FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The music world mourned the passing of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, affectionately known as the "King of Escapism," on September 1, 2023. The legend, who serenaded generations with his breezy, paradise-inspired tracks, was 76.
Cruisin' Tikis Fort Myers Beach, along with various tiki boat bars, orchestrated a vibrant waterfront parade titled '5 O'clock Somewhere' to pay homage to Buffett. Scores of fans from across Southwest Florida congregated, margaritas in tow, echoing the tunes that once defined their sun-soaked escapades.
Mary Dahl, a Fort Myers resident and ardent Buffett admirer, remarked, "We're here with margaritas, just hoping to celebrate Jimmy's legacy."
The event provided an apt platform for fans to bid farewell. Nick Becker from Cruisin' Tikis Fort Myers Beach noted the profound influence Buffett had in the region. "His passing was a shock to all of us," Becker stated.
Cruisin' Tikis has deep-rooted ties with the artist. Originating in Key West under the aegis of Greg Darby, a staunch Buffett supporter, the tiki boats owe their existence to the combined vision of Darby and Buffett.
Becker estimates that over 100 individuals participated in the tribute. "What better way to honor his memory than being out on the water, sipping margaritas?" he mused.
While the main festivities unfolded on the waves, shoreline spectators also partook in the tribute. Dahl reflected on Buffett's untimely passing: "He lived life to the fullest. It just seemed too soon."
In the coming months, Fort Myers Beach will witness the launch of the Margaritaville Resort, inspired by Buffett himself. The resort is slated to begin operations on February 1, 2024, and has started accepting reservations, according to its official website.
Ralph Kertz, who attended the parade, expressed optimism about the resort's launch, anticipating it to usher in a new wave of attractions to the locale.
This story was first reported by FOX 4 News Southwest Florida.