December 6, 2016
As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday is past, Key West goes into high gear preparing for Christmas. The city decorations go up, including beautiful displays at Bayview Park and at the Key West Bight and lights begin appearing on houses throughout the city. Our house is no exception as Kathy has once again added a good number of lights to our annual display and most of the week, she (with a little help from me), was busy hanging lights and covering our property with all manner of Christmas lights.
Each year we enter the city’s annual holiday lights contest sponsored by Historic Tours and City Electric and each year in spite of our best efforts we do not win the competition. This isn’t to say that we do not give it our best effort, but speaks to just how amazing the competition is (and as Kathy surmises the fact that we don’t know any of the judges).
Whatever the case, we don’t care and hang the lights to please the many trolleys, trains and others that pass by our house each night during December. It is fun to sit in the yard and greet the many who pass by. The Island holiday party always gets started with the annual City of Key West Holiday Parade which is held the first Saturday evening of December each year. The parade which this year featured more than double the number of entries of the Fantasy Fest parade, was especially good this year.
With more than 60 entries ranging from School groups and bands to civic organizations, local business entries as well as various churches and religious organizations participating, the parade is a true measure of the wonder and diversity of our community. The floats are a wonderful mix featuring everything from drag queens to Santa Claus and feature a number of the various members of our religious community with entries from all manner of churches and even the local synagogue. All views and people are well represented and the large crowd of families and community members who line the route seem to enjoy it all.
Kids are especially happy as most of the entries toss out candy to the kids who eagerly await holding bags that are often more full at parade’s end than a typical Halloween haul. The parade is one of the coolest things that the city sponsors all year and we really love attending. As is our tradition, we once again stopped at a pre-parade party at the home of our friends Holly and Craig. This family friendly party is a great way to gear up for the parade as many of our friends and their kids gather in advance of the festivities to eat, drink and enjoy the holiday cheer.
Just as the parade was starting, the party crowd moved to the Truman Street parade route to secure a good spot among the thousands of others on hand to watch the parade and catch the candy that each parade entry flung towards the children lining the street. We watched the parade from that spot for about a third of the time before heading down Truman through the crowd to The Conch House B & B, where owner Sam Holland was hosting his annual parade watching party and where each year we see a large number of friends enjoying the start of the holiday season.
The Conch House
The Conch House party is always a great time, so many of our friends attend each year and all are in the holiday spirit that is the perfect entrée into the crazy month of December and all the events that fill up the calendar this time of year. It is just one massive and quick burst until the New Year. 2016 has been a difficult year for many, with the loss of so many talented artists, a brutal election season that divided our Nation and created a malaise that continues to linger over much of our collective consciousness, hopefully the Holiday season and New Year will lead to better things, some healing and respect among our fellow citizens.