Islanders are still reeling from Thanksgiving overload with family and friends who may have come in for the popular holiday or are on their way back from points north of here where warm and balmy temperatures in Southwest Florida are sure to brighten the days ahead.
The series of events, which have become an island favorite for over 30 years, are about to kick off as the merchants of the Shops of Marco at the intersection of South Barfield and San Marco Road prepare to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus for an evening of fun and enjoyment. The event is one of the first of many hosted by the all-volunteer committee known as Christmas Island Style (CIS).
The jolly old man and Mrs. Claus will be hosted by the owners and staff of the Salon and Spa Botanica for photographs starting at 6 pm on Friday, November 23rd, marking the start of the “unofficial” Christmas Holiday Season on Marco. The pictures with Christmas royalty is always a popular event, and brings out great crowds.
Banners are being hung on the utility poles around the island for the holiday and the new 2018 Christmas Ornament is available at several retail outlets around the island. Some of those include, the Chamber of Commerce, Keep in Touch at the Shops of Marco, Shore Goods at Marco Walk, Marco Island Florist on South Barfield and the Art League, Marco Island Center for the Arts on Winterberry Drive.
The Christmas Island Style committee, with the help of several local civic organizations including members of the island’s Italian American Club, will take a few days off prior to assembling the community’s spectacular new tree at Veterans Community Park on Tuesday, November 27.
The tree was purchased last year through the generosity of many within the community and mesmerized the 3,500 attendees at last year’s tree lighting event. “The energy level at the park went off the Richter scale last year when we finished the countdown and Greg Schneider of Condee Cooling and Electric threw the switch and the tree lit up. We were all so proud of how it looked,” said Wanda Burson, one of the vice chairs of Christmas Island Style.
“Its amazing how this has become such a great event for the entire community as everyone comes together with family and friends for such a wonderful evening,” said Angela Palmer of the Christmas Committee.
On Tuesday, December 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, the attention will turn to the Esplanade, as Christmas Island Style joins with Curt and Jacquie Koon of CJs on the Bay in hosting the Holiday Canine Pet Parade. The event recognizes how important the four-legged members of our community have become a part of our culture here. Organizer Samantha Morris, who is coordinating the event for the second year, is expecting to have a large crowd once again.
“We ask that those that will be participating in the event dress their partners in appropriate Christmas attire. As in years past they will walk down the bright red carpet for judging regarding several different categories. It is just such a fun event,” said Morris. There is no entry charge for the event or for entering your canine friend in the festivities.
On Saturday, December 8 the always-popular Christmas Island Style Boat Parade will return to the waters around Marco Island. Last year the event was put on hold out of an abundance of caution due to debris lingering within the normal parade route. A smaller event was held in the Marco River hosted in part by the Marco Yacht Club and several of their members.
Boaters are encouraged to go to the Christmas Island Style website and download an application for the event and enter their craft for this historically popular event. “We know there is a lot of effort and time that goes into decorating a boat, but thousands of watchers throughout the island just love seeing this event. Our website has the route and can be viewed by going to www.christmasislandstyle.com.
“We would like to bring this event back in a big way after being on hiatus since Hurricane Irma and we urge boat owners from throughout the area to join with us for a great evening of fun and enjoyment,” said Gene Burson the event coordinator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to help answer any questions you might have. Again, there is no cost to any of the Christmas Island Style series events.
To see the full schedule of events please visit the CIS website at www.christmasislandstyle.com or call Steve Stefanides, Chairman of Christmas Island Style at 239-250-8348 for any other clarifications.