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Luminary Festival of the Islands to be held Friday, Saturday nights

By Staff | Dec 3, 2008

Sponsored by the Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce, the 24th Annual Luminary Festival of the Islands promises to be the best that Sanibel shopkeepers, residents and shoppers have ever seen.

The traditional opening of the Sanibel Island holiday shopping season takes place starting at dusk on Friday, Dec. 5 and continues until about 9:30 p.m.

During the event, candlelight luminaries line more than three miles of Sanibel walkways and paths, transforming the island into a festive wonderland, while businesses and residents spare no effort in transforming their own shops and homes into twinkling beacons in the night.

Members of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club set the bags up, while members of the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club light the candles. Members of the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club are on hand when the celebration is concluded to pick the bags up.

Residents and visitors are urged to get outdoors that night to meet their neighbors, have some fun, listen to wonderful musical performances of holiday music and enjoy some holiday shopping “island-style.”

Santa Claus is even getting in on the act, taking the long trip from the North Pole to sultry Sanibel, where he will appear at different stops throughout the evening, starting at Bailey’s Center at 5:30 p.m. From there, jolly old St. Nick will be continuing to Olde Sanibel Shops at 5:50 p.m.; Palm Ridge Shops at 6:15 p.m.; The Village Shops at 6:35 p.m.; Forever Green Shops at 6:55 p.m.;

Tahitian Gardens at 7:15 p.m.; Sanibel Island Bookshop at 7:35 p.m., and ending at the East End Shops at 8:05 p.m. Pictures with Santa will be offered at Jerry’s Center and Periwinkle Place.

Parking will be provided at the following locations on the island, and trolleys will shuttle revelers from stop-to-stop along the Luminary Trail:

• East End/Seahorse Shops (limited parking)

• HealthPark/Bank of the Islands

• Jerry’s Shopping Center

• Tahitian Gardens

• Forever Green Shops (limited parking)

• Periwinkle Place

• The Schoolhouse Theater

• The Village Shops

• Hungry Heron Plaza (limited parking)

• Palm Ridge Shops (limited parking)

• Olde Sanibel Shops (limited parking)

• Bailey’s Center

Trolley stops along the Luminary Trail will offer entertainment, refreshments and/or live music at the following locations:

• East End/Seahorse Shops: Refreshments, Reggae Band

• Traders/Sanibel Island Bookshop: Refreshments, Music

• Jerry’s Shopping Center: Pictures with Santa at Jerry’s

• Sanibel Community Church: Live Entertainment, Live Nativity Scene, Music, Refreshments

• Tahitian Gardens: Steel Drums, Refreshments

• Periwinkle Place: Refreshments, Pictures with Santa, Entertainment

• Sanibel Congregational Church: Refreshments, Music

• The Schoolhouse Theater — Trolley Stop

• The Village Shops: Blues Band, Refreshments

• Hungry Heron Plaza: Refreshments

• Palm Ridge Shops/Great White Grill: Refreshments

• Tower Gallery/Sweet Melissa’s: Refreshments

• Olde Sanibel Shops: Sanibel School Caroling and Steel Drum Band, Refreshments

• Bailey’s Center: Gospel Choir (at 5 p.m.), Refreshments, Music

The two-night celebration continues the next evening, on Saturday, Dec. 6 at dusk when Capitva Island businesses, residents and visitors celebrate the island’s own Luminary Festival.

Entertainment will be offered at the following Captiva establishments: ‘Tween Waters Inn, R.C. Otters, Keylime Bistro, Jungle Drums, Celebration Center and South Seas Island Resort.

For more information on the Luminary Festival of the Islands, call the

Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce at 472-1966 or visit their Web

site at www.sanibel-captiva.org.