The Parrish "Hometown" Christmas
By Mimi Sheffer
The Parrish “Hometown” Christmas Tree Lighting Event was a huge success! This This Annual Event, put on by the Parrish Civic Association, has become a town favorite
and this year, the turnout was incredible with double the number of people from last year! The PCA added some new attractions this year, including a Snow Slide and “snow pit”, both hugely popular with the kids. And the Petting Zoo, courtesy of Signa Gustafson Byrket, appealed to kids of all ages, who got to pet or hold goats, a pig, a dog, snake, turtles, chickens, ferrets and more. The Kids Zone had several different activities, including a Letter to Santa, coloring crafts and face painting.
Two children’s groups sang Christmas songs at the event - Harvey Elementary and Parrish Charter Academy. We also had performances by the Dance Team from the new Parrish Community High School performed and the Dance Team from Major Productions Studio of Dance.
There were lots of fun photo opportunities, with a festive antique truck photo area, graciously provided by the Guido Family, photo boards and of course, Santa posed for photos in the Santa’s Workshop area.
Santa arrived in style, delivered to the event on the Parrish Fire Truck, escorted by the Sheriff’s Department, and sat with the children listening to their wish lists.
The Christmas Tree Decorating Contest had 9 beautiful entries this year. North River Dental won the Contest with a whimsical, candy-land fairy tale tree. Dr. Richard Steinberg graciously donated their winnings back to the Parrish Civic Association, so we can continue to do good for our community.
Many thanks to all the organizations who participated in the Tree Contest – Bonnie and the entire team at North River Dental, Lt. Sandra McIver and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Leticia Teague and the Parrish Fire Department, Susan Grainer with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) at Parrish Community High School, Hilary Koppenhaver with The Swim School, Stephanie Klosterman and her team with the Girls Scouts Troops 115 and 561, Gretchen Fowler with the Anthony Fowler Foundation, Kim Vole with State Farm Insurance, and Debbie Davidson with Parrish Playworks.
Teresa Giles, owner of PJ’s Sandwich Shop had the honor of lighting of the Town Christmas Tree.
Many thanks to the committee for their hard work on this popular Parrish event and to the dozens of volunteers who worked tirelessly to secure sponsorships, donations and to set-up and facilitate this event. Thanks to Nancy White for chairing the event, Gretchen Fowler for her leadership of the Parrish Civic Association, Hilary Koppenhaver for decorating the Town Christmas Tree, the Parrish Arts Council for help with the Kids Zone, the Guido Family, Alma Mujagic-Curran for coordinating the entertainment, Shaun Ausborn for managing the parking, the Parrish Community High School Soccer Team for help with parking, manning the snow slide and keeping the grounds of the area clean. We are very grateful to CenterState Bank for allowing us to hold this event at their Parrish location and for supporting the event over the past several years. And very special thanks to Norma Kennedy who dreamed up the event several years ago and has been the driving force behind the event for the last 4 years.