The City of Naples kicked off Independence Day with a downtown parade, packing the sidewalks with people ready for a Fourth of July celebration.
The parade started at Third Street South and 11th Avenue South, slowly making its way down Fifth Avenue.
“There’s a lot of people like me, you know, putting on the full colors, you know, so it’s awesome,” said Fort Myers resident Dan Appel.
There were floats, music, beads and lots of laughs. WINK News met people visiting the area who happened to stumble upon the celebration. For others, coming downtown for the July Fourth parade is an annual tradition.
Appel spoke to WINK before the parade about what Independence Day means to him.
“I think of [a] Bible verse: ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,'” Appel said. “That’s why we have this, so be thankful, remember what you have, even in the difficult times. When you look at the economy, different things, maybe not the best, but look at all the blessings we have around us. It isn’t greater than this nation, my friend.”
Melody Perez is visiting from San Diego. She happily stumbled upon this celebration.
“I saw this huge celebration with a lot of families,” Perez said. “Everybody seems so excited, so I’m like, yeah, I have to go there.”
The Campbell family believes the fight for freedom started 247 years ago is not yet won.
“Back in 1776, the declaration for freedom that was being made wasn’t made for everyone,” said Jaime Campbell. “It was made for some people, and over the centuries, those freedoms have been expanded, finally, but we’re not yet where we need to be.”
David Campbell feels that freedom has been earned.
“I think about the fact that our independence was fought for and people died for that, and the freedoms that I enjoy now are a result of that,” Campbell said.
Fireworks at the Naples Pier were canceled, but they are happening at the Paradise Coast Sports Complex, located at 3940 City Gate Blvd. N. The gates open at 6 p.m., and parking is free.