Annual festival pairs holiday fun with a spark of competition.
|The Annual Howey-in-the-Hills Christmas Festival is held each December in downtown Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. The 2010 Festival is scheduled for Dec. 10-11. For more information, call John Ernest at (352) 348-9925 or log on to www.howey.org and click onto special events.
What happens when a small town in Lake County, Fla. has a Christmas festival that includes a home decorating competition? The whole town sparkles with both lights and excitement.
Scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 & Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, the second annual Howey Christmas Festival is one of the largest events for Howey-in-the Hills, a town of just over 1,000 residents. Last year’s festival boasted over 600 visitors that journeyed from surrounding areas to catch a glimpse of this picturesque town located among rolling hills and situated along the shoreline of Little Lake Harris.
This year’s event begins with a “Party in the Park” on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. that includes karoke, holiday music and a Christmas tree competition featuring trees submitted by Astatula Elementary, Lake Hills School, Lake County Library System and The Boy Scouts of Central Florida. Saturday’s festivities are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a craft show, live entertainment, food vendors, car show and a 3 p.m. parade with a visit from Santa and the Grinch.
“The craft and car shows are just a few of the biggest features the festival has to offer,” said Peggy Ernest, co-organizer of the event.
The town is also hosting a House Christmas Light Decorating Competition, with winners being announced at Friday night’s event. Homes entered will be judged in three categories, religious theme, a WOW category and a Clark Griswold bright and excessive theme.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, “said Debi Dyer, Tourism Coordinator with Lake County Tourism & Business Relations. “We’re excited for visitors to explore one of Lake County’s beautiful towns while it is aglow with twinkling lights, and festive cheer.”
The event began with just a hometown local Christmas parade and blossomed into a two-day event. The Festival helps promote local vendors, along with encouraging the community to get the holiday season off to a merry start.