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Beach prepares for Fourth of July celebration

June 28, 2017
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Earlier this year, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council decided to make the Outstanding Citizen of the Year lead the annual Fourth of July parade as the grand marshal.

So Miffie Greer has been practicing her "queen wave."

"Being a grand marshal was never on my bucket list," she said, chuckling. "I think I'll just smile and wear red, white and blue."

Article Photos

Grand Marshal Miffie Greer practices her wave for the parade.

The annual Fourth of July parade will commence at 10 a.m., beginning at Bay Avenue between the Sea Grape Plaza and the library. Matanzas Pass Bridge will close at 9 a.m.; staging will begin at the Bay Oaks parking area at 7:30 The parade route will continue north to Times Square. The parade typically lasts about an hour, said Sarah Mayher, program coordinator at Bay Oaks.

"We're still taking applications for the parade," she said. "We've extended the deadline. If anyone's worried about getting their payments in, just give us a call, we'll find a way to get them in."

This year, Mayher said the best viewing spots should be anywhere between Bay Avenue and Times Square as there won't be a construction barrier in the way.

Fact Box

If You Go

What: Fourth of July Festivities

When: 10 a.m., parade; 1 to 3 p.m., Times Square activities; evening, fireworks, Tuesday, July 4

Where: Parade begins at School Avenue and ends at Times Square. Activites in Times Square. Fireworks will be shot off Fort Myers Beach pier.

Don't forget! Matanzas Pass Bridge will close to traffic at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 4 for the parade.

It will be one of the first years Greer isn't driving the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) vehicle in the parade. CERT is one of the many community organizations Greer is a part of; she's also an elder at Chapel by the Sea, a member of the Parent Teacher Organization, a former Mound House volunteer and Community Resources Advisory Board member, and actively participates in local government. Earlier this year, she was chosen as the 2016 Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

But to be the leader of the most patriotic parade of the year is almost ironic; Greer spent 30 years living outside the a teacher and administrator for international schools in Singapore and Kenya.

"Your ideas of patriotism change when you are overseas," she said. "You almost become more patriotic. You become loyal and defensive."

Having worked in areas of the world where citizen privileges pale in comparison to the U.S., she said it's easy for most Americans to take for granted the freedoms this country has.

"We have a lot more than we realize," she said.

Despite her worldwide travels - she's been to every continent - her roots in Fort Myers Beach run deep.

She's been coming here since she was a child; she bought her place in 1991; and then retired and moved in full time in 2010.

"I knew I needed water and heat," she said.

Greer may have retired in 2010, but she hasn't slowed down, much. She takes care of two of her grandsons, Dobbins and Jacob, who attend beach school. She volunteers. She attends most town meetings.

A run-in with septicemia and pneumonia stopped her in her tracks last summer, but now with help from a little extra oxygen, she's up and active again.

Her two grandsons will get to ride with her in the parade, up front.

Fourth of July fun won't end when the parade is over. Town staff has planned an afternoon of family-friendly activities in Times Square.

From 1 to 3 p.m., staff will host a watermelon-eating contest, patriotic trivia and cupcake decorating in Times Square. All the events are free. There are different divisions for the watermelon contest - men, women and children - and the town's stocked up on 15 watermelons from Melon 1 in Punta Gorda in preparation.

Mayher said the town's always had something going on in the square for the Fourth, usually a hotdog eating contest, but decided to change it up this year.

"We'll keep it healthier and cleaner this year," she said.

Fireworks are nearly funded for the evening. Jacki Liszak, head of the fundraising group, said they are only a few donations away from the committed $25,000. During the day, the Yucatan Beach Stand on Old San Carlos Road will be holding a fundraising event to kickstart savings for the next fireworks show, too.

"Thanks to everyone for their generosity," she said. "People are amazingly generous, it blows me away."

Fireworks will begin shortly before sunset, or around 8:30 p.m. They will be launched off of the Fort Myers Beach pier.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone enjoys this event," Liszak said.

Celebrate strong, clean up stronger

If you're free Wednesday, July 5, consider chipping in for the Keep Lee County Beautiful day-after beach cleanup. The holiday brings everyone out to the beach to enjoy time off with friends and family, but unfortunately trash is often left behind.

Registration for the cleanup is available at The cleanup will begin at 8 the following locations: Bunche Beach,18201 John Morris Road, Fort Myers; Sanibel Causeway Islands (check in at Bunche Beach); Dog Beach, 8800 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach; Four Corners - Four corners of New Pass Bridge; and Crescent Beach Family Park, 1100 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach. For information call 334-3488 or check the website.



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