Published: May 04, 2012 12:24 PM EDT
Updated: May 04, 2012 1:59 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Shriners have come from all over the state of Florida to meet, fellowship, and compete with each other this weekend.  The Florida Shrine Association is holding its annual convention May 2nd through May 5th.  About 500 Shriners from eleven different chapters around the state are in town for the weekend.

On Friday, May 4th, the Florida Association of Shrine Motor Corp holds its annual competition for motorized parade and drill units.  You'll be able to see the different groups performing various maneuvers.  Competition like this helps keep each rider sharp on their parade skills to enhance their performances when they're out in public.  The competition is held at the Old Fort Myers Airport Parking Lot from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Saturday, May 5th, from 8:00 to noon, they hold the Clown competition.  Featuring some award-winning clowns, this includes skits, makeup competition, balloons, tricks, and more.  This is at the Crowne Plaza, in the Captiva Room.

Shriners International is a fraternity based on Masonic principles with about 340,000 members in nearly 200 temples worldwide.  Araba Shriners, based in Fort Myers, started in 1946 and has about a thousand members made up of many season residents.

Shriners are also well known for the 22 pediatric hospitals around the country.  The first Shriners Hospitals for Children was founded in 1922.  The system has since cared for close to a million children and helped train about 8500 pediatric physicians.  Araba Shriners provides transportation to the Tampa orthopeadic hospital for hundreds of active out-patients in southwest Florida.

For more about the Florida Shrine Association go to