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Island Fourth of July festivities set

July 3, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The annual parade will grace Stringfellow Road as islanders and visitors celebrate the Fourth of July, which will be followed by fireworks later that night at the American Legion.

The theme of the parade this year is "Welcome Home to our Veterans from Afghanistan."

The grand marshals of the event this year are Jeff and Jake Lutz. Jeff enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2006. During his four years of service he went to Iraq, Japan and Southeast Asia.

"It's cool," he said about being asked to be the grand marshal. "It's a privilege I'm honored."

Jeff said he is thankful that the people on the island still know there is a war going on and take the time to welcome them back home.

"It's really cool," he said.

His brother, Jake, who is also a Marine, returned home May 12 after four years of service. Jake did two tours in Afghanistan with the 1st Marine Division. He worked with canines and the bomb detection dogs.

"I was pretty surprised at first," Jake said of being asked to be the grand marshal. "I'm definitely excited."

Individuals usually meet at the Winn-Dixie parking lot around 9 a.m. to set up their floats. 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.

The Elks Lodge will provide hot dogs and cokes for the youngsters who participate in the bicycle parade.

The Legion Riders incorporate the kids in the parade by allowing them to decorate their bicycles and tricycles.

The American Legion will have barbeque and entertainment all day long for the islanders. Once the sun goes down, fireworks will be set off behind the pond at the Legion. The fireworks are free to watch.

Other festivities taking place on the island include:

n Pine Island Moose Lodge will have a hog roast after the parade ends from 12-4 p.m. for members and their guests. The meal includes a roasted hog, baked beans, potato salad and rolls for $7. The Fourth of July event will also include music by Lee Hagan from 1-4 p.m.

n VFW Post 4353 will have hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and baked beans available for $3, from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.



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