Have you ever celebrated our nation's Independence Day in Collier County? There's so much to do, but the two events that really stand out are the 4th of July Parade downtown and the Fireworks at the beach. I was lucky enough to get to go to the parade this year, and it was AWESOME! We went down to 5th AVE in front of Vergina at about 9:30am and waited for the parade floats to turn the corner down on 3rd St S. *Note: If you happen to be staying in Naples during the 4th next year, the Inn on 5th has a spectacular view of the entire parade, which passes right by the entrance to the hotel.*
There was so much buzz: Kids playing with one another in the street, adults taking patriotic group pictures, the same kids reluctantly taking family photos in their coordinating red white and blue outfits. It was such a fun atmosphere! One little boy kept excitedly running up to me every five minutes to ask what time it was, anxiously waiting to see the first parade float off in the distance.
When it was time, you could hear the music and the rumble of the motorcycles as they headed our way. So many red white and blue cars and trucks packed full with our local veterans waving to the crowd as they passed by. There were floats throwing candy to the kids and beads, some passing out water (it was HOT!). There was even a collection of Flintstone mobiles, which sounded like converted go-karts, and came complete with a guy holding a Fred Flintstone club.
It's always such a great treat seeing our community come together to celebrate. Everyone from the local politicians with their campaign cars to the local football team marching not too far behind the Rotary Club truck which was towing an entire band, you really felt like the whole of Naples was there to say "Happy Birthday America!"
Check out some of the photos we got from the parade: