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8th annual Holiday House kicks off Nov. 30

By Staff | Nov 15, 2017

Santa is coming to Pine Island Thursday, Nov. 30, as a special guest for the Beacon of HOPE’s 8th annual Holiday House of HOPE, which continues Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2, at the historic Tarpon Lodge.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive “island fashion” by boat at the docks of Tarpon Lodge on Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

“Last year the children filled the lawn all the way down to the dock,” Elsie Stearns said.

Every year the lawn of Tarpon Lodge is filled with activities for the children. There will be a family friendly menu as well as crafts, face painting, story-time with Tonya Player, NFMMA Steel Drum Band and the Pine Island Elementary Choir, plus Hula Hoop lessons, pictures with Santa and much more.

This year’s theme is “Christmas Past” and the history of the historic Tarpon Lodge fits the theme perfectly. Built in 1926 as a fishing lodge for Graham and Mary Wilson, Tarpon Lodge has eight charming rooms featuring original oak hardwood floors, fireplaces and crown moldings. The historic house is a perfect setting for “Christmas Past.”

“Decorations will also reflect ‘Christmas Past’,” Stearns said. “We have old-time lamp posts lining the walkway and the Matlacha Art Association and local artists have hand-painted Christmas balls to be placed on a special ‘artists tree’ that will be auctioned off. This tree gives us an opportunity to show off the incredible talent of our local artists. The tree has over 200 hand-painted ornaments from our local artists. The Matlacha Art Association provided all the materials and decorated the balls. This is a ‘home-grown’ one-of-a-kind tree that was very successful last year and will once again be auctioned off!”

As in previous years there will be many 24″ trees decorated by local businesses that will be auctioned off.

“Each of these trees are special and unique,” Stearns said. “One-of-a-kind trees that people will treasure for years to come.”

Family night includes a family friendly menu as well as face painting, crafts and a special evening of story telling by Mrs. Tonya Player, songs from the Pine Island Eagle Choir and the NFMAA Steel Drum Band.

The artists enclave will be under the new ‘stilt-house’. This years authors are John Mills, Marty Ambrose, Mitch Grant, Fran Thomas and Robin Anne Griffiths.

Vendors include CW Fudge’s Chocolate Candyland, Sanibel Soul Jewelry, PI Attic Holiday Bazaar, Pine Bay Gifts featuring artist Mel Meo, Designs by Lisa Holloway, Unique Treasures, Coastal Wired Jewelry, Nauti Tiki Seasonings, Bohemian Bokeelian, Pine Island Tropicals, Tagua Jewelry and Kumihimo Jewelry.

Hours for the Holiday House at Tarpon Lodge are Thursday, Nov. 30, 4-7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 1, 5:30-10 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 2, 5:3010 p.m.

The Tarpon Lodge is at 13771 Waterfront Drive, Bokeelia. To contact the lodge, call 239-283-3999.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. For more information, call 239-283-5123.