What does Thomas Edison, mid-February and a 2 week party all have in common? The Edison Festival of Light, of course. Each February the City of Ft Myers recognizes its most famous winter resident, Thomas Alva Edison. He built a sprawling home and laboratory along McGregor Boulevard in 1885. Over the years he also encouraged a number of his friends to make the move south. Henry Ford was his most famous friend who shared the property on McGregor Boulevard known as the Edison Ford Estate.
To his honor, we celebrate the man and his accomplishments over a 2-week span. Just some of the goings on that you can attend, see or participate in:
- Inventors, Science and Engineering Fairs
- Hymnal Sings
- Garden Festivals
- Puppy Parades
- Awards Ceremonies
- Craft Shows
- Gala Balls
- 5k Run
- Junior Parade
- Car Shows
As you walk through the grounds of the Edison Ford Estates you will be delighted by their display of exotic tropical plants, trees and flora. Plants, flowers, garden art and supplies are available for purchase. Informational guided tours and audio tours are available to visitors as they tour the estate and museums which include the Ford and Edison homes as well as the Ford antique car collection, keepers cottage, gazebo and so much more.
The culmination of this festival is the Edison Festival of Lights Grand Parade, running down the streets of Fort Myers and onto US-41.
The Grand Parade has the notable historic and characteristic tradition of people “marking” their spots along the parade route weeks in advance, doing nothing more than laying their lawn chairs in the grass or putting masking tape on the sidewalks, to “reserve” their spaces. These “reservations” are honored and revered by everyone and not a chair or piece of tape, would dare be moved or removed.
The Grand Parade is recognized as the largest night-time parade in the southeast United States. Yes, it’s a night time parade!! How else would you celebrate the inventor of the light bulb if you couldn’t decorate your float with them for all to see and admire.