Some of my fondest memories while growing up in Everglades City is each year celebrating the Fourth of July. The city celebrates the weekend before the actual holiday, so the locals as well as others can come enjoy the festivities. We start the celebration each year by kicking off with a parade that starts around 10 AM, filled with floats, antique cars, swamp buggies, airboats, golf carts, firetrucks, police cars and police horses. The parade travels around the center of the city, so the participants can wave and throw candy or other goodies at the crowds of children and people on the side of the streets.
My family and I usually decorate our golf cart from top to bottom in red, white and blue to enter in the parade. When I was in school the cheerleaders used to dress up in our uniforms and walk in the parade, pom poms in hand to support the school and town.
Over at our park there are fun games, entertainment and food such as hot dogs and cold drinks. Each year there is also a “Little Miss and Mister Firecracker” contest where parents can enter their patriotically dressed kids to win prizes. The children of Everglades City are always so adorable dressed in red, white and blue.
The holiday brings together the locals that haven’t seen each other in a while to mingle and catch up with each other. Usually there are arts and crafts booths set up down the pavilion at the park, for people to browse and buy a souvenir to take with them. Some of the locals also make cakes and other delicious sweets to raffle off as prizes to help support the community. After the festivities, parade and raffle winners are announced everyone goes home to relax and cool off from the summer heat until it reaches 8:30 PM, which is when everyone comes back to go to the open field beside Island Café to watch the most spectacular fireworks display that any small town could ever imagine having. Both businesses and individuals donate to our local firework funds each year so we can have a firework display.
I always remember how fun it is to come together at the end of the day with my friends and family to sit on the tailgates of our trucks and watch the sky light up with beautiful, striking colors.
If you didn’t get to enjoy our festivities this year, I highly recommend putting down the date in your calendar for next year and come celebrate a fun, patriotic day with an amazing firework show in the Everglades.
University of Florida student Savannah Oglesby has lived in Everglades City her entire life. A lover of nature; some of her favorite things are sunsets, night lightning and mountains. She enjoys adventures and spending time with family, friends and two orange tabby cats. She also enjoys travelling, taking photos of nature, learning about extreme weather and seeing the world in different perspectives. Savannah’s love for Everglades City, and its history, is endless.