In what is hoped to become a regular seasonal celebration, the free event will feature holiday music concerts by local school groups, carnival style rides for kids, a variety of foods for sale by local vendors, holiday crafts and other special activities for the whole family.
Mary S. Fernandez, program and events coordinator for the village’s Parks and Recreation Department, said she is excited about the way the event is taking shape.
“We’ve gotten really positive response from the community on this from the schools and vendors and everyone,” Fernandez said. “They’re really interested in the event, which tells me that it’s something the community wanted, and I’m glad we’re putting it on.
“So far I’ve gotten confirmation from Perrine Elementary that they’ll do a little holiday caroling, the Greater Miami Youth Symphony will be performing, the Richmond Heights Middle School Chorus will perform, and Southridge High School is going to bring a dance group.”
Fernandez said that the Palmetto Bay Library will be involved with a storytelling time as well as helping out with an arts and crafts booth, and that she’s talking to a local business regarding a belly dancing performance.
“It’s going to be a fun night,” Fernandez said. “At the craft table we’ll have holiday ornaments that the kids will be able to color and put glitter on. Local Girl Scouts have volunteered to help out with the arts and crafts along with the library staff. We’ll also have a Santa letter-writing table as well, and the kids will be able to drop off the letters in a little North Pole mail box.”
Fernandez is happy that so many people are getting involved in making the event happen.
“The lovely people over at the garden club have been very active in helping us put together the decorations for the event, too,” she said. “There’s a lot of participation from the community.”
Scheduled for the day after local schools recess for the holidays, “Holiday by the Bay” is expected to be the anchor event for the end of the year. Besides the music, foods like kettle corn, smoothies, wraps, cupcakes, hot chocolate and other popular items will be available. Kids (and even adults) will be able to have their photos taken with Santa.
Fanny Carmona-Gonzalez, Parks and Recreation director, thinks the new event is an important step forward for several reasons.
“What this is all about is creating more opportunities for the people of our community to gather in a small town kind of winter celebration and enjoy our beautiful park,” said Carmona-Gonzalez. “This is the ‘Village of Parks,’ and Ludovici Park is the perfect venue for such an event. We’re hoping this will be an annual event that will continue and grow.
“The Village Center has accepted our request to use their parking lot as overflow for the event. It just goes to show that we are a community and everybody helps each other out.”
She also appreciates the help from area sponsors who already have signed on to participate.
“The Palmetto Bay Soccer League is a sponsor for the event with $2,000,” Carmona-Gonzalez said. “We want to acknowledge their participation and we welcome any others.”
Bill Kress, the village public information specialist, said that all of the elements came together on relatively short notice, and in a good way.
“In this village there’s no shortage of participation among the youth in terms of musical performances, from both the public and private schools,” Kress said. “We’re excited that two of the students of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony are residents here. It will also be the last day of our toy drive and we’ll be accepting unwrapped new toys for us to give out to local children who need them.”
For more information check the village website at www.palmettobay-fl.gov/ or call 305-259-1234.