Festivals

Southwest Florida is home to more than 30 festivals during the winter season. Here are several we think most interesting:1620801_294995077322510_671116407_n

The Fort Myers Beach Lions Club Shrimp Festival celebrates the Beach as home of one of the nation’s largest shrimp fleets. The event, sponsored by the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club, includes an early morning “Shrimp Run” for elementary school children and the Queen’s Dance that evening.

A 5-K Run kicks of the main weekend on a Saturday in mid-March, with a parade and the crowning of the festival queen. In the afternoon a shrimp boil lasts until early evening.

The shrimp boil (second day – see above) gets underway again in the morning on Sunday at the public park, along with a blessing of the shrimp fleet. In addition to those events, there is an arts and crafts show.

Except for the parade, it all happens at the Lynn Hall Memorial Park at the public beach and pier.

The Edison Festival of Light

is one of the area’s largest and most celebrated annual events, commemorating the birthday of the area’s most famous winter resident, Thomas A. Edison. The festival features three weeks of events in February, culminating with the spectacular Parade of Light through downtown Fort Myers.

Main events include opening ceremonies; a gala ball, a fashion show, the Edison Festival 5-K Race, and Crafts on the River A complete list of events is available from the Edison Festival of Light Office. Phone: (941) 334-2999.

Labelle Swamp Cabbage Festival

Labelle Swamp Cabbage Festival: February. Annual festival celebrating “old Florida,” with a parade, food, arts and crafts booths and contests under towering, spreading live oaks in Barron Park at LaBelle. The featured dish, of course, is swamp cabbage, a right tasty concoction of boiled and seasoned heart of the Sabal, or cabbage palm, which also is the state tree. About an hour’s drive from the Beach and makes a great day trip. Phone: (941)675-0125.

Everglade’s Seafood Festival at Everglades City

About a two-hour drive from the Beach but well worth it. Music, entertainment and an arts and crafts fair. Seafood platters featuring stone crab, for which the area is famous.

German-American Social Club Fest

German-American Social Club Fests celebrate the German-American heritage with German food and beer February, March and April. Hundreds of folks have attended these rollicking affairs for many years. German-American Social Club, 2101 Pine Island Rd., Cape Coral. 283-1400.

Annual Sanibel Shell Fair

Annual Sanibel Shell Fair: March. Show features shell displays and crafts with prizes awarded. Spectacular displays of shells from local waters and all over the world. Food and entertainment. Sanibel Community Center, Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island. Phone: 472-2155.

Pirate Fest

Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest: Don your best pirate gear for this weekend long family-friendly event, which includes a pub crawl, scavenger hunt, live music, talented acts and much more.

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 Annual American Championship of Sand Sculpting

Every year, in November, the Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship comes to beautiful Fort Myers Beach, FL (Estero Island).  The event takes place at the Southern end of the island, just before the Santini Marina Plaza.

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