Skip to content Skip to footer

In 1885, Thomas Alva Edison built his winter home in Fort Myers, Florida on the Caloosahatchee River. Throughout the 50 years Edison wintered in Fort Myers, he dedicated time in support of local charities and projects. He died in 1931, having successfully received over 1,000 patents for his inventions.

The idea of a celebration to commemorate Edison’s life of achievement evolved into the Edison Pageant of Light in 1938, with a Coronation Ball, a parade, a band concert and a memorial service. The successful three-day event grew, and later increased to a week-long festival, and finally to two full weeks. In 1988, demand for more public events was great, but the Pageant membership struggled to provide enough volunteers to grow the event. The choices were to limit the growth of the public events, or create a new public corporation to assume the responsibility for all events and open them to the public.

In a unanimous vote, the Pageant board elected to turn over all the public events to a new non-profit corporation. This paved the road to the possibilities of civic celebrations in which the entire community could participate. In 1989, the new organization, the Edison Festival of Light, Inc. officially assumed responsibility for all public events celebrating Thomas Edison and the City of Fort Myers.