By ANDREA GALABINSKI
A European flair will highlight the upcoming Cape Coral Holiday Market Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1.
After a two-year hiatus, the popular annual fest is now back, hosted by the International Business Organization and Cape Coral Gourmet Food & Wine, to be held in junction with the Holiday Festival of Lights on the first weekend in December.
The Holiday Market is a downtown festival build like an original Christmas Village in Germany or other European countries. It will be held on Coronado Parkway and the corner of Southeast 47th Street, said IBO organizer Dr. Juergen Hartwich.
"We will have original wooden booths like those in European markets," he said. "There will be traditional European holiday cuisine, drinks, sweets and decorative items and we will have live entertainment the two days."
If You Go:
International Business Organization and Cape Coral Gourmet Food &Wine
Cape Coral Holiday Market
Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1
and the corner of 47th Street
* * *
CenturyLink Holiday Festival
Dec. 1 from 4 -10 p.m.
Cape Coral Parkway
in downtown Cape Coral
His personal favorite will be the vendors showcasing cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest and Christmas ornaments from the Erzgebirge (Germany).
There also will be a children's area with Santa Claus on Friday and Saturday, where kids can create gifts for Christmas and pose with Santa Claus for photo sessions.
"Part of the proceeds go to charity; this year it is the Humane Society," he said.
Many of the organizers -including the owners of one of the key sponsors, Cape Coral Gourmet Food & Wine, are animal lovers.
"They are a unique shop with specialties from all over the world," he said.
The event is back by popular demand.
"We finished the last Holiday Market three years ago and have brought it back; people ask us all the time for it," Hartwich said. "It is for all, and for those German-speaking as heritage important to many. We have had visitors from as far away as Marco Island and Naples, locally. We hope to do this every year now."
He is of German descent.
"I like Christmas markets and have seen really big ones in bigger towns in Germany. Germans like Christmas time," Hartwich said.
Vendors are local and very true to European crafts, he said.
"One vendor is from Port Charlotte, bringing in wooden Christmas toys; he's also from Germany."
As the IBO, they will be selling cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest, and pens from exotic woods - woods from all over the world, he said.
He treasures his own cuckoo clock at home.
"It comes from the Black Forest and the oldest company there, hand-painted and hand-carved. When I travel to Germany with a group from Cape Coral we visit that that manufacturer," Hartwich said.
There also will be companies coming from Germany that will be selling Christmas ornaments.
"There is a special part of small villages there where each family spends their evenings making ornaments," he said.
Vendors from Cape Coral include a new German Bakery - Bread Pete on Del Prado; Putting on the Glitz, which will be selling handbags and jewelry, and Gourmet Food & Wine which is the main sponsor.
Among the food, drink and craft offerings, there will be a red wine with spices - "Gluhwein" or mulled wine - and German beer.
Program highlights and the schedule include:
* Friday, Nov. 30
4 - 9 p.m. Vendors are open for business
5- 6:30 p.m. Santa Claus Picture Time
6 - 7 p.m. Dance Show "Rhythm in Motion"
7 to 8 p.m. Fawny Frost with Christmas Carols
8 - 9 p.m. Stephanie Lorenz, German singer with German Christmas songs
* Saturday, Dec. 1
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Vendors are open for business
2 - 4 p.m. Entertainment German and other
2 - 4 p.m. Santa Claus Picture Time
Kids paint Christmas ornaments
3 - 5 p.m. Face Painting for Kids and Adults
4 - 4:30 p.m. Celtic Arts Irish Dancers
6 - 6:30 p.m. Adriana with her Zumba Dance Group
6 - 7 p.m. Dance Show "Rhythm in Motion"
7 - 9 p.m. Wendy Duo
Cape Coral's Holiday Festival of Lights Dec. 1
For more than 25 years, Cape Coral's Holiday Festival of Lights has kicked off the official beginning of the holiday season on the first weekend of December.
According to officials at the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, it is known as the "Feel Good Event of the Year", the Holiday Festival of Lights brings neighbors, families, friends and strangers together to usher in the holiday season.
With more than 20,000 people gathering in the past for the celebration, the Holiday Festival of Lights is the largest holiday celebration between Tampa and Miami.
"The CenturyLink Holiday Festival of Lights is one of those great events that bring our community together every year," said Brian Hamman, CenturyLink's manager of market development for Southwest Florida in a prepared statement issued when the title sponsor was announced earlier this year. "Chamber staff and volunteers do a wonderful job putting it together and we're proud to be a part of it."
In addition to the free event attractions that include a 20-ton Snow Drift Slide, Kidz Street, Tiny Tots Train Ride, Santa Pictures and Tree Lighting, there will be a workshop area where children can make special Christmas decorations.
The CenturyLink Holiday Festival of Lights will be held on Cape Coral Parkway in downtown Cape Coral on Dec. 1 from 4 -10 p.m.
For more information go to email@example.com.