Map to Everglades City, courtesy of one of the popular, world famous airboat rides in town.
Sunday I went to the July 4th parade at downtown Everglades City. It's not a big town. Especially now during the summer without the snowbirds. I live a few miles away from there, in a wet, mosquito-laden hammock. I went to the parade because I enjoy the small town atmosphere for July 4th.
The parade was short and small. Several swamp buggies, a few flatbed trucks as non-descript floats. I road Brian Zepeda's Seminole Tribe Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum swamp buggy. It won the first place trophy. You get a lot of respect from people in this town when you have the biggest swamp buggy. The parade ended at the city park with a huge hoard of barefoot kids jumping in the moonwalk or going down the inflatable slide. Seeing how I was way too big for these activities, I departed.
My boss' wife works at Big Cypress Preserve, and was in another swamp buggy in the parade throwing candy to the crowd. She took great pleasure in pelting David Shealy with candy. (See Ochopee, below.)
Everglades City is a place that is out of time, small town America. Fishing and operating airboat rides seem to be the only legitimate businesses there, other than real estate. The Sheriff busted up the drug smuggling and moonshine trade years ago.
Everglades City was the Collier County seat until it was moved to Naples after Hurricane Donna in 1960. The town never was the same since. The former county seat building is now city hall, and undergoing extensive renovation since Hurricane Wilma last year.
Last election I went to my polling place in the Everglades City Hall. The other people of voting age in the room outnumbered me two to one-poll workers. And some barefoot kid doing flog leaps over the chairs. Yep, small town America. I guess the voting crowd was small because you can't vote if you have a felony record, disqualifying a majority of the town's population.