Oh, Christmas trees!
Christmas lights and Christmas trees may not be the reason for the season but we have to confess, the sight of the lights coming on on the traditional sky-high tree at Big John’s during the Cape’s Festival of Lights — amidst “snowflakes” blowing down — makes us feel as holiday-struck as those kids seeing the wonder for the first time.
The Holiday Festival of Lights, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral and title sponsored by The Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – Culliton Family, is set for Saturday in the South Cape.
Despite Hurricane Ian, the snow will go on with all of the traditional festivities that have made the event the largest one-day holiday celebration between Tampa and Miami.
Song, Santa, snow and a whole lot more:
A slide featuring 15 tons of slippery, slidey “snow.”
Candy Cane Park, a free area for children featuring fun inflatables and more.
A Tiny Tots Train Ride.
Food and drink, entertainment on three stages, lap time to share secrets with Santa and oh, that tree lighting!
What more could one ask for to ring in the holidays, even if this were the best of times?
We think not much.
As do the 20,000 or so attendees who each year stroll Cape Coral Parkway, check out the wares of visiting vendors, crowd the stage areas to enjoy the holiday magic and visit the South Cape businesses that get into the spirit by staying open late to welcome revelers with specials and the opportunity to enjoy their deck-the-halls efforts.
The event will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. on Dec 3 along Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to Candia Street.
The opening ceremony will begin at 5:45 p.m. with Santa arriving at 6:15 for the tree lighting set for 6:30.
Pictures with Santa will follow immediately after the lighting and, as always, Santa will remain on hand to meet all of the Cape’s good little girls and boys, with picture opportunities offered until 9:45 p.m. or so.
While there is no admission charge, the festival also has a charitable component — a Holiday Food Drive to benefit the Cape Coral Caring Center, an initiative especially important this year.
Attendees moved by the spirit of giving can bring food or monetary donations to the Snow Slide area to help families in need.
Food, fun, Santa and a neighbor-helping-neighbor food and fund drive — hometown traditions like this are one of the best things about living in the Cape.
So are new community events likely to become the traditions of tomorrow.
The city of Cape Coral will present its second annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 8 beginning at 6 p.m.
The event will be held on the front lawn at City Hall, where members of City Council will welcome residents and help light the 26-foot tree as well as an menorah.
Attendees can sip hot chocolate, grab a bite from a food vendor, have another word with Santa and enjoy carols sung by Oasis Charter School students.
The evening will culminate with a Movie on the Lawn at 7 p.m.: —“The Grinch” — and an opportunity to meet the green meanie himself.
Residents are encouraged to arrive early and bring blankets and lawn chairs.
We thank all of the parties that make these events possible — the organizers and, especially, the volunteers and the businesses that offer sponsorships, which have helped keep admissions free.
That’s hometown holiday spirit, another Cape Coral tradition of long and happy standing.
Happy holidays, an early Merry Christmas and a very Happy Hanukkah.
— Breeze editorial