On Saturday, June 30, Everglades City kicked off the Collier County patriotic celebrations with a bang. The respectful Opening Ceremony commenced at City Hall with the raising of the colors followed by the booming sound of canon fire. The audience then sang the national anthem and God Bless America in unison. Following the Opening Ceremony, the firehouse hosted a dedication honoring Lt. Tom Mitchell for his tireless effort building the Everglades City Firehouse.
“Hometown Heroes; Everglades Strong,” this year’s theme, befit the Everglades City community that has continued to show their resilience, pride, and patriotism throughout their challenges and rebuilding efforts. The day’s activities honored their country, their community, and their contributions.
“We’ve come back so well. There’s still work to be done, but we are doing great,” remarked Connie Barker as she looked at the crowd. “This is our biggest turnout ever!”
The streets surrounding McLeod Park were filled with excitement and anticipation as a patriotic procession of red, white and blue made its way along the parade route.
Following the parade, the revelers enjoyed complimentary hot dogs and cold drinks provided by the Lions Club at McLeod Park as the little ones delighted in the bounce houses.
“Today, we represent three generations, 13 of us in all, showing our support for this great community. We never miss their 4th of July Celebration or Seafood Festival!” explains the smiling patriarch, Tom Pritchard of Cape Coral. “Everglades City marks the half-way point for my family to meet. We come from Miami, Ft. Myers and Cape Coral. We enjoy mini family vacations during the festivals.”
The festivities concluded with fireworks at 9 PM.