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North Fort Myers hosts its own parade of lights

Two times is the charm this year

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Dec 30, 2020

The float ridden by Tami Rucker and her family before the second North Fort Myers Christmas Parade on Sunday.

news@breezenewspapers.com

Area residents so enjoyed the annual North Fort Myers Christmas Parade two weeks ago, they decided to do it again this past Sunday.

The first parade on Dec. 6 was among the biggest they ever had, with more than 200 swamp buggies, pick-up trucks, quads and even buses lit up. Consider it the Edison Festival of Light Parade, North Fort Myers style.

It could have been even bigger had more people known about it, since the North Fort Myers parade usually happened the same weekend as a similar parade in Buckingham, which is the biggest in the area.

This parade, which has been put on since 2013, was a little smaller, but there were still dozens of vehicles lit up, with float participants armed with bags of candy to throw out to the kids along the parade route.

Nobody had to close off streets or get a police escort to go out and have a good time for the kids — just the desire to get into the holiday spirit.

The 11-mile route started on Pritchett Parkway, turned right onto Leetana, made a quick left/right turn onto Rich and Gottardee roads and went right to Nalle Grade Road, right onto Nalle, right onto Henderson, and a quick right/left turn onto Skipper Road, then Dosonte Lane before getting back on Pritchett and the finish line.

For Renee Boyette, it was her first parade as a participant rather than as a spectator. She rode a nicely lit truck.

“I wasn’t on Facebook and didn’t know about the first parade. Friends told me where to get on and when I learned about the second parade, I got some lights and decorated the truck,” Boyette said, adding the vehicles have gotten better and better every year. “It’s as tacky as it gets, but it’s always so much fun.”

Scott Rogowski and his grandchildren have done it several times, including two weeks ago.

“It helps everyone get in the Christmas spirit. We enjoy doing it and spending time with our children and grandkids and get them in the spirit of giving,” Rogowski said.

Tami Rucker was also there with her kids and grandkids. After watching it for years, they decided to build a float they have now used the past three years.

“The kids talk about it all year long and it gets us out in the community. A lot of the people who do this parade go to Buckingham, who originated this parade,” Rucker said. “There were some really cool trucks this year.”