Friday, December 2nd, 2016
Islamorada forecast calls for December 2 snow
The forecast calls for lots of snow during the 12th Annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival, set for December 2, from 4-10 p.m., at Founders Park.
"Bundle up for one the most exciting community events on the calendar," said Chamber of Commerce President Ken Gentes. "After last year's rainout, it's especially exciting to bring snow back to Islamorada."
The event's star attraction, the Holiday Festival Snow Mountain, will once again be made out of 30 tons of the cold white stuff—more than enough to delight mitten-clad children and some of their more playful parents too. Meanwhile, throughout the evening, Islamorada's 35-foot high official holiday tree will be blowing magical snow through its branches.
Snow is far from the only thing promised at Holiday Festival. At 7 p.m., the Holiday Parade will kick off, this year boasting the theme, "Rockin' Around Florida Bay." Serving as grand marshals will be members of the advocacy group Florida Bay Forever, which seeks to win Everglades friendly legislation in Tallahassee. They'll be followed by floats, antique cars and, of course, Santa himself.
New this year to Holiday Fest is the gingerbread house contest, in which participants build gingerbread houses in an effort to win ribbons in four categories. The festival also offers the unique Holiday Gift Bazaar, perfect for getting the shopping season started right. A popular feature of the bazaar is the silent auction of handcrafted ornaments. In preparation, 50 local artists are already creating original holiday treasures starting from a blank ceramic mold. The finished pieces will be on display throughout the evening. The silent auction is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. The bazaar also features jewelry and crafts.
Returning to the Holiday Festival for yet another go-round this year is Santa's Sweet Shoppe, featuring a delectable selection of gourmet desserts and coffee. A wide variety of more savory food will also be on offer at the festival.
While you're eating, don't forget to turn your attention to the Founders Park stage, where entertainment will be ongoing throughout the evening. Local dancers will perform excerpts from "The Nutcracker." In the Santa Paws competition, dogs will duke it out for the best holiday outfit.
Children under eight will get their turn on stage in the Mister Gingerbread Man and Miss Sugarplum Fairy contest. Participants, dressed in their holiday finest, will be called on stage to make a wish to Mrs. Claus. Each child will receive a gift. In addition, one lucky boy will be crowned Mister Gingerbread Man while one lucky girl will be crowned Miss Sugarplum Fairy. Winners will get to meet the First Lady of the holidays herself.
The Chamber of Commerce is seeking more entrants for the Holiday Parade. For information, or if you would like to volunteer at Holiday Festival, call 305-664-4503 or stop by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at the entrance to Founders Park, mile marker 87, bayside.
Ornament competition returns to Holiday Festival
Fifty artists will take part in the ornament competition and silent auction to be held at the 12th Annual Islamorada Holiday Festival on Friday, Dec. 2. The festival, put on by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce, will last from 4 to 10 p.m. that evening in Founders Park.
"I love to see the appreciation from our community," said this year's featured artist, Islamorada impressionist painter Kathleen Denis. "People are really serious about wanting the ornaments. To see people appreciate handmade art is a wonderful thing."
In preparation for the silent auction, which is part of the festival's Holiday Gift Bazaar, each artist was given an unfinished ceramic piece to use as the base for his or her original creation. Beyond that, they were given just one instruction: use your imagination.
The finished pieces will be judged and on display throughout the festival, where they can be purchased by silent auction bids. Bidding will end at 9 p.m. on festival night. Proceeds from the auction will be used to offset event expenses.
Denis said she's working on a round ornament that will replicate the cover art of her 2015 book, "Painting Paradise: The Florida Keys." The cover depicts a shoreline sunset scene, complete with cabbage palm trees and mangroves. In addition, Ibises hunt for fish from mangrove roots.
A true community event, the Islamorada Holiday Festival will feature a parade; visits and photos with Santa; a 30-ton snow mountain; a 35-foot tree blowing magical snow from its branches; the Holiday Gift Bazaar; delicious food and beverages; continuous live holiday stage performances; and new this year, a gingerbread house contest.
For more information, call 305-664-4503 or stop by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at the entrance to Founders Park, mile marker 87, bayside.
Florida Bay Forever to be honored
at Dec. 2 Holiday Parade
Florida Bay Forever will serve as grand marshals on Dec. 2 in the Islamorada Holiday Parade. This year's parade theme is "Rockin Around the Florida Bay."
Florida Bay Forever is a grass roots registered nonprofit unifying the voice of Monroe County to advocate to preserve the Florida Bay. FBFVR advocates for buying land south of the lake in order to store and clean water that can get to the Bay.
The parade, part of the Chamber's 12th Annual Islamorada Holiday Festival, will begin at 7 p.m. that Friday evening in Founders Park. Florida Bay Forever will lead participants around a route that circles the park's Great Lawn, giving observers plenty of space and many great vantage points from which to view the action.
Sign-up for the parade remains open. Participants should design their entries in accordance with the "Rockin Around the Florida Bay" theme.
Bands, antique car groups, scout troops, churches, businesses and other organizations or individuals who are interested are encouraged to enter. Judges will select winners in several categories based on creativity and adherence to theme.
In addition to the parade, Holiday Festival features visits and photos with Santa, a 30-ton snow mountain, a 35-foot tree blowing magical snow from its branches, the Holiday Gift Bazaar, delicious food and beverages, continuous live holiday stage performances, and returning for a third year, scrumptious desserts and coffee at Santa's Sweet Shoppe.