The sand of Fort Myers Beach is about to get much, much hotter, as the Cincinnati Firemen return for their annual Spring Break celebration, hosting daily fund-raising variety shows along the beach stage of the Lani Kai from March 5 to 15 (no show on the 11th), starting right around 1:30 p.m.
Twenty-seven Cincy firemen will be gracing the sands while putting on hilarious and entertaining variety shows, with choreographed dances featuring some of the latest songs and movies that are currently out as well as some fan-favorites of the past.
An annual spring-breakin' pilgrimage south, Angelo "Scar" Scarlato, leader of the spring-breaking group since first coming down to the island in the '90s, is eager to share a few hints and teasers into what's expected to be seen (and heard, and felt) during the smeltering shows.
"We have two or three new skits. 'Thriller' is making its return after a year or two on hiatus, with many more guys performing it than ever before. 'Grease' will be done with a possible twist? And look forward to Kid Rock, Elvis, Tom Jones, HOT firemen, and many other favorites that will make a return," he teased. "We have eight new guys joining us this year, and four who haven't been down in a few years, along with 15 'regulars' returning, for a total of 27. Usually I have several guys call me the last week and want to go, so we could easily be over 30 strong this year."
Fellow Cincy fireman Jeff Yount is the lead choreographer of the annual fund-raising shows, and lots of hard work and dedication is put into every skit and every song, with several practices taking place up north before the boys head down to the island. Costumes are made by hand by Scar's mom, which is a good thing, because lots of these 'stumes can't be found anywhere else!
And, as every year, the firemen are sure to put these shows to good use, raising funds for local non-profit charities throughout Southwest Florida.
"We are pleased to once again be raising funds for the ARABA?Shriners this year," Scar said. "They are a CLASS A local charitable organization that helps children in the nine local counties of Southwest Florida; a transportation unit getting kids and their families to Shriner hospitals across the country, depending on the care the child needs. We are more than happy to help them again this year."
Passing boots around during their almost daily shows (no show March 11 for Shrimp Fest), these boys don't just raise a few bucks here and there for the cause. Every year since the shows went "viral" and the boys started raising funds for local charities, they easily raise more than $10,000 within the two weeks they're down.
"We are really hoping to beat last year's record total of $14,237," Scar said.
If you're looking for some merch for your donation, look no further. The firemen will have commemorative T-shirts available for $10, and beer coozies available for $5, with Bud Light signing on as a sponsor of the charity shows this year.
The boys have been putting on their daily variety routine for decades now with many fans traveling to the island to specifically correspond with their dates but they really took it to another level when teaming up with the Lani Kai seven years ago, forming the perfect spring break union.
"The Lani Kai has become more than just a partner hosting us every year, but they have become part of our family,"?Scar said. "We couldn't do any of this charitable work without the hospitality of the Mr. (Bob) Conidaris, Larry Puccia (general manager) and everyone at the Lani Kai for the past seven years. Fort Myers Beach has embraced us and our silly shows. They seem to love us as much as we love them and this little island!"
After the show, fans are encouraged to come by the stage to get their pics taken with the Cincy stars.
"Of course the guys will do it for free, but any donation to the ARABA?Shriners would be greatly appreciated!" Scar said.
For more information on the Cincy firemen, be sure to visit their Facebook page and tag them in any photos you may take during the shows by searching Facebook for "Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Show group at Lani Kai Ft. Myers Beach."