Residents of Pine Island started lining up well before the 10:00am starting time for the Annual 4th of July Parade. The kids were ready for all the candy and beads that the people on the floats throw out. The adults brought plenty of bug spray and chairs to set along the bike path. Those who got set up early got the few shaded spots.
The American Legion Post 136 started planning the parade months in advance. Before the parade all who attended were treated to a continental breakfast donated by our Pine Island Winn-Dixie, they also had a good supply of cold water for those on the floats.
As always the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Department started with a loud bang from their canon, followed by the American Legion Honor Guard. This years Grand Marshal was VFW Post 4353 Commander Richard Adams.
Those attending this year's parade were surprised to see Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott who was on the Sheriff's boat float. Sheriff’s Scott was invited to other communities for the Fourth but when asked by Commander Barry August from the American Legion. Scott said, “ He would be honored to be in the Pine Island Parade”
This year there were 26 groups, which participated in the floats or vehicles. First place float winner was Pine Island Boat Club, the Greater Pine Island Kiwanis Club was honored with second place, which featured a full size Liberty Bell made by Andre’ Mule’, and third place winner was the Pine Island United Methodist Youth Group. 12 youngsters decorated bicycles. The winner was Tommy Van Grinsven, age 6; second place was Tessa Daniels, age 12; third was Isabella Kleinow, age 6.
This year's judges were D.J. Ruscik and Jo de Shaw. Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge 2781 provided hotdogs and soft drinks for the children following the parade. For those who wanted to stay and enjoy a cold one and eat a hot dog or two could enjoy some great entertainment by Art Arway and his bagpipe The Legion, the VFW and the Moose lodges all served lunch. The Legion had bands until 8:30 p.m. The American legion estimated that they had 450-500 customers throughout the day. After the afternoon showers the skies cleared and the fireworks began.