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Luminary to feature deals and promote business for holidays

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Dec 1, 2020

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is set to kick off Luminary this week.

An annual holiday tradition for the islands, this year’s celebration will look a little different due to the pandemic. The two-day event has been extended to seven days, Dec. 4-11, and will still promote a “shop small” initiative — minus the large crowds, lit pathways, festive activities and live entertainment.

“Our mission is to ensure the success of our business community, while improving the quality of life for our residential community, and Luminary always plays right into that,” President John Lai said.

“It really just highlights the holiday spirit that our businesses get behind with their decorations and festivities,” he added. “To start the holiday season off with a bang.”

Marking its 31st year, this year’s celebration has been labeled the “Coastal Distance Edition.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Luminary Lager “Coastal Distance Edition”

“It’s really our one year, special edition Luminary to accommodate the year that is 2020,” Lai said. “We’re trying to set an example for the business community behind our SanCap Safe initiative.”

Working with the city, the chamber extended it over a week to minimize large gatherings.

“We’ve done it over a seven-day period of time, so that our hopes would be that we could dilute the crowds and have them come over that period of time,” he said, adding that the event stays true to tradition though in promoting island businesses while providing the chance to celebrate the holidays.

“We feel that this year will be just as special as in years past,” Lai said.

He noted that the islands are known for their beaches and shells, but what many people may not be aware of is their unique shops, non-chain restaurants, and distinct or boutique accommodations.

“We’re a shopping destination, foodie destination and just somewhere cool to stay,” Lai said.

For this year’s celebration, the participating businesses are offering discounts on items or services, BOGO offers, free gifts, items or services with purchases, and complimentary treats or samples.

“Both islands are taking part,” he said.

People can hop on the chamber’s Website and click the Luminary Week banner for details.

“You can see all of the offers our restaurants, shops and accommodations have put forward,” Lai said, adding that the list of discounts and deals is updated each day, so people should check it regularly.

He noted that the annual Captiva Holiday Village Golf Cart Parade will be held on Dec. 5, hosted by the South Seas Island Resort. The entry fees benefit the Sanibel-Captive Conservation Foundation.

“So there’s a great opportunity for people to come out, do some holiday shopping and catch the parade if they choose to,” Lai said.

A new element this year is the Luminary Lager, which is available at participating restaurants. The chamber partnered with Point Ybel Brewing Company to create an exclusive, special-edition winter lager that is flavored with Colorado blue spruce tips and comes in a festively-labeled 16-ounce can.

“We felt like we wanted to add a new component to it,” he said of the annual celebration. “And this gives us a good opportunity to really help push some business to our restaurants and our resorts.”

Production of the lager will halt after Luminary Week.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to “Eat. Shop. Stay. Play.”

“This year is a special year. They’ve been through so much hardship, but they’ve made it through it,” Lai said, adding that Luminary is an opportunity to celebrate the season and say farewell to 2020.

“We’ve seen our residential community come out and support business in times of need before. We don’t believe that this year is any different,” he said, citing red tide and hurricane years. “And this is a time of the year that our snowbirds come back. This is a great way for them to kick off their season.”

For more information or to view the Luminary offerings, visit https://sanibel-captiva.org.