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2013 Wild Wizard on Edison parade float
2013 Wild Wizard on Edison parade float: Glen "The Wild Wizard" Bietman wore a Go Pro camera during the Edison Festival of Light parade while on the Fort Myers Institute of Technology float, in partnership with The News-Press and Edison Ford Winter Estates. Special to news-press.com
Scenes from the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade and 5K race. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 / Cynthia Roldan/news-press.com

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The latest

10:19 p.m. update

Markesha Kinchen hoisted her 2-year-old daughter wrapped in a puffy, pink, hooded jacket lined with white fur around her face so she could see the oversized eagle perched atop the American Red Cross float.

“Look, a bird!” the Fort Myers mother told her daughter, Jamari Jones, who pointed and gazed wide-eyed at the floats drifting along the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade on Saturday night.

Family tradition is at the heart of this 75th annual festival honoring Fort Myers’ most famous inventor, Thomas Edison.

“I’ve been going since I was 1,” Kinchen, 30, said. “It never gets old.”

The swelling sounds of the Guns and Hoses Pipe Band, the clickety-clacking of the Bayshore Cloggers and the wailing police car sirens created a welcome symphony for thousands of festival-goers.

They wrapped up in blankets and sweaters in the 57-degree weather that felt much colder with 14 mph winds. Parade organizers had to cancel the post-parade fireworks show because of the wind.

7:06 p.m. update

Due to winds, tonight's post-parade fireworks show has been cancelled.

6:34 p.m. update

Matt Crowe, a 22-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University student, took first place. Emily Edwards, a 16-year-old Fort Myers High School student, took first place for female runners.

The preliminary results have Crowe finishing at 15:19.04 and Edwards at 17:44.26.

Check tomorrow's paper for official results.

Jonathan Leigh, 15, Edward Wuster, 16, and Charles Leigh, 51, all of Fort Myers, gulped water after the race.

They ran dressed as a pretty unusual combination: Dracula, Santa and a pirate.

"This is my sixth time doing this race," Charles said. He's the pirate.

"If it was hot, I wouldn't have been able to do it," Jonathan said, dressed as Dracula. "Now my sweat is cooling and it's getting cold."

They've been participating in the Edison Festival of Light for years.

"It's such a tradition, and it's a community event. My son has been watching the parade since he was his age," Charles said, pointing to an 8-year-old boy.

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They love running races too.

" What should we be next year, Dad?" Jonathan said with a laugh.

5:59 p.m. update

The 5k participants are off and running. Bystanders are waiting to see who makes it across first. Stay posted for updates.

4:15 p.m. update

The wind is picking up downtown as racers head to their marks and parade watchers stake their seats for Edison Festival of Light festivities.

Kerstin Harvey of Lehigh Acres brought a jacket to watch her daughter march with the Lehigh Acres High School band. The 75th installment of the Edison parade marks Harvey’s second time as a spectator.

“We did it last year, but the weather was much nicer,” Harvey said as she searched for place to put down her seat.

Meanwhile, runners and speed walkers were headed to the starting line for a pre-parade 5k.

Gus Ormorrd, a power walker who trains with a local club called the Speedsters, said the majority of his group will be dressed as super heroes for the race.

“Today’s a day when they don’t try to win; they pump up the crowd,” Ormorrd said.
The weather conditions, he said, are the same for everyone and shouldn’t make a difference.

“There’s no excuses,” Ormorrd said.

3:26 p.m. update

Edison Festival of Light organizers imported a 30-man band of bagpipers and drum players to march in this year’s parade.

The Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band made the trip from on Ontario, Ca. to play for crowds in tonight’s parade, said bagpipe player John McManus.

A 30-man detachment will blow on bang pipes and bang on a mix of tenor and snare drums, McManus said.

The band is a tradition that started out in 1908, said McManus who joined the band 18 years ago.

“There are people who have played in the band for 28 or 30 years and people who have been in the band for two or three years,” he said.

Flying in town on Thursday, the band played at the Edison & Ford Winter estates last night and scheduled a gig at the Punta Gorda Jazz Festival tomorrow before catching a plane back north Monday, McManus said.

2:52 p.m. update

With four hours left until tonight’s Edison Festival of Light gets underway, parade-revelers are taking to the camp chairs they put in place a week before tonight’s parade.

Filling a wagon with food, drinks and books, the Straley family of Fort Myers retook the seats they set up in the median of Monro

Coming soon: Commemorative iBook

The News-Press Media Group is publishing its first iBook for the iPad to commemorate the 75th annual Edison Festival of Light.

It will include hundreds of images from our archives as well as coverage of the 2013 festivities. One section features the Edison Pageant of Light and every past king and queen of the mythical kingdom known as Edisonia.

There also will be videos and an interactive quiz. Look for more details soon in The News-Press and on news-press.com on how to order the iBook.

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