Christmas comes early with Arturo’s tree lighting on Marco Island

Arturo’s tradition reaches 11 years

Lucas Chuztz, 3, looks at the lights on the newly-lit Christmas tree at Arturo's Restaurant after the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting on Wednesday, November 17, 2010.

Photo by ALLIE GARZA

Lucas Chuztz, 3, looks at the lights on the newly-lit Christmas tree at Arturo's Restaurant after the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting on Wednesday, November 17, 2010.

The Marco Island Chamber of Commerce President Vip Grover introduces himself to Lori Borman, who is with her husband, Rick, at the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting at Arturo's restaurant on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 during the Chamber After Five event.

Photo by ALLIE GARZA

The Marco Island Chamber of Commerce President Vip Grover introduces himself to Lori Borman, who is with her husband, Rick, at the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting at Arturo's restaurant on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 during the Chamber After Five event.

Scenes from the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting at Arturo's restaurant on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 during the Chamber After Five event.

Photo by ALLIE GARZA

Scenes from the 11th annual Christmas tree lighting at Arturo's restaurant on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 during the Chamber After Five event.

Linda Flores Eagle i Conbtibutor
Judy Barney of Arturo's Restaurante Italiano, cuddles up to a teddy bear while hosting the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce After Five party on Wednesday.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Linda Flores Eagle i Conbtibutor Judy Barney of Arturo's Restaurante Italiano, cuddles up to a teddy bear while hosting the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce After Five party on Wednesday.

Judy Barney held the microphone to her mouth and slowly counted down from 10. The crowd, gathered around her, counted along, some holding up their cameras and cell phones, others holding onto each other’s hands.

Barney counted faster and suddenly she reached “one.” The 43-foot tall Christmas tree illuminated to life outside Arturo’s Restaurante Italiano, the crowd clapping and cheering as Christmas seemingly arrived early on Marco Island.

“This is our 11th year and it’s become a tradition,” Barney said. “In this economy we’re thankful and humble we can still have this tradition.”

The tree lighting took place during November’s Chamber After Five, where members of the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce meet every third Wednesday of the month at different locations to get together, mingle, network and support each other’s business.

“Arturo’s has a good stronghold on the November After Five,” said Marco Island Chamber of Commerce President Vip Grover. “It’s one of the best After Five events.”

During the After Five event, Arturo’s set up a buffet, serving some of their finest and favorite dishes to those attending. As people talked and caught up on their business and lives, a crowd slowly formed outside in anticipation of the 7 p.m. tree lighting.

Paul and Geri Arnold, Bostonians who reside in Marco Island six months out of the year, have come to the tree lighting for several years and came out to see this year’s event.

“For being in warm weather, they do a good job at decorating and getting into the season,” Geri Arnold said.

While both Arnold’s agree that Christmas in Southwest Florida can be odd and eerie without snow, Geri said that Christmas on the island doesn’t require a snow shovel.

After the tree was lit and photos were snapped, the After Five event continued back inside. With an attendance of nearly 175 people, representing around 50 businesses, Grover said that the tradition of Arturo’s tree lighting is the unofficial kick off to the holiday season.

“Judy and her staff do such a wonderful job making it a joyous festivity,” he said.

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Comments » 8

Yankee writes:

Nice tree but too early!!!!!!!

RayPray writes:

"to avoid this restaurant."

Unfortunately true....

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your so cheep you still have your communion money!

RayPray writes:

"RAY PRAY:Your bitterness knows no bounds!"

Rather disappointment....

IslandTrends writes:

Thank you for the great night Arturo! Our boys really enjoyed the Christmas Tree lighting. Can't wait to enjoy the food and margaritas @ Blue Agave!!!

RayPray writes:

Sadly, one of the first organs always to become enfeebled with advanced age is the taste buds.

That's why I am invariably amused to listen when the oldsters on the island start enthusing over the quality of the food severed at one or another of our overpriced mediocre local eateries.

You may have had a good time....

But it came from something other than the routine bland food....

MIslander writes:

Arturo's is a great restaurant, great tradition.

happy6 writes:

but where's the Menora??? kinda' like the banners on the lamp posts....Arturos is not politically correct>>????

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