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Holiday Festival of Lights Saturday

By Staff | Dec 4, 2015

Kick off the yuletide season with CenturyLink’s Holiday Festival of Lights on Saturday.

Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, the event will feature an official tree lighting ceremony and a visit by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Reorganized into four zones, it will include over 20 performers on three stages, a Snow Drift Slide, Tiny Tots Train Ride and activities for every age.

“This event has always been one of our favorites as it bring the residents of Cape Coral together to celebrate the holidays,” Donna Germain, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, said. “While we are one of the largest cities in Florida, Cape Coral still has a small town charm about it.”

“Community events like this really bring out the best part of living in the Cape,” she said.

The event take place on Cape Coral Parkway, between Southeast 10th Street and 15th Place.

Starting at 6 a.m. Saturday, the stretch of Cape Coral Parkway where the festival takes place will be closed to through traffic. Motorists should arrange for alternate routes. The parkway will reopen at 1 a.m. Sunday.

There is no cost for admission, and all of the attractions are free.

“Everything in our venue is free,” Lyz Crouthamel, spokeswoman for the chamber, said.

The festival will run from 4 to 10 p.m., with the official ceremony scheduled for 5:30 p.m. At 6:10 p.m., Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the Cape Coral Town Center for the tree lighting.

She noted that the tree is 25 feet tall and is decked out in decorations.

Pictures with Santa will be available immediately following the lighting; pets are permitted.

“They are welcome to take as many photos as they like,” Crouthamel said. “When they’re done, they can take photos in front of the tree – a lot of people like to do that.”

Throughout the night, there will be performances by groups like the Kobayashi Dojo, Calendar Girls, Lariats and Lace from Littleton Elementary, Robin Dawn Academy of Performing Arts and more.

“They’re all local community groups,” she said.

New this year, the activities, vendors and such will be broken down into four zones.

“We have condensed the venue to make it more accessible,” Crouthamel said.

East to west, there will be Candy Cane Inflatable Park, Holiday Village, Christmas Town Center and Snowcap Square. Candy Cane Inflatable Park will contain the inflatables, sponsored by Cape Christian.

“There will be about eight,” she said.

Holiday Village will feature craft vendors and food vendors.

“It will have a community stage,” Crouthamel said.

The Christmas Town Center will contain the tree and Santa, as well a community stage, information tent and food vendors. All the zones, except the Holiday Village, will have bathrooms available.

Snowcap Square will offer the Tiny Tots Train Ride, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, along with the 25-ton Snow Drift Slide. Adults and children can enjoy a ride on the slide.

“It has vendors. It has food. It has a community stage,” she said.

On average, approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people attend the event every year.

“We usually have around 90 vendors,” Crouthamel said.

For attendees interested in giving back, a donation box will be set up by Santa for the Cape Coral Caring Center. Donations of non-perishable foods items or new unwrapped toys are suggested.

Parking is available street-side or in the public parking lots, like Club Square, Iguana Mia and Big John. Organizers cautioned drivers to keep an eye out for tow away zones and tow away signs.

“We recommend looking for businesses’ parking signs,” she said.

The public is urged to come out.

“The event is a good holiday season kick-off,” Crouthamel said.

“It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit,” she said. “It’s a free fun event for the whole family.”

For more information on the festival, visit online at: www.holidayfestivalcc.com.

The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral is at 2051 E. Cape Coral Parkway.