Friday, December 2nd, 2016
Snowstorm coming to Islamorada on December 2
Snow cover is certain during the 12th Annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival, set for December 2, from 4-10 p.m., at Founders Park.
We relish the opportunity to put on this festival every year because it's such a fantastic community event and it gets everybody out together celebrating the holiday season," Chamber of Commerce President Joe Roth said.
Throughout the evening, Islamorada's 35-foot high official holiday tree will be blowing magical snow through its branches. Meanwhile, 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.
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, "Dashing Through the Sea." Serving as grand marshals will be Theater of the Sea owner Kenny McKenney and the staff from the marine park, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2016. They'll be followed by floats, antique cars, the Coral Shores Marching Band and finally, Santa himself.
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 hand crafted 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, crafts and a bake sale.
Returning to the Holiday Festival for a fourth 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 on going 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 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.
Artists Get Ready For Holiday Festival
Wyland, Harvey among the participants
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.
"It's very fun. Every year it's part of my fall calendar," said Islamorada stained glass artist Veronica Gutierrez, who has twice won Holiday Festival ribbons for her ornaments. "It's something that I can create with freedom and it goes to a good cause."
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.
Gutierrez said she's working on a glass mosaic comprised of white and blue mirrors that will impart a sense of the ocean. She'll be joined by good company in the ornament competition. Among those who have already submitted their entries are legendary marines artists Wyland and Guy Harvey.
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; and continuous live holiday stage performances.
The festival will take place Friday, Dec. 2, from 4-10 p.m. at Founders Park, located at mile marker 87.
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.
Theater of the Sea to be honored
at Dec. 2 Holiday Parade
Kenny McKenney and the staff of Theater of the Sea will serve as grand marshals on Dec. 2 as the Islamorada Holiday Parade celebrates the ocean. The honor comes as Theater of the Sea, the longest continuously running marine park in the world, celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2016.
"This year's parade theme is "Dashing Through the Sea," so who better to lead the charge than Islamorada's longest standing and largest marine attraction," Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Hull said.
The parade, part of the Chamber's 12th Annual Islamorada Holiday Festival, will begin at 7 p.m. that Friday evening in Founders Park. McKenney and his team 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 "Dashing Through the Sea" theme.
One local business that is doing just that is Caribee Boat Sales. Their "Caribee Christmas" float will feature a 22-foot vessel dressed up with fish and other marine-related decorations.
"We're definitely playing up the theme of 'Dashing Through the Sea' because that's pretty much our life over here at Caribee," said the boat mart's Chelsea Holder.
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.