Christmas Island Style will kick off the holiday season in grand fashion as Santa and Mrs. Claus drop by the Shops of Marco on Friday, Nov. 25th to greet the island’s children and their parents as Marco begins its month long celebration of the Christmas Holidays.
The Christmas Island Style Committee pulls together everything, from Santa’s arrival the day after Thanksgiving, the annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting, Holiday Pets on Parade at the Esplanade, the street and boat parades, a Holiday Salute to Veterans, and even flying Santa in for Cookies and Milk with Jolly Saint Nick at the Winterberry Park.
The event that inaugurates the holiday season for the committee has always been Santa’s arrival at the Shops of Marco, located at the corner of San Marco Road and Barfield Drive. Free photos will be done with Santa and Mrs. Claus as they arrive at 6 PM, courtesy of the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department.
“There is a great deal of planning for all these events,” said Wanda Day Burson, a member of the Christmas Island Style Committee. “We do have a great committee of volunteers who really put their hearts and souls into these events.”
In addition to these activities, the committee will also be busy putting up lighted angels along Collier Boulevard and working with city crews to hang the Christmas banners.
The committee raised the money for the holiday banners and the city has assisted in the hanging for the last several years.
The tree lighting ceremony is one of the largest annual events held on the island. It has continually grown in size, drawing approximately 3,500 people each year. This year the ceremony will be held at 6 PM, Saturday, Dec. 3 at Veterans Community Park.
Marco’s Italian American Society began raising the money for the community Christmas tree 15 years ago and has help to erect it each year, with the assistance of Christmas Island Style, Condee Cooling and Electric, LCEC and the city.
Committee member Barbara Dasti and Bette McGilvray have coordinated working with the Charter Middle School over the last several years for a student design contest for the annual Christmas Ornament. The ornaments are available for sale and the winners are introduced at the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
The committee, which is an independent and all-volunteer organization, prides itself on the fact that all the activities are free to the public.
“We raise our monies through separate fundraising activities, prior to the start of the holiday season,” said Steve “Stef” Stefanides. “It’s important to us that no one stays away from a Christmas event, but that the entire community comes together and people enjoy themselves,” said Stefanides, now in his 12th year as the committee’s chairman.
More information can be found regarding the many events at christmasislandstyle.com or by calling 239-250-8348.