Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Events Shaping Up


A couple of winners.

A couple of winners.

For the members of the Christmas Island Style (CIS) Committee last Friday night was a lot of fun mixed with some enjoyable work in a venue which had almost every person drooling due to their surroundings.

The Christmas Island Style Casino Night stepped it up a notch as local resident Steve Garske donated the use of his “ultimate man cave” to host the event. Attendees were able to enjoy one of the finest collections of vintage and exotic muscle cars in Southwest Florida, as well as some of the most sought after sports collectables found anywhere.

Local car aficionado Sal Soldano summed it up best when he entered the building and simply said, “Wow,” as he looked down the rows of cars on each side of the spacious interior, which was the envy of all of the attendees.

Neil Snyder shows off a winning hand.

Neil Snyder shows off a winning hand.

“We were extremely happy to help this wonderful group of folks in their efforts to make Christmas so special in our community. They seem to knock it out of the park each year and I’m proud to help,” said Garske, as he mingled with the attendees and shared a number of stories while proudly looking on.

The CIS Committee hosts about a dozen events each year within the community at no cost to those that attend any of the functions. In the past, some of the events they hosted included bringing in snow for kids to play in, ice skating for young and old alike, and Santa’s arrival by helicopter to visit with the children of the island and surrounding areas. They sponsor the annual tree lighting, a holiday pet parade and the Holiday Salute to Veterans, along with the boat and street parades and other activities.

Signed gloves from former heavyweight champs.

Signed gloves from former heavyweight champs.

This year the group will be lighting an entirely new tree on December 2nd, with festivities starting at 6 PM at the Veterans Community Park. “Over this last summer we raised the necessary monies to make this substantial commitment to the community thanks to the generosity of many groups and individuals on the island,” said Steve “Stef” Stefanides, who has lead the committee for over 13 years as their Chairman.

Wanda Day Burson, who heads the entertainment committee for the group, was beaming from ear to ear on Friday night when she explained the excitement of the committee when speaking about the tree. “This is a really big step for us as we move forward with this tree which will soar approximately 40 feet up into the air. It is really going to be beautiful,” said Burson. She also does double duty overseeing the decorating of the tree, along with several other members of the committee.

Attendees work the craps tables. Photos by Steve Stefanides

Attendees work the craps tables. Photos by Steve Stefanides

The older, 15-year-old tree which was purchased by the Italian American Society (IAS) will be re-purposed by the committee and the members of the IAS and be located at Founders Park, at the corner of Barfield and Collier Boulevard. “We think this will be a wonderful welcome for people coming onto the island and show the true Christmas magic that exists on the island,” said Bob Myslivec, who chairs the volunteers for the tree for the Italian American Society.

Just some of the magnificent car collection.

Just some of the magnificent car collection.

Christmas events will begin on November 24th when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Shops of Marco for photos at 6 PM. The new Christmas tree lighting event will happen on December 2nd starting at 6 PM at the Veterans Community Park. There is no cost for any of the events to attend or participate in.

For a full listing of all Christmas Island Style events (and applications to enter either the boat or street parades) visit their website at www.christmasislandstyle.com.

Gene Burson and Jerry Swiacki handle the refreshment duties.

Gene Burson and Jerry Swiacki handle the refreshment duties.

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