Lighting up Times Square showcasing Fort Myers Beach rebuilding process after Ian

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Paul Dolan

Lighting up Times Square bringing the focus of the town back to the community, fun, and a uniquely special environment, which is what it’s known for best.

Santa Claus is coming to the town of Fort Myers Beach which is a welcomed sight. Especially for people who love the town that was decimated by Hurricane Ian.

“It’s hard to even know what was where,” Lee County resident Eloise Meadows said.

“To see none of it here anymore, it’s um… not easy,” Lee County resident Nancy Zeedyk said.

Decorations at the event. CREDIT: WINK News

But the path to rebuilding begins with hope, and that’s what organizer, Janeen Paulauskis, hopes it provides.

“We did this in a week, six days. Permits went through, reviews went through because everybody wanted to make this happen. Again, we are a family here and we are FMB and we’re resilient,” Paulauskis said.

Paulauskis has deep personal roots in the island and says a lot of people who love the place came together to make the free Christmas event a reality.

“This is three months later and, you know, we’re doing concerts in the square and we’re doing this Christmas event. So, the community is strong,” Paulauskis said.

Silhouettes of some of the people at the event. CREDIT: WINK News

It means a lot to the crowd of people that were there, although Christmas doesn’t feel the same this year, people say having an event like this reminds them of what they love most about the community.

“We’re here to support the rebuilding of this beach. We absolutely miss it already. This was our go-to place,” Chicago resident Paul Kosiek, said.

The entire choreographed light and music show was set up for free by the company, Twilight Features, from the east coast.

Many in the crowd said it felt like something they would have enjoyed last Christmas and they’re happy to see Fort Myers Beach on the road to rebuilding.

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