Holiday cheer will fill Pineland this week, while providing individuals with the opportunity to shop for presents locally, and to listen to some holiday music.
The Holiday House of H.O.P.E. will kick off the four-day event with Family Night Wednesday, Nov. 28. The Pine Island Elementary Choir will perform a selection of holiday classics at 5:45 p.m., which will be followed by the United Methodist Church Chancel Chimes performing at 6:15 p.m.
One of the highlights of the night will occur at 6:30 p.m. as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrive by boat at the docks at Tarpon Lodge. A photo opportunity will be available for the youngsters who want to have their pictures taken with the Clauses in the gazebo.
Twenty-two holiday trees will be on display during the Holiday House of H.O.P.E. for individuals to bid on their favorite one.
The youngsters will also have the chance to create an advent Santa calendar, as well as listen to storyteller Tonya Player and author Wilson Hawthorne. A special kid friendly buffet will also be available during Family Night.
A $5 donation is requested.
On Thursday, Nov. 29, local cookbook author Dick May will be sharing his favorite recipes and selling his books. Jazz clarinetist Lanny Lamb will perform holiday music.
If You Go
What: Holiday House of H.O.P.E.
Benefactor: Beacon of H.O.P.E.
Nov. 28-Dec. 1,
from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Tarpon Lodge
The Symphonic Chorale of SWFL will perform holiday classics and D.L. Halvin, another local author, will have his books at the Holiday House Friday, Nov. 30.
The last night, Saturday, Dec. 1, will feature local author John D. Mills. "Fiddlin" Fred Mayer will play holiday music on his five-string viola.
"I think this is going to be a really nice event," said Elsie Stearns, Beacon Board of Directors president.
There will be eight rooms decorated within the Tarpon Lodge featuring items ranging from watercolors to textile art, as well as a room that promises to engulf guests with the smells of baked goods, chocolates and jellies.
Stearns said the rooms will feature the best local artists Pine Island has to offer.
New for this year, she said, will be two vendors outdoors who will cater to the men. Drew Chicone and Matt Sewell will have various fishing rods available.
Stearns said Sewell will be turning rods on site, as well as providing individuals with the opportunity to custom order a fishing rod during the Holiday House.
Nocera Photography will be offering portrait sittings both Friday and Saturday.
"This is our one and only fund-raising event," Stearns said about the Beacon of H.O.P.E., "so we ask you to bring your checkbook and dig deep into your pockets."
Last year, she said they raised more than $10,000. The money raised went directly back into helping the community.
The unique thing about the Beacon of H.O.P.E., Stearns said, is that it touches the lives of such people as a newborn child to someone that is 104 utilizing Meals on Wheels.
"We are there to help and there to guide," she said noting the meaning behind H.O.P.E. - Helping Our People Excel.
"We are here to help you excel, not a hand out, it's a hand up."
The services the Beacon of H.O.P.E. provides includes Meals on Wheels, ACCESS Point Fluid (Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance and unemployment benefits), AARP, vocational rehab, Lee County Human Services (energy payments to low income households and discount prescription drug program), wellness program, transportation program, Students Achieving Success, Pine Island Teens Succeed, GED Chrissy Frahm GED program, English as a Second Language, individual and group counseling, food and gas cards, medical equipment, family financial assistance and senior financial assistance.
Stearns said every board member is actively involved in the Beacon volunteering their time with one of the many programs.
"By being active in the programs, it allows us to really understand the needs of the community," she said. "When you're active, you can see the results."
The Beacon, of course, could not provide all of its services without the support of the community, as well as its volunteers.
"The number of hours is phenomenal," Stearns said about the dedicated volunteers who donate thousands of hours of service.
The Tarpon Lodge will be open for dinner and the bar will be serving drinks during the Holiday House. Those who wish to eat at the Tarpon Lodge are encouraged to make reservations at 239-283-3999.