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2013 Edison Parade: Running, Rockin' and Rolling
2013 Edison Parade: Running, Rockin' and Rolling: Sights and sounds from the Edison Festival of Light Parade on Saturday in Fort Myers. Video by Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
Reagen Fitzgerald, center, takes part in the Edison Festival Light Grand Parade on the Mad About Edisonia Float. / Andrew West/news-press.com
James Gargano, 14, Joe Merando, 15, and Jordan Merando, 12, pose with the paracord bracelets they sold at the Edison Festival of Light Saturday. / Andrea Rumbaugh/news-press.com
Brianna Sherkus, a Riverdale High senior, and Lauren Taylor, a Florida State University junior, became the first female parade marshals in the 75 year history of Edison Festival of Light parade. / Ashley Smith/news-press.com

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Read the stories and memories shared by parade-goers during Saturday's Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade and 5K race.

Memories paraded past

In a rocking chair atop his trailer bed, Randall Dorsey, 85, squinted as two teens rolled east on Main Street, straddling illuminated skateboards.

“With my eyesight, I’ll be lucky to see anything,” said the cowboy hat-clad Dorsey, a former Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade band director who has attended it for 72 of its 75 years.

He liked it better when stadium lights illuminated the floats, and bands attended from across the state.

Just before this year’s Clydesdale trailer powered past him, Dorsey recalled instructions that filled his headset in the 1950s or early ‘60s: let the big animals roam free.

“Boy, the people went crazy watching those horses clomp through the mud,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey’s son, Jim, and his three granddaughters said they appreciated growing up in a town with rich traditions.

– Lindsay Downey

Sisters seek superheroes

Tampa sisters Lynn, 39, and Leslie Lewis, 34, shivered from the sidelines while they cheered for runners dressed as Dracula and Captain America before the parade began.

“We’re trying to find Wolverine,” Lynn said. “We’re on superhero watch.”

The women, who traveled to Fort Myers for their first Edison parade, hugged ankle-length blankets to their bodies as the costumed runners pounded through the intersection of Main and Monroe streets.

“We’re going to stay and freeze,” Lynn said.

The Lewis women traveled to Fort Myers to check out what is said to be one of the largest nighttime parades in the Southeastern U.S.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how you celebrate Edison’s contributions,” Leslie said. “It’s something to do for the weekend.”

– Lindsay Downey

3 Cousins weave bond

James Gargano, a 14-year-old Fort Myers resident, and his cousins Jordan Merando, 12, and Joe Merando, 15, were selling homemade paracord bracelets at the Edison Festival of Light.

James began making and selling paracord bracelets about a year ago, and his cousins joined in the fun.

They were selling the bracelets Saturday to make some extra cash and to raise money for a mission trip James’ brother will soon take to New York.

His brother, John, is going to help clean and rebuild houses affected by Superstorm Sandy in the northeast part of the U.S.

The bracelets, sold for $5, are two hues of woven paracords. They often sell the bracelets at craft shows, and Jordan said it was fun to be at Saturday’s event.

“It’s kind of fun to be out here because there’s a bunch of vendors and stuff,” she said.

– Andrea Rumbaugh

Blanketed by tradition

Tiffany Danielson, 22, said attending the Edison Festival’s Grand Parade is a tradition for her family. The Cape Coral resident said she’s been front and center along the parade route for at least 18 years and has yet to miss a year.

That’s why temperatures, which fell below 60 by the end of the parade, did not deter her from attending on Saturday; she was bundled up with a thick gray jacket and — to ensure warmth— she was also using a blanket.

As she sat near the end of the route on Edwards Drive, her family laughed and took pictures of her. She didn’t mind. She just knew she wasn’t going to miss the floats.

“You brave it,” she said of the cold.

In addition to the floats, Danielson was looking forward to one thing:

“I love the beads,” she said. “I want the beads.”

– Cynthia Roldan

Cars, candy and beads

Abigail Daisy Burnett swung her multi-colored illuminated sword as she spoke to her friend while waiting for the parade to start on Saturday evening.

While wearing glow-stick eyeglasses over her face painted like a tiger, the 5-year-old said there were many reasons she has attended the Edison Festival’s Grand Parade a whole two times.

“I want to look at cars,” she said. “And floats. And the things they give out: candy.”

Abigail said she really wanted necklaces.

Lots of them.

Especially pink ones — her favorite color.

Someone (friends, her mother said) lent Abigail a scooter so she could play while she waited for the parade to start. It was “very cold,” but she said she’d rather be at the parade than home.

– Cynthia Roldan

Ladies make their mark

Most people standing alongside the streets may not have noticed the history being made by two young ladies in golf carts.

Brianna Sherkus, a Riverdale High senior, and Lauren Taylor, a Florida State University junior, became the first female parade marshals in the 75 year history of Edison Festival of Light parade.

“It’s a big honor,” said Sherkus.

As parade marshals, Sherkus rode behind the Florida Wiener Dog Derby float. Taylor followed behind the Lion’s Club. Both women are familiar with the parade. Their fathers serve as board members for the festival, their families work as volunteers and they’ve each been involved in the Junior Marshal program.

“It’s good to see people’s smiles during the parade,” said Taylor, who is studying biology. “All the floats go by, and everyone, young to old, are all smiles and happy to be there.”

– Ashley A. Smith

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