A merry Marco Christmas: Seasonal series celebrates 25 years

The Newcomers enter the scene in the 24th annual Christmas Island Style parade on Marco.

Photo by GORDON CAMPBELL // Buy this photo

The Newcomers enter the scene in the 24th annual Christmas Island Style parade on Marco.

Clearly, that is not the case on Marco Island, where Christmas "Island Style" has evolved into a months-long series of community events, sweeping virtually the entire island up in an explosion of all things Christmas.

The official Christmas Island Style schedule of events lists no fewer than 21 separate occasions, from the Annual CIS Golf Tournament on Oct. 20, to "Santa's Calling" on Dec. 23, when island children get patched via telephone directly with Mr. Claus at the North Pole, assisted by some volunteers at the YMCA. Speaking of volunteers, they are the lifeblood of Christmas Island Style, said CIS chairman Steve Stefanides.

"We have a core group of 33 people, who all do something different to make things work, and hundreds who are helping out with all the events," he said. As just a few examples, Wayne and Sue Purvis head up the Holiday Pets on Parade, Dec. 4 at CJ's, Glenn Walton serves as CIS webmaster, and Dick Shanahan chairs the golf tournament. "Debra Shanahan does all the work that makes Dick look good," said Stefanides with a smile. Vice chairman Greg Schneider "quietly makes sure all the little things work – like when we count down to the tree lighting, the tree actually lights," said Stefanides.

Christmas Island Style is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and so of course that meant another event, the Silver Anniversary Dinner Dance, that took place Nov. 18 at the Island Country Club. Barbara Dasti received the "unsung hero" award, and "she was in tears coming up to get it," reported Stefanides, who is known universally as Stef.

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