01 September 2012
By Chuck Spicer
There has been plenty of “big name” entertainment at the dozens of major festivals and special events along the Forgotten Coast for the past 11 months. But they all pale in popularity to the star of the many “shows” featured in December.
Like Frank, Cher and Madonna he is so darn popular (especially in the eyes of the younger set) that he is also best known by a single name – “Santa.” And for the next three weeks he will be making special guest appearances in Forgotten Coast communities from Sopchoppy to St. George Island. From Port St Joe to Panacea.
And in many cases the jovial gift giver will be arriving for his appearances in a unique but appropriate manner. No, nothing quite as far out as a wrecking ball, but pretty close. Where else will you see a star of such major proportions waving to a crowd from a shrimp boat.” Or a fire truck or golf cart!
This month he will be the star attraction at celebrations on St. George Island, Apalachicola, Panacea, Port St. Joe, Shell Point, Crawfordville, Sopchoppy, Mexico Beach and St. Marks. And word has it that he may also be making some house calls toward the end of the month. Carrying two bags: one with goodies and the other with coal.
Appearances at private parties don’t count as apparently a “lit up” nose doesn’t sit well with a jealous Rudolph.
Speaking of house & office parties, there will be hundreds of them during the next 30 days. The Forgotten Coast is made up mostly of miniscule mom& pop business operations and most all will celebrate in some way. In many cases single proprietors will toast themselves. Some others businesses will book a single table at a local pub or restaurant.
By the way, “National Small Business Day” was celebrated in late November but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own December celebration on the Forgotten Coast. Lasso a couple friends and do some fun window shopping in our local communities. You are certain to find some really rare treasures that you certainly won’t find at the big city mall. You can also avoid gut wrenching traffic jams and quarter eating parking meters. And avoid hundreds of germ carriers and pick pockets.
Then there are the absentee owners. Somewhere around 50% of the homes on the Forgotten Coast are owned by folks from other parts of the country. And many (along with their relatives) converge on the coast for an extended holiday period. And oftentimes the week between Christmas and New Years somewhat resembles the middle of summer. These part time residents can be spotted driving SUV’s with a Christmas tree tied to the roof. Speaking of relatives, it is also the time of year when the many birds who flew the nest for greener pastures, joyously return to their true roots.
And then there are the many folks who are a great deal like this writer. They moved to the Forgotten Coast to get away from the mayhem that is the uncivilized world and are delightfully content with the down-to-earth joys that paradise provides.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
The Annual St. George Island “Island Lights”festivities will be held December 6. The one mile "Jingle Jog" starts at 4:00 pm on the bike path in front of Lighthouse Park and proceeds through the business district. It's a fun run and everyone is welcome! All runners will receive Santa hats for their heads and jingle bells for their shoes. Kindly arrive a little before 4:00 pm to sign in. A $5 per runner donation is suggested at the run. Yes, Grinch, you read right!
Refreshments, including snacks, coffee, and hot chocolate, are available at 5:00 pm which is also the time Santa is expected. He will arrive by fire engine and entertain and provides gifts to children who are age 10 or younger. In the event of rain, many stable tents will be set up. View the lighting of the palms and park at sundown. The event is hosted by the St. George Island Business Association. For more information, see www.SGILights.com or call Sometimes It's Hotter at 840-927-5039.
BUSY DECEMBER 7
Crispness is in the air and Port St. Joe chili lovers are once again gearing up for the 4th annual Junior Service League Chili Cookoff. The event takes place Saturday, December 7th in a new location this year - on Sailors Cove Drive, next to the Haughty Heron. Teams enter to win the top prize and bragging rights of "Best Chili in PSJ" while attendees are able to purchase tastes of all of the chili. All funds raised from the teams, tasters, sponsors and 50/50 raffle go towards supporting the great community service works the JSL does in the area throughout the year, such as purchasing clothing and school supplies for area children.
The fun starts at noon with live music by “Konkrete Soul”, a bouncy house for the kids, and adult refreshments. Have you thought about entering your favorite chili? Team Registration forms can be picked up at the Welcome Center, Haughty Heron, Persnickety and A&A Homecare in Wewa or by contacting any member of the Junior Service League.
A PANACEA CHRISTMAS will be celebrated Dec. 7 in Downtown Panacea (Wakulla County). The time is 6:30p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Your contact is Sherrie Miller (850)528-1527. Did you know this coastal community (which is seeking “cityship”) used to be noted for its soothing waters? Thus the name “Panacea”.
Also on December 7 Christmas on the Coast will be celebrated in Port St. Joe (Gulf County). Residents will kick off the season with a special holiday SaltAir Farmers' Market, a lighted Christmas Parade, tree lighting, Santa and plenty of festive entertainment downtown. 850-227-1223. Website: www.gulfchamber.org
A “Day of Declaration” will be hosted in Port St. Joe on Dec. 7. You can join others of faith as they gather together to “re-affirm their spiritual foundation is in the faith in the Lord God”. For more information visit their website at www.dayofdeclaration.org
The annual Holiday Fresh Market will be staged Saturday, Dec. 7th in Downtown Apalachicola. Why fight the crowds and traffic at the malls? Visit for the day or the weekend and find one-of-a-kind unusual presents. Shop in a relaxed, hassle free environment. Buy hand crafted Apalachicola specialties such as fresh seasonal wreaths, baked goods, artwork, wood carving, pottery, hand knitted goods. Your gift shopping has never been easier! Call (850) 653-9419 for details. Located in front of the Dixie Theatre Avenue E and Market Street. www.apalachicolabay.org