While Marco Islanders have been concentrating on the return of their children to school, the easing of the high temperatures and humidity or the return of their friends from up north, a number of dedicated volunteers, led by Christmas Island Style’s Chairman, Steve “Stef” Stefanides, have been gearing up the island’s celebration of the Christmas Season.
Christmas Island Style will celebrate its 22nd anniversary this year. The event was the brain child of Dawn Norgren, then owner of Island Title Services here on the Island, turning the reins over in later years to Dave Rice, who retired in 2004. It has grown to be one of the most anticipated set of events for islanders and visitors alike.
This year the events will start on Nov. 14, with the annual open house and holiday celebration at the Marco Island Florist, on South Barfield Drive, with an official debut of the annual Marco Island Christmas Ornament. This year, the ornament was designed by a sixth grade student at the Charter Middle School, according to Barbara Dasti and Bette McGilvary, co-chairs of the project. “The kids really got into the whole competition and the committee’s job was really hard, picking a winner out of so many great entries” said McGilvary. Another contest will be held this year for the 2010 ornament and the winner will be given a $100 savings bond at the annual tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 5. Ornaments will be on sale there that day, in addition to Marco Shell and Gift at the Town Center Mall and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce.
Nov. 14 will also be a busy day for the committee, as that day, they’ll be hosting their second annual Christmas Island Style Golf Tournament, at the Lely Mustang golf course. “We’re very excited about the tournament, because it is a major fundraiser for the support of all the Christmas Island Style events and gives people a great chance to have a fun day and help this great island cause,” said Debra Sanders, co-chair of the event with Dick Shanahan, Jennifer Johnson and McGilvary.
“This year, FireWater and Restoration Services will be participating and is looking forward to defending its crown” said Shanahan, who relayed the challenge to all other teams from FireWater Services.
The annual tree lighting and community celebration will be held on Saturday evening, Dec. 5, at Marco Island’s Veterans Community Park. “We were proud to be the first official event to be held at the park” commented Stefanides. “This is just such a great venue for everyone to come together and enjoy this wonderful event. It’s like our town green was from up north, a great gathering place that brings the smiles out on young and old alike and makes us understand the great gift we have, living here on Marco,” said Stefanides.
The Christmas Island Style Annual Christmas Gals will return to Old Marco Inn and once again be hosted by the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 6. Tickets are available through the Chamber on a first-come, first-served basis.
A new tradition was started five years ago when a Holiday Salute to Veterans and Community Concert was begun. This year ,the event will be held Dec. at 6:30 p.m., in the Charter School gymnasium. All islanders who are veterans or active military are invited to this special event. “If it wasn’t for their dedication to duty and sacrifice by their families, our freedom to celebrate as a free people wouldn’t exist today,” said Stefanides. “Last year, I was honored when Pat Reese, a good friend and Island activist, stepped forward to chair this event for the committee and took it to the next level,” commented Stefanides. The event also includes a holiday concert by the Charter School Music Department for the enjoyment of all.
The annual Christmas Street Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12, and the Christmas Boat Parade will be the following Saturday, Dec. 19th. In addition, they’re will be a Christmas Movie in the Park held on Friday evening Dec. 18, starting at 6:30 p.m. The final event and a favorite for the kids, is Santa’s Calling, sponsored by the Greater Marco YMCA, to be held on Sunday evening Dec. 19.
For information concerning these events you may contact Christmas Island Style by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-8348. You may also visit their Web site, which will be launched Nov. 1, at christmasislandstyle.com.