BELIGHTED BIKES & HOLIDAY VILLAGE LIGHT THE NIGHT AT KEY WEST EVENT

The 2021 BeLighted Bike Ride drew about 200 riders on lighted bikes, while this year’s event on Dec. 2 is anticipated to draw an even bigger crowd. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

By Amy Patton

Grab your Santa hat and “bedazzle” your bicycles on Friday, Dec. 2, for the second annual Holiday Village & BeLighted Bike Ride presented by Wesley House at Truman Waterfront’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater. The Holiday Village opens at  4 p.m. and will include family activities, food and snacks for sale, contests and more, all to benefit the nonprofit Wesley House Family Services, which handles foster care and adoption in the Keys as well as subsidized child care and other family services.

“It’s a great way to kick off the holidays,” said Wesley House development director and event organizer Grace Epperly.“There will be photos with Santa for the kids, 20 community booths, food trucks and a ‘best bike’ contest before the ride. 

“Of course, this being Key West, we encourage costumes of all sorts,” she laughed.

After the party, the “belighted” bike ride departs the amphitheater at 8 p.m., when bicycles will glow with bright lights and sparkling holiday ornaments of every type, beginning at the Waterfront location. The route will continue along Whitehead Street and down Duval. 

Preceding the ride at 7 p.m., participants will have a chance to win the “best bike contest.” It’ll cost you $40 to enter, but that bid to win includes a swag bag with over $100 of items donated by JB Bikes. 

Due to eased COVID concerns, a larger turnout for the fundraiser is expected this December, said Epperly. “We had about 2,000 bike riders last year and we anticipate more this year, now that (the event) has good buzz.” 

But really, she added, “It’s just an awesome, amazing, family-friendly party.”

Tickets for the “BeLighted” evening cost $15 for adults, $10 for kids and is free for children 4 and under. 

Epperly explained that if people are feeling “iffy” about their goodness with Santa this year, they can officially switch track to the “nice list” with a sponsor donation of $250 for the nonprofit.   Tickets for the Wesley House Family Services Holiday Village & BeLighted Bike Ride can be purchased in advance by visiting WesleyHouse.org/BeLighted.

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