WINTER WONDERLAND
 – Snow, Santa and sweets at Holiday Fest - A group of people sitting at a table -
Kids enjoy a little craft time during last year’s Holiday Fest. CONTRIBUTED

The forecast calls for mountains of snow, as the beach will transform into a winter wonderland, during the 15th Annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Festival, slated for Friday, Dec. 6, from 4-10 p.m. at Founders Park.

 “Holiday Fest is one of my favorite local community events,” said Chamber of Commerce President Ken Gentes.  “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 Festival. At 7:30 p.m., the Holiday Parade will kick off, this year boasting the theme, “Caring and Sharing Around the World.” Long-time Islamorada resident Pastor Tony Hammon will be this year’s Grand Marshal and will lead the parade. Recently retired, Tony served as pastor of Island Community Church for more than 35 years, and has been a member of the church for more than 40 years. He is also well-known and lauded for his humanitarian efforts in Uganda. 

WINTER WONDERLAND
 – Snow, Santa and sweets at Holiday Fest - A group of people wearing costumes - Christmas Day
Dressed in their holiday attire, children gather for a picture with Mrs. Claus. CONTRIBTUED

The festival also offers the unique 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. In preparation, 50 local artists are already creating original holiday treasures starting from a blank ceramic mold. The finished pieces will be on display throughout the evening. The silent auction is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. 

Returning to the Holiday Festival this year is Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, featuring a delectable selection of gourmet desserts and coffee sure to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth. Cuisine for every craving will also be available to indulge in throughout the evening. 

The Chamber of Commerce is seeking more entrants for the Holiday Parade. 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. 

WINTER WONDERLAND
 – Snow, Santa and sweets at Holiday Fest - A birthday cake - Gingerbread house
Last year’s first-place winner in the gingerbread house contest. CONTRIBUTED

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