Jeanette Schoener has attended the Longboat Key Freedom Fest for many years.
And this year won’t be any different. Her three grandchildren will be visiting and plan to participate in the parade, while Schoener watches. The parade is special to the 88-year-old resident for several reasons.
“It’s a special event because they come here to visit me,” Schoener said of her grandchildren.
But the holiday has always held special meaning for Schoener, whose husband and brother were both veterans.
“I like that people remember,” she said. “It’s for all the people who went into battle for them. I know I wouldn’t be here without them.”
The parade has special meaning for many participants. It’s often described as the most charming parade in America — as well as the shortest. This year’s parade will take participants around the same quarter-mile route on Bay Isles Road but will go the distance on charm.
Patriotic people and pups of all ages are invited to line up for the parade at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 4, beginning between Bank of America and SunTrust Bank on Bay Isles Road. Walk or bring your decorated bikes, strollers and wagons.
The parade begins at 9 a.m.; games, prizes and refreshments will follow at Bicentennial Park, near Longboat Key Town Hall. The event will also include a butterfly release organized by the Longboat Key Garden Club.
The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and Longboat Observer are sponsors of Freedom Fest.
“It’s always a wonderful community event that a lot of people look forward to,” said Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Dawn Mims.
IF YOU GO
Longboat Key Freedom Fest
When: Parade lineup begins at 8:30 a.m.; parade begins at 9 a.m.
Where: Parade begins between Bank of America and SunTrust Bank on Bay Isles Road; celebration continues at Bicentennial Park outside of Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.
Contact: Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, 383-2466