The forecast calls for lots of snow during the 12th Annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival, set for Dec. 1, from 4–10 p.m., at Founders Park.
“Bundle up for one the most exciting community events on the calendar,” Chamber of Commerce President Ken Gentes said in a statement.
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.