Let's see, a parade in the morning, a fireworks display in the evening. What more could you want on the Fourth of July?
How about a lot of picnics? That's what the American Legion and many other organizations are planning Thursday when the nation celebrates its 237th birthday.
The American Legion Post 136 is going to have a full day of festivities beginning at 2 p.m., highlighted by two local bands and enough food to feed an entire battalion.
Commander Frank Taugner said expect a big crowd and bring your appetite, as there will be burgers and hot dogs and all the picnic food you can fit in your belly.
Small Town will take the stage first at 2 p.m., followed by the Burnout Band at 5:30.
"They always draw a big crowd. They play a whole lot of rock 'n' roll that everybody really loves," Taugner said.
Taugner added that all the kids will get free ice cream.
That is followed by the traditional fireworks display, the biggest on the island, an event that is orchestrated and done over both sides of the pond on the Legion grounds, Taugner said.
Taugner encourages people to come and attend, as last year's display was lauded as one of the best yet.
"It's the biggest and only fireworks on the island. People are starting to come here rather than watch on boats or in Sanibel because of the weather," Taugner said. "It's always so iffy in the evening."
The American Legion may have the biggest party on the island, but it won't be the only one. Not everybody has ceded the day to the Legion.
The Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department will hold an open house immediately following the parade. Kids of all ages will get to see, and maybe even get in, the fire trucks. Light refreshments will be served.
Also, Woody's Waterside will host the fifth-annual Early Bird 4th of July BBQ to benefit Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary.
The event goes from 4-7 p.m. Music will be provided by Florida Swamp Music of Yard Dog Charlie.
The Moose Lodge, which will have a 12-foot inflatable moose float at the parade, will follow it immediately with a pig roast at 11 a.m., featuring live entertainment from Joel.
MangoMania 2013 Queen Scarlett will be having an Ice Cream Social for the kids at the Elks Club on the Fourth of July right after the parade. Great Licks will be donating Queenies Homemade Ice Cream for the event and special guest the Hot Flash Dancers will be performing for the crowd.