The holiday season officially kicks off in Cape Coral Saturday night with the annual Festival of Lights - touted by organizers as the "largest holiday celebration between Tampa and Miami."
The block party, coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral and the city and title sponsored again this year by CenturyLink, will feature lots of live entertainment; three food courts; a free play area for children complete with a 25-ton snowdrift slide, train rides and bounce houses; a tree lighting and the opportunity to share Christmas wishes with Santa Claus.
Each year an estimated 20,000 attendees stroll Cape Coral Parkway, queue up to visiting vendors and crowd the stage areas to enjoy the holiday magic.
Downtown businesses get into the spirit, staying open late to welcome revelers with specials and an opportunity to enjoy their deck-the-halls efforts.
Now in its 26th year, 2016's festival promises to be another good one, with three stages and more than 20 performances lined up for the event slated to run from 4-10 p.m.
Hometown festivals like this are one of the best things about living in the Cape.
We thank all of the parties that make these events possible - the organizers and, especially, the volunteers and the businesses that offer sponsorships, which have helped keep admissions free.
That's another thing that separates Cape events from those "across the river" - the biggest and the best, like Red, White & BOOM!, the Rotary Festival of the Arts, and the Festival of Lights, are no or low cost (depending on how much one chooses to indulge), thanks to the efforts of local organizations and business participation.
That's hometown holiday spirit epitomized - and we're lucky enough to enjoy it year-round.
Happy holidays and an early Merry Christmas.
- Breeze editorial