With Thanksgiving already upon us (how is that possible?), Marathon is rolling full-tilt into the 2022 holiday season. Ever have trouble keeping track of it all? We’ve got you covered. Tear this page out, stick it on your fridge, and enjoy the best events of the most wonderful time of year in the Middle Keys.

Marathon Garden Club Holiday Bazaar

When: Saturday, Nov. 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Marathon Garden Club, 5270 Overseas Hwy.

Details: Come visit and all-day shopping event featuring gently used Christmas decorations and holiday items. There will also be raffle items, a plant sale from the club nursery and numerous vendors offering orchids and unique holiday gifts.

Santa Claus Comes to Coldwell Banker Schmitt

When: Friday, Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m.

Where: 11050 Overseas Hwy.

Details: Come say hello to Santa Claus for a photo opportunity as he and Mrs. Claus visit Coldwell Banker Schmitt in Marathon. Free popcorn and gift bags are available for children.

Havana Jack’s Christmas Tree Lighting

When: Friday, Dec. 2

Where: Havana Jack’s Oceanside Restaurant, KCB

Details: Join Havana Jack’s for its inaugural holiday tree lighting. A giant Christmas tree will be lit under the tiki at 7 p.m. Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater and enter a contest to see who’s got the best garb. Add an ornament to the tree by making a donation to Presents in Paradise, or enter the 50/50 raffle to benefit the organization. There may even be a special appearance by Santa himself.

Annual Faro Blanco Lighthouse Lighting

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 to 9 p.m.

Where: Faro Blanco Marina, 1996 Overseas Hwy.

Details: Santa is due to arrive on the Pigeon Key train as Faro Blanco Marina celebrates its annual lighthouse lighting. Food and drink specials are available, with the big man himself set to turn on the lights shortly after sunset.

“Bethlehem in the Keys” Dinner Theater

When: Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m.

Where: Marathon Community Church

Details: An original production written and performed by local talent. Friday’s performance includes dinner catered by the Marathon High School culinary class. Tickets are $50 for Saturday and $30 for Sunday. Seats are limited. Call 305-481-7233 to reserve your tickets. Proceeds will go to the Marathon Community Church spalling repair project.

San Pablo Church’s Christmas Lights

When: Saturday, Dec. 3 to Monday, Jan. 9 (Dusk to 9:30 p.m. each night)

Where: San Pablo Catholic Church

Details: Take a stroll through the gardens of San Pablo Catholic Church and witness one of Marathon’s most iconic signs of the season with opportunities for reflection and prayer. All are welcome.

Pathways to Christmas Lighting

When: Monday, Dec. 5, dusk (Setup Monday, Nov. 28-Sunday, Dec. 4)

Where: Marathon Community Park

Details: The City of Marathon is looking for businesses or organizations to come decorate the park. The city will provide a designated space, and groups may decorate however they would like. All displays will be lit on Dec. 5, and beginning Dec. 9, visitors may cast votes online for the decoration lighting contest. Power will be provided if needed, and groups may either make their own sign or have one provided by park staff. Email [email protected] or call 305-743-6598 for more questions.

Pet Photos with the Grinch

When: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 5-7 p.m.

Where: Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, 9141 Overseas Hwy.

Details: Have your pet strike a pose with the Grinch and receive an everlasting Who-tastic picture via email. The event is a donation drive for the Florida Keys SPCA; donations are accepted in the form of cash, pet food, toys and bedding. Please have pets leashed or in a kennel at all times.

Zonta Festival of Trees

When: Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Saturday, Dec. 10 

Where: Marathon Garden Club

Details: Come check out Marathon’s most creative display of eclectic Christmas trees and enter to win your favorite. Viewing hours are 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Come by on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch with the Grinch.

Tropical Holiday Fun Fest

When: Friday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m.

Where: Marathon Community Park

Details: Come out to the community park for a night of holiday fun. Watch as Prodigy Dance Center dancers deliver their winter showcase, see Santa, and have some food and fun snacks as kids enjoy bounce houses, music, face painting and cotton candy. 

Boot Key Harbor Lighted Boat Parade

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, dusk

Where: Boot Key Harbor

Details: Additional details TBA. Stay tuned!

Key Colony Beach Lighted Boat Parade

When: Sunday, Dec. 11, dusk

Where: 7th Street canal, Key Colony Beach

Details: Come see Key Colony’s annual display of the finest lighted nautical creativity in the city. Boats of all sizes and shapes are welcome to enter the parade for free, and numerous prizes are given for Best in Parade, Best in Class (Under/Over 30 feet), Brightest and Most Colorful, Most Creative and Most Spirited Crew. To sign up, contact Ted Fischer at [email protected].

Handel’s Messiah at St. Columba

When: Sunday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.

Where: St. Columba Episcopal Church

Details: St. Columba’s Keyswide choir will come together with renowned local musicians to perform a Christmas masterpiece.

Marathon Community Theatre’s Annual Holiday Show

When: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17, 8 p.m.

Where: Marathon Community Theatre

Details: MCT proudly presents its annual holiday show and sing-along concert. Enjoy a family-friendly evening filled with cheer, joy and music. The show will run for one hour and include numerous group and individual musical, vocal and dance performances. Doors open at 7 p.m., so come early and grab an eggnog, hot cocoa or spiced wine at the concessions bar. Tickets are $10 and available at

Havana Jack’s Christmas Market

When: Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Havana Jack’s Oceanside Restaurant, KCB

Details: Come for an oceanfront lunch or cocktail and shop for unique handcrafted Florida Keys Christmas gifts.

Winter Wonderland at Crane Point

When: Saturday, Dec. 17, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Crane Point Museum and Nature Center

Details: Predictions of snow are in the forecast as Santa visits Crane Point to meet with kids in the center’s annual Winter Wonderland. Other attractions include reindeer ponies, a chocolate fountain, roasted chestnuts, photos by Photo Design by Natalie, adult beverages for purchase and much more.
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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.