The first week of July, Holly Ferguson graduated from nursing school from the State College of Florida, passed her board exams, celebrated her 27th birthday and launched the Fourth of July celebration at Siesta Key Public Beach.
Ferguson may have been born and raised in Sarasota, and seen her share of fireworks on Siesta Key, but she still couldn’t resist the chance to ignite them.
“I saw one of the advertisements for the raffle at Captain Curt’s,” Ferguson said. “I thought that would be so cool, not that I’m 8 years old or anything, but I wanted to do that. I actually started telling people I was going to win before I even entered.”
She shelled out $20 for five raffle tickets, and her friend, Brad Stewart, matched the $20, doubling the number of tickets and her chances at winning. She received a phone call from Dave Magee, July 2, informing her that she’d won the raffle, which, along with the annual fireworks celebration, was hosted by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce.
On July 4, Ferguson strapped on an orange hard hat and was treated to free food and drinks in the VIP pre-party area before trekking out onto the Siesta Key Public Beach to brighten up the sky for the thousands of people sprawled out on the sand.
“You could tell how hard the people at the chamber worked on this,” Ferguson said. “We got the crowd going, and they helped me to do a countdown. I did the symbolic pushing down of the button on the little detonator box after five, four, three, two, one — then the first firework went off! I hope this will grow into something big and they’ll do it every year.”
Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].