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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

By Staff | Dec 2, 2009

Some folks may have noticed an increased amount of red and green around the islands of late, a handful of wreaths, ribbons and bunting, plus an assortment of inflatable decorations featuring shapes and faces familiar to both young and old.

Looks like the holidays have arrived!

Residences and businesses have joined forces in welcoming the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season to Sanibel and Captiva, with the return of the traditional Lions Club tree lot to Bailey’s Center, scores of characters – Santa Claus and his elves, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the sort – adorning lawns and storefronts, plus twinkling lights of all colors and styles wrapped around the trunks of palm trees.

The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village is all decked out for the holidays, too, after a group of spirited volunteers spent two days decorating each building in The Village.

“They’re all volunteers, and they’ll be decorating each of the seven buildings within the museum,” Blair Wyatt, coordinator of the decorating committee, said on Monday. “They are simple decorations like the ones that might have been seen on early Sanibel.”

Many decades ago, Brazilian peppers, Spanish moss, shells and garland made from paper were used in holiday decor, Wyatt noted.

The Village Christmas tree, located in the Old Bailey General Store, is a seven-foot Douglas fir, again donated this year by the Sanibel Lions Club.

In keeping with the holiday season, the museum is selling an exclusive Luc Century etched glass Sanibel Lighthouse ornament/suncatcher as well as beautiful, handcrafted shell wreaths fabricated by Joan Emilius and Peggy Henward.

“There are only about 30 wreaths, and they completely sold out in minutes last year,” Wyatt added.

This Friday, Dec. 4, the Museum & Village will offer a free tour to those who purchase an ornament ($45) or wreath (priced from $60 to $75). The Village Gift Shop is in the Bailey Store; shoppers may go directly to the store without paying museum admission.

The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing Sanibel history, is located at 950 Dunlop Road and open on Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 472-4648 during normal business hours.

Also on Friday, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane and members of City Council will officiate at the Bailey’s Center tree lighting starting at 6:30 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony will take place during the Bailey’s Center Merchants’ Association (BCMA) “Silver Luminary Celebration” at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.

Live music will be performed throughout the evening. Santa will be at the Bailey’s Center from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. to take photos with children and families. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks will also be served while many BCMA merchants will be welcoming their customers, clients and guests with extra festivities to mark the occasion.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Luminary Festival of the Islands, guests are invited to wear their finest silver attire and accessories. All are welcome to attend this free community event.

Other Luminary Festival details (SUBHEAD – BOLD)

The 25th Annual Luminary Festival is an islands-wide holiday event that brings together residents, visitors, businesses and organizations, promoting goodwill and community spirit.

As participants “travel the trail,” look for several fun and festive places to stop and enjoy. Once again, there will be complimentary trolley service, visits and photos with Santa, a live nativity scene, music and activities for the entire family.

On Sanibel, Luminary Festival participants include:

East End/Seahorse Shops – Reggae band and refreshments

Sanibel Island Book Shop – Book signing, music and refreshments

Jerry’s Center – Pictures with Santa and refreshments

Sanibel Community Church – Live nativity, music and refreshments

Tahitian Gardens – Cracker Blues Band and refreshments

Forever Green – Refreshments

Periwinkle Place – Pictures with Santa, entertainment and refreshments

Sanibel Congregational Church – Boutique, music and refreshments

Sanibel Community House – Santa’s Workshop, Cypress Lakes Choir and cookie decorating

The Village Shops – Guitarist Michael David and refreshments

Hungry Heron Plaza – Refreshments

Tower Gallery – Refreshments

Olde Sanibel Shoppes – The Sanibel School Choir and refreshments

Bailey’s Center – Gospel choir, music and refreshments

Participants on Captiva will include South Seas Island Resort, R.C. Otters, Keylime Bistro, Cantina Captiva, The Bubble Room, The Mucky Duck, Island Store, Royal Shell, Captiva Pizza & Yogurt and The Green Flash.

There will be 13 trolley stops along the trail, including East End/Seahorse Shops, Jerry’s Center, Tahitian Gardens, The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater/Sanibel Community House, The Village Shops, Hungry Heron Plaza, Tower Gallery, Olde Sanibel Shoppes and Bailey’s Center. Trolleys will operate from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Sponsors and special contributors for this year’s Luminary Festival include ShopOnSanibel.com, SandCastles, The Cedar Chest, CROW, the City of Sanibel, Waste Pro, Sanibel Fire Rescue District, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, ABWA, Zonta, Tarpon Bay Explorers, Adventures In Paradise, South Seas Island Resort, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Hillgate Communications, Sanibel Community Church, Sanibel Congregational Church, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, ‘Tween Waters Inn, Giggles, Sanibel Air Conditioning, Sanctuary Island Electric, chamber staff, ambassadors and volunteers as well as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

For additional information, call the Islands of Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce at 472-1966 or visit www.sanibel-captiva.org.