decorate their bicycles or tricycles.
Everyone who participates in the parade, Ruscik said, tends to meet in Winn-Dixie parking lot around 9 a.m. to set up their floats. He said when they drive down Stringfellow Road at 55 mph, it tends to tear up the decorations on the float.
The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. and leave from the south exit of the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza. The parade will head north on Stringfellow Road until Pine Island Road where a left will be made to end at the Elks Lodge parking lot.
"They do soda and hot dogs for the kids," Ruscik said of the Elks Lodge. "All the participants and everyone around are welcome to go in to get something cool to drink or purchase a hot dog and hamburger."
The American Legion, he said, has barbeque and entertainment all day long, which is carried on into the evening until it becomes dark enough for the fireworks to be set off behind the pond.
"It's all free to the public as far as the fireworks go," Ruscik said.
The Legion does receive support from local businesses to offset the cost of putting off the fireworks.
For information, call Ruscik at 283-5270.