A 30-ton snow mountain, perfect for making subtropical snowballs, is typically a family favorite during the celebration. The fun is set for 4-10 p.m. at the park’s beach area.
The crowd-pleasing celebration centerpiece, a 35-foot-tall holiday tree with “magical” snow blowing from its branches, is to be lit at 6 p.m.
The 18th annual holiday parade is themed “Celebrating the Holidays Through the Centuries (1823-2023)” in honor of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Keys’ Monroe County.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and feature decorated floats, marching bands, antique cars and, of course, Santa and his reindeer, who will make their grand entrance in a fire truck fully decked out for the holidays.
Well-behaved four-legged companions are welcome to join two-legged "party animals" on the stage as they prance in their own Santa Paws Pet Parade, vying for prizes for best doggone holiday attire. Entry is free.
Musical and dance performances are to enliven the outdoor stage throughout the event, as are contests to choose “Miss Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Mister Gingerbread Man,” and the top three and “people’s choice” for the elaborate and delicious gingerbread house entries.
The holiday bazaar is to be full of gift items, jewelry, crafts, baked goods and gourmet baskets. The highly anticipated ornament silent auction features 50 hand-painted ceramic pieces created and donated by local artists. Bids for the one-of-a-kind ornaments are accepted until 9 p.m.
Adults can sample a variety of food items, enjoy hot buttered rum and craft beer or sip fine wines at the festival-favorite Vino Village. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe is to offer tempting coffees, decadent desserts and treats.
Holiday Fest is plastic-free, so attendees are encouraged to bring a reusable nonglass drink container. Admission to the event is free. A $5 donation is to be collected for on-site parking.
Festival information: islamoradachamber.com/holiday-fest or 305-664-4503
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
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