- Check out this list of restaurants open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Naples
- David Sedaris play "The Santaland Diaries" offers a stocking full of goodies in Fort Myers
- Looking for something to do? Search our list of Holiday events
- Submit your holiday events to our interactive calendar
- Going out this holiday season? Share your photos from all the events around town with us!
- Wish Lists: Local charities offer up their wish lists to the community
- Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade
- Your Photos: Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade
- 2010 Bonita Springs Holiday Boat Parade
- Isles of Capri Holiday Boat Parade 2010
- Marco Island's Joy of Giving 2010
- Marco Island Christmas Street Parade 2010
- Christmas Walk and Avenue of Lights on Fifth Avenue South
- Flesher Farm Christmas display 2010
- Third Street South Festival of Lights
- Your Photos: Third Street South Festival of Lights
- Bayfront Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony
- Two-story gingerbread house at The Ritz-Carlton
GOLDEN GATE — What is better than waking up to a fresh snowfall on a cold winter day? A Snowfest in Golden Gate on a warm sunny day, of course.
Set in Golden Gate Community Park, on Dec. 4, this snow packed event will mark the 25th anniversary of chilly excitement for local families. Snowfest will be icing on the cake for children of all ages, as the park is transformed into a cool winter wonderland by Collier County Parks and Recreation staff.
For many local children, it’s their first time experiencing snow. So Parks and Recreation crews are in a flurry to prepare for chilly activities offered throughout the day, where residents will park in the Berkshire Commons or Calusa Park Elementary School, and ride a shuttle to attend the day’s fun-filled event.
Snowfest is set to be jam-packed with entertainment, carnival rides, ice skating, sledding, a special visit from Santa Claus, pony rides, and more. And who can resist deep-fried Oreo cookies? The cookies are just one of the traditional carnival delicacies that will be offered for sale, along with sweet elephant ears, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, traditional Spanish treats, candied apples, and freshly squeezed lemonade.
“Usually we have 70 tons of snow, and we’re going to have 100 tons this year,” said Peg Ruby, marketing specialist with Collier County Parks and Recreation, and she is expecting there will be more than 15,000 people in attendance. “There will be three separate mountains of snow, one for ages zero to 3 years old, one for 4- to 7-year-olds, and another mountain for 8-year-olds and over. We move the piles into the canal when it is finished, and it’s surprising the snow lasts as long as it does.”
Dreaming about starting a snowball fight? Not so fast, the organizers say.
“I was pegged by a snowball, and it hurts, so we try to discourage it, but we let a little bit go,” said Ruby, ensuring a safe day of frozen fun for everyone.
“We recommend they wear mittens, socks and hats, and bring a change of clothes, because they will get wet in the snow,” said Ruby. This year’s event also includes an extra 12-foot toboggan ice hill. Two carved ice sculptures for photo opportunities will be delivered by Florida Ice, based in Deerfield Beach, for the first time in the history of Snowfest, too.
Staging each 800-pound ice sculpture is a feat of architectural mastery, but Steven Carrol and David Berman of Florida Ice are up for the challenge.
“It’s heavy to move, but we do this all the time,” said Carrol as he prepared to design and build another ice sculpture for the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The two interactive ice sculptures for Snowfest will be a one-of-kind artwork of an Eskimo and a snowman. Snowfest participants can pose for photos, either with a hug from a frosty snowman, or by “wearing” icy Alaskan Eskimo attire.
“There is something for everyone,” said Annie Alverez, regional manager for Parks and Recreation, as she credited her dedicated volunteers in the community, entertainers and staff members in planning a chillingly exciting community event.
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If You Go:
Golden Gate Community Park
3300 Santa Barbara Blvd.
Carnival only on Dec. 3, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Snowfest and carnival on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $1.00 per person (3 and under are free)
Shuttle parking at Calusa Park Elementary School & Berkshire Commons