A number of local businesses have already signed on as sponsors for this year's Captiva Holiday Village, but organizers say additional sponsorships are welcome.
The two-week-long Captiva Holiday Village launches its 2012 spectacular the Friday after Thanksgiving with fireworks, tree lightings, holiday readings, musical performances and more.
Now in its third year, Captiva Holiday Village is a cooperative event sponsored by hoteliers, merchants, attraction owners and restaurateurs of Captiva Island. This year's sponsors include the Golf Cart Parade sponsor - The Royal Shell Companies, the Boat Parade Sponsor - Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, the Junkanoo Parade sponsor - American Realty of Captiva and the Fire Dancing on the Beach sponsor - VIP Realty.
"The Royal Shell Companies are pleased to sponsor the Captiva Holiday Village Golf Cart Parade for the second year in a row," said Randy Bacik, CEO Royal Shell Vacations. "This increasingly popular event, the brainchild of Royal Shell realtor Denice Beggs, has become a source of good-natured competition with both community businesses and residents. The decorated golf carts showcase the creativity of the Captiva community."
Fire Dancing on the Beach takes place at 5:45 p.m. Nov. 30 at the beach by the Mucky Duck Restaurant.
The Junkanoo Parade, a cornerstone of Captiva Holiday Village, happens at 4 p.m. Dec. 1 and begins at McCarthy's Marina. This tradition traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean to Southwest Florida and includes musicians in bejeweled costumes with vibrant colors singing and dancing to Caribbean melodies through the streets of Captiva. Before the parade, visitors have the opportunity to create hand-made musical instruments with the Junkanoo performers at the marina.
Following the Junkanoo Parade, the Boat Parade will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 just outside Roosevelt Channel, Marker No. 2. The route will follow Roosevelt Channel to 'Tween Waters Inn and back. There is no entry fee for the boat parade and prizes will be given for the best-decorated vessels. A minimum of 100 lights is required for entry but more are encouraged.
The Golf Cart Parade begins at South Seas Island Resort at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 and is limited to the first 100 entries. All entries must incorporate a holiday theme. The parade route travels from South Seas to Andy Rosse Lane then loops around Chapin and Wiles Drive and back past the Green Flash restaurant before returning to South Seas. A portion of the $20 entrance fee will benefit the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries.
"The boat parade was so much fun to participate in last year and is one of the more unique events that occurs on Captiva," said Terry Igo, president of Sanibel Captiva Trust Company. "We like to support community events that our clients are involved in, and we have a lot of wonderful clients and friends on Captiva who are involved in this holiday celebration."
"Captiva Holiday Village is a community event, so having our local companies supporting the event is good for the island and nice exposure to the many out-of-state visitors who attend as well," said Paul McCarthy of Captiva Cruises. "We are looking at forming special partnerships with our leading out-of-state markets like Chicago, Boston and New York, as well."
Each special-themed weekend, beginning Nov. 23 through Dec. 8, will be a fun-filled extravaganza of sight and sound, set against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico and evening sunsets. During the event weekends, visitors will enjoy everything from decorated golf-cart and lighted boat parades to Junkanoo and fire dancers, live music and even a Marching Mullet Parade.
All three weekends of events take place in Captiva's "village" center, where its colorful restaurants and shops will be festively decorated.
The village is the heart of the island: a quirky, colorful, pedestrian-friendly hub where people stroll from place to place, enjoying live music, tropical food and drink and the island's legendary sunsets.
Back by popular demand, a feature of this year's Captiva Holiday Village is community Chautauqua, offering educational workshops, entertainment, films, a carol sing, boat cruises, tastings and natural history talks-all offering locals and visitors a chance to learn more about quirky Captiva.
In addition to Holiday Village festivities, the island offers easy access to an abundance of water sports: kayaking, guided fishing, parasailing, world-renowned shelling and wildlife cruises to the outer islands.
Captiva Island, located on the Gulf coast of Florida adjacent to Fort Myers, is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines around the world. In 2011, Captiva ranked as one of TripAdvisor's Top 10 Travelers' Choice U.S. Beach Destinations.
The small island is also known as a destination for celebrities and creative legends. Visitor lodging options include small inns, deluxe resorts, rental homes and condos, and dockage for boats of all sizes.
According to The Weather Channel, the average daily high temperature for Captiva in December is 77 degrees, and it is the driest month annually with just 1.71 inches of rain.
Captiva resorts, inns, cottages and vacation homes will be offering lodging specials in conjunction with this year's third annual Captiva Holiday Village event.
As a highlight of this annual event, local hoteliers and restaurants have once again teamed up to offer six free two-night Captiva Holiday Village weekends for the 2012 event. Online entries are now being accepted at www.captivaholidayvillage.com.
For a list of all events and hotel packages, visit HYPERLINK "%22http://"www.CaptivaHolidayVillage.com.