Swimmers and paddlers hit the water for Freedom Swim in Punta Gorda

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- People in Punta Gorda kicked off their Fourth of July Wednesday morning with a swim in the Peace River. 

Hundreds pulled out their kayaks and even giant floating flamingos for the event. It started on the beach near Gilchrist Park, where swimmers and paddlers made their way out towards the middle of the river, then towards Fisherman’s Village.

Folks who took the plunge say the draw is easy see.

"Just look at all the people having so much fun and enjoying themselves on a beautiful day. 'Course it's beautiful here every day," said participant Bernadette Lyons.

"(We’re) just here for the fun and excitement," said swimmer Amy Barham.

Even those who didn't get in the water had plenty to enjoy, including plenty of food and live music.
 

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