Mitten-clad children who may have never seen snow can make snowballs in the Keys' subtropical air during Islamorada's ninth annual Florida Keys Holiday Festival, scheduled Friday, Dec. 6, at Islamorada's Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside.
A 20-ton snow mountain is a traditional family favorite during the 4-10 p.m. celebration. This year it is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Jon Landau. Another crowd-pleasing centerpiece, a 35-foot-tall holiday tree with "magical" snow blowing from its branches, is to be lighted at 6 p.m. while carolers sing.
The annual holiday parade is to be themed "A Visit to the North Pole." The parade is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. featuring the Coral Shores Hurricanes Marching Band, as well as decorated floats including one carrying jolly old Saint Nick. State Representative Holly Raschein of Key Largo is the Grand Marshal.
Four-legged "party animals" can prance in their own Santa Paws Pet Parade, and are awarded prizes for best dressed and pet that performs the best trick. All domestic animals are welcome and entry is free.
Plans call for musical and dance performances to enliven the outdoor amphitheater's stage throughout the event. Other scheduled attractions include contests to choose the Best Baked Goodie, Little Miss Sugar Plum Fairy and Mr. Gingerbread Man.
The holiday bazaar is typically full of gift items, baked goods and gourmet baskets. The much-anticipated holiday ornament silent auction features more than 40 authentic, hand-painted pieces created and donated by local artists including Tim Borski of Islamorada, Coastal Conservation Association's Artist of the Year.
Adults can sample hot buttered rum or sip fine wines at the festival favorite, Vino Village, and Santa's Sweet Shoppe is to offer tempting coffees, desserts and treats.
Admission to the event is free. A $5 donation is to be collected for on-site parking.
To see slide shows from past years' events, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/the-5th-annual-islamorada-holiday-fest-was-dec-4 and http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/islamorada-holiday-fest-is-friday-dec-4#slide=1
Festival information: www.islamoradachamber.com/events.cfm or 800-322-5397
Islamorada visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
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