One of Southwest Florida’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations is already underway. Since 10 a.m. Friday, people have been heading to Fort Myers Beach to celebrate the holiday.
2021 has been a year full of changes. And, many beachgoers told WINK News that they believe those changes will inevitably follow us into 2022.
For Dan and Macs Nesbit, it’s their first time ringing in the New Year, Fort Myers Beach style. “First time for New Year’s,” Dan said. “Yep, first time for New Year’s,” said Macs.
Macs, and his dad Dan, came down from Minnesota. But just hours before 2022, they took the time to reflect on 2021.
When asked what their biggest challenges were, Dan replied, “COVID.” “Yeahhhh…COVID,” Macs said.
Dan says COVID-19 needs to stay in 2021. “COVID. Ya, we need to get rid of COVID. That’s why we come to Florida because you guys get rid of COVID down here, yeah,” he said laughing.
Putting the challenges of 2021 aside, there is still much to look forward to next year. One of those is spending the new year on Fort Myers Beach with crowds.
“It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of neat. There’s like a… It’s called times square, and there’s a ball and we get to watch the fireworks tonight and just have a good time,” said Macs.
Jacki Liszak is the president and CEO of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. She says these crowds on FMB point to a night to remember.
“Wow. It’s going to be super fun. Super exciting and very, very busy,” Liszak said.
It has been busy all day with the lines of traffic crossing the Matanzas Pass Bridge. And, once you get across, even more traffic is there to greet you.
Melissa Schnieder is the marketing director at Lani Kai. She says she’s seen packed parking lots since morning, hours and hours before the clock strikes midnight.
“Parking is very difficult. Yeah, I would definitely recommend carpooling. We have a really great trolley service. Consider that as well, and yeah, there are out of parking spots, I believe with the hotel, but carpooling absolutely. If you can carpool, if you can use our awesome trolley system, I would definitely recommend that for today,” Schnieder said.
All the people showing up to Fort Myers Beach means they’re all excited for the new year.
“Getting to see the ball drop. We’ve never seen it drop before. And going to watch the fireworks tonight,” said Macs.
“Be safe and just have a great time. That’s what it’s about,” Schneider said.
The trolley service will run until midnight.
One thing to note – Matanzas Pass Bridge will be closed to incoming traffic from midnight to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Big Carlos Pass Bridge will remain open in both directions on the southern end of Fort Myers Beach.