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Meet the 2024 Edison Festival of Light Grand Marshal

Posted at 12:52 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-17 14:17:12-05

The 86th Annual Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade will start Saturday night at 7p.m. The parade is the biggest and longest running in Southwest Florida.

Parade organizers say it will be bigger than previous years with an additional 25 units, such as floats and marching bands. The parade celebrates Edison’s achievements like the light bulb.

The parade route starts at Fort Myers High School, makes its way up US 41 and then to downtown Fort Myers.

The parade has one honoree this year, Mike Gill. Who is also the parade’s Grand Marshall.

Gill says he’s extremely humbled to receive this honor from his hometown. He says, “It takes my breath away. I don’t deserve that. I really don’t.”

He’s worked on the parade for more than 40 years and served as chairman for several years as well. Gill says he grew up marching in the parade.

Gill joined the parade’s administration in 1978. He chose to take a step back this year.

“It’s just been a labor of love, and I’ve loved every minute of it," Gill says.

While he worked on the parade for decades, he’s also taught and coached for 53 years at Bishop Verot Catholic High School where he graduated from in 1968.

A few years back, they mayor awarded him a key to the city for his all his work on the Edison Festival of Light.

Gill says, “It’s my heaven. It’s my happy place you know. There’s no place I’d rather be than Fort Myers.”

This year Gill will ride in the parade with his wife. He told Fox 4, he’s excited to share the parade will his four grandsons.