The forecast calls for mountains of snow during the 17th Annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival, slated for Friday Dec. 3, from 4 to 10 p.m., at Founders Park. The beach at Founders Park is going to transform into a winter wonderland. 

“Holiday Fest is one of my favorite local community events,” said Christina Steele, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “It is the perfect evening to kick off the holiday season with friends and family alike, and to celebrate the joy of this time of year.”

The event’s star attraction, the Holiday Fest 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 Fest. At 7:30 p.m., the Holiday Parade will kick off, this year boasting the theme, “Peace, Love & Gratitude at Latitude 25.”   

The festival also offers the Holiday Gift Bazaar, perfect for finding creative, artisanal gifts for the loved ones in your life. A popular feature of the bazaar is the silent auction of handcrafted ornaments. Fifty local artists are creating original holiday treasures starting from a blank ceramic mold. The finished pieces will be on display throughout the evening. The online auction is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. 

Toys for Tots has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to gather toys for children. A Coast Guard boat will be present at the event and everyone is encouraged to bring a new toy to “fill the boat.” 

Returning to the festival this year is Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, featuring a selection of desserts and coffee. Food and drink will also be available throughout the evening. 

The Chamber of Commerce is seeking more entrants for the Holiday Parade and Bazaar. For information, or if you would like to volunteer at Holiday Fest, call 305-664-4503 or stop by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at the entrance to Founders Park, MM 87, bayside. 

The Chamber of Commerce is working to go green and minimize the impact of events like Holiday Fest on the environment. Please bring your non-glass reusable beverage containers to reduce waste and do your part for our delicate Florida Keys ecosystem.

Village of Islamorada staff won first place for their toy-inspired float and costumes during the 2019 Holiday Fest parade. CONTRIBUTED

HOLIDAY PARADE LIGHTS THE NIGHT

Theme is ‘Peace, Love and Gratitude at Latitude 25’

The grand marshal for the Islamorada Holiday Parade on Friday, Dec. 3, will be two popular local nonprofit organizations, Keys to Peace and The J.O.Y. Center, both being recognized for their dedication to making our community a better and kinder place to live, work and play. 

“We think people are going to have a great time with the theme ‘Peace, Love and Gratitude at Latitude 25,’” said Christina Steele, president of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce. “It makes ideas for creating floats fun and imaginative with a hippie flair”.

The parade, part of the chamber’s 17th annual Islamorada Holiday Fest, will begin at 7:30 p.m. that Friday evening, and will take place in Founders Park. 

The grand marshals will lead participants on a route that runs along the park’s Beach Road, passing the beach itself and the adjoining playground. 

Sign-up for the parade remains open. Participants should design their entries in accordance with the theme. 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 Fest features visits and photos with Santa, a 30-ton snow mountain, a 35-foot tree blowing snow from its branches, the Holiday Gift Bazaar, food and beverages, live holiday stage performances and desserts and coffee at Santa’s Sweet Shoppe.
To register for the parade, please stop by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center at the entrance to Founders Park, or call 305-664-4503 and ask for a registration form. The 17th annual Holiday Fest is put on by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce from 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, on the beach at Founders Park.

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