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Periwinkle will twinkle during annual Luminary Festival

By Staff | Dec 2, 2015

Annual light show is Dec. 4-5. PHOTO PROVIDED

One thousand seven hundred luminaries will light the bike paths along Periwinkle Way this Friday during the 31st annual Luminary Festival kicking off the holiday season.

“The high point of the year is Luminary night,” Chet Sadler, a member of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club said. “It’s a grand night.”

The Rotary Club members begin the task of placing the luminaries along Periwinkle Way at 3 p.m. and finish approximately two hours later before the Luminary begins at 5:30 p.m.

“I think the part that I enjoy the best is when you are done it makes it look like home,” he said. “We used to put bags of sand at our home in Colorado, but just on our driveway. It makes the whole island look like home.”

Sadler said the City of Sanibel helps the club by providing two trucks, one for each end of Periwinkle Way, that carries the sand and members of the Rotary Club. The Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce provides the bags and the candles.

The 31st annual Luminary Festival includes nine trolley stops along Periwinkle Way. PHOTO PROVIDED

“We fill the bag with sand and then we put a candle in it,” Sadler said. “We drop them every 10 feet all along the bike path.”

Four or five Rotarians fill the bags of sand in the back of the truck, while Sadler sits on the tailgate dropping the bags.

Once the bags are dropped, two people following the truck, will place the candles in the sand.

Eric Pfeifer, of Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, said around 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. members of the club light all the candles.

“Everybody loves luminary evening,” he said. “As a service club we do anything to give back. We just like to give back to the island.”

The Community Chorus will help spread the holiday cheer during the annual Luminary Festival at various stops. PHOTO PROVIDED

Kurt Peters, with the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club, said they are the pick up crew.

“We pick up all the luminaries and get rid of everything,” he said. “We make it look nice again.”

Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce Member Service Manager Trent Peake said festival will have seven different trolleys running the various stops.

“They will be continuously running up and down Periwinkle,” he said from 5:30 to 9 p.m. “We will have volunteers at the various shops and (they will) be able to direct you and be able to get you in the right area.”

The trolley stops include Pinocchio’s and Lighthouse Cafe; Bennett’s Fresh Roast; Jerry’s Shopping Center; Tahitian Gardens; Periwinkle Place; School House Theater; Palm Ridge Plaza; Olde Sanibel Shoppes and Bailey’s Center.

The first stop includes Pinocchio’s with Italian ice cream samples; Geppetto’s Bakery with roasted chestnuts and treats; Lighthouse Cafe with beer and snacks; Lighthouse Realty with fudge and red wine and Sanibel Sea School with movies, beer, wine and snacks.

A new stop this year includes Bennett’s Fresh Roast with hot mulled cider, Sanibel Dairy Queen with free kid’s ice cream cones and Norris Home Furnishings with food and drink.

Jerry’s Shopping Center is the third stop along the Luminary trail. The center will feature pictures with Santa; wine tasting; cookies, a saxophone musician; hot dogs and sodas from the Boy Scouts and karaoke Christmas at McCallion & McCallion Realty.

The Sanibel Community Church’s chapel will be converted into a Walk Through Bethlehem featuring a live theatrical experience with shops. A tree lighting will be held at 5:30 p.m. with “Joy to the World” filling the air. A petting zoo, homemade cookies, hors d’oeuvres and a kids tent featuring ornament making, face painting and the story of the birth of Jesus will also be a part of the festivities.

The Tahitian Gardens will include live music and refreshments. The businesses participating include Shiny Objects with BBQ and kabobs; Cheeburger Cheeburger with beer and wine specials; Adventures in Paradise with hors d’oeuvres and drinks; Cip’s Place with light refreshments and Eileen Fisher with light refreshments.

Pictures with Santa from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. will take place at Periwinkle Place, along with live music from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and refreshments. Island Pursuit will have food and drinks.

The Community House is also among the stops with various crafters selling homemade items, woven and wire jewelry, soaps, handcrafted linens, glass creations, pottery, island art, homemade cards and flower prints and shell craft items. An Ugly Sweater contest will also be among the festivities at 7 p.m. Popcorn, snacks and beverages will be available for a donation.

Palm Ridge Plaza will feature Sanibel Deli with pizza and beer; Rosie’s Cafe with wine and snacks; holiday treats and drinks at Sanibel Sweet Shoppe and a reindeer feeding post and an ugly Christmas sweater photo booth at Hillgate.

Sandi Corace, of RE/MAX of the Islands, said this year marks their third year of participation.

“We decided that it was time to get involved about two years ago,” she said. “Last year it went so well as a second year, we (decided to) keep expanding it a little more.”

The Grinch will be on the property for everyone to meet and dance with. The Grinch movie and music videos will also be among the entertainment.

Under the tent, hors d’oeuvres will be served and seating will be available. Point Ybel is donating beer, hot chocolate and spiked hot chocolate will be served, wine, as well as cookies, cheese and crackers will be available.

“We had people come and stop by last year and spent the whole evening here,” Corace said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

The Old Sanibel Shoppes, the eighth trolley stop, will feature the Sanibel School choir, Herb Strauss singers and refreshments.

The Bailey’s General Store General Manager Richard Johnson said the Luminary has always been a special event for the Bailey Center.

“It’s the kick off time that we invite, not only everyone in the community, but folks off island. Everyone loves to see Christmas lights,” he said.

The Luminary festivities at the Bailey’s Center will include a Christmas tree lighting, followed by the BIG ARTS chorus. Peter Redpath will perform Christmas tunes, as well as the Cypress Lakes School of the Arts Acapella Choir and an ensemble from the Southwest Florida Symphony.

Wine and champagne tasting, egg nog and Christmas cookies will be available at the center.

Johnson said this year they are going to relocate the trolley stop to the north side of the building to cut down on the congestion. He will be working the trolley stop encouraging everyone aboard to sing Christmas carols before the trolley departs.

“We have a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “Hopefully everyone enjoys themselves and have a safe and wonderful start to the Christmas season on Sanibel.”

George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille will have live music and food and drink specials from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Zebra Frozen Yogurts will have free tasting of all of their flavors and Whims on Periwinkle will have live music and drinks.

The Luminary Festival will grace Captiva Island the following night along Andy Rosse Lane.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.