Luminary Holiday Stroll to light up Sanibel, Captiva with the holiday spirit
The islands will usher in the holidays leading into the weekend with an annual two-day tradition.
Hosted by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, the 37th annual Luminary Holiday Stroll will take place on Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. along Periwinkle Way on Sanibel, followed by the same festivities on Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. along Captiva Drive and Andy Rosse Lane on Captiva.
“It started out as a shop small campaign and it’s evolved into a community get-together, where we get to see a lot of our island residents and welcome back our snowbirds,” President and Chief Executive Officer John Lai said, adding that it also serves as a customer appreciation night for island businesses.
For the Luminary Holiday Stroll, lit paths will lead the way to landmarks, where attendees can enjoy activities, snacks and refreshments provided by participating businesses, organizations and entities.
Both island events are free and open to the public.
Lai explained that the event is organized with the support of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club and Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, which set up and light all of the luminary candles on the routes. Also, Teen Challenge of Southwest Florida will volunteer at the event and help with the cleanup after it.
The Sanibel event will extend from the east end, to the Olde Sanibel Shoppes and Bailey’s Shopping Center. Along the route, businesses in plazas, stand-alone ventures and more will be taking part.
“We’re looking forward to a couple of cool things happening this year,” Lai said.
Jerry’s Foods will offer up complimentary hot dogs and soda, plus live music, while the Sanibel Community Church will host its “Night in Bethleman” with a live nativity scene. Periwinkle Place will provide live entertainment and highlight a new addition, Pinnochio’s Original Italian Ice Cream.
“Bailey’s has live music and festivities in the parking lot,” he said.
Some new elements this year include a photo booth at Nick Adams Photography so attendees can capture the memory, and Huxters Market & Deli will have a live band performing out front.
Lai added that The Clam Shack will provide free appetizers and live music.
Bicyclists are asked to walk not ride through the Sanibel Community Park area.
“We’re asking them to walk their bike through the city park, where that canopy is with the lights,” he said, noting there will not be a photo booth this year, but there will be opportunities for photos.
As in years past, the event is designed to be family-friendly and for all ages.
Vehicle parking for attendees will be available at Jerry’s Shopping Center, Tahitian Gardens, Periwinkle Place, Village Shops, Bailey’s Shopping Center, Olde Sanibel Shoppes and The Community House.
While the event on Captiva will be held the next evening during the same time period, the northern sister island has a one-of-a-kind tradition leading up to the start of the festivities and celebration.
Sponsored and organized by the South Seas Island Resort and Sunny Island Adventures, the annual Captiva Holiday Village Golf Cart Parade will feature decorated carts hoping to win in the categories of Best Commercial, Best Non-Commercial and Best in Show for a trophy and island bragging rights.
“It’s always been a local and tourist favorite — a very fun thing,” Sunny Island Adventures owner Jimi Batchelor said. “It’s quite surprising sometimes how elaborate these carts are, so it’s really neat to see.”
Lai echoed that sentiment.
“If you’ve not been out there for it, it’s an absolute blast,” he said. “It really does put you into the holiday spirit because of the effort they put into these carts. It’s a great time for everybody.”
The parade will start at 3:30 p.m. and last for about an hour. Starting out at South Seas, the golf carts will wind down Captiva Drive and then along Andy Rosse Lane, Chapin Lane and Wiles Drive, before going back to the resort. Check-in will begin at 2 p.m., with the judging at 2:30 p.m. near Doc Ford’s.
This year’s panel of judges will be Lisa Spooner with NBC2, Lai and maybe a third person.
“People, tourists, if they want to participate in the parade, they can rent carts from Sunny Island Adventures, and we have decorations that we can provide that they can use,” Batchelor said.
The entry fee is $20. People can register in advance at Sunny Island Adventures, at 5400 Plantation Road, and pick up their entry pack and number for the parade. People can also register day of.
“All of the proceeds go to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation,” he said.
For more information, contact Sunny Island Adventures at 239-312-4094
As for Luminary, it will feature fun and freebies just like on Sanibel.
“We’ll have luminaries set up from ‘Tween Waters (Island Resort & Spa) all the way to South Seas,” Lai said, adding that attendees will again enjoy live entertainment, free food, store discounts and more.
For the second year, the chamber will unveil a limited-edition brew for the festivities.
“This year’s lager will be a German Vienna lager,” Lai said.
Brewed by the Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers, the brew is described as light amber in color with a biscuit aroma. It will be available for a limited time at Casa Ybel Resort, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, RC Otter’s, Tipsy Turtle, and Traditions on the Beach.
Residents and visitors are invited to come out and kick off the season.
“For both evenings, they’re both uniquely different,” he said, explaining that the Sanibel activities are spread out to give a sense of the entire island, while the ones on Captiva are “a lot more intimate.”
Lai added that this year’s Luminary has been met with more excitement than before.
“People are looking forward to getting out and being a part of an island-wide festival,” he said.
The presenting sponsor this year is the Island Inn.
For more information, visit the chamber at sanibel-captiva.org/sanibel-captiva-island-chamber-of-commerce and click on the Luminary banner. People can also call 239-472-1080 for questions.