RPB Holiday Festival At Vets Park On Dec. 1

The Royal Palm Beach Holiday Festival of Lights will take place Saturday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Veterans Park.

In previous years, this popular event has been held on a Monday, but RPB officials decided to hold it on a Saturday this year to let more families attend.

The Holiday Festival of Lights has grown to the point where it’s bulging at the seams at its current venue at Veterans Park on Royal Palm Beach Blvd.

“Each year it gets a little bigger and a little better than the previous year,” Parks & Recreation Director Lou Recchio said. “All the entertainment is going to be by local school groups. We also have a choral group that’s going to be walking around singing carols.”

Entertainment by local talent will include performances by La Petite Academy, Royal Palm Beach Elementary School, Cypress Trails Elementary School, Giselle’s Dance Studio, Crestwood Middle School, Royal Palm Beach High School and recorded music by DJ Terry Harms.

The tree lighting itself will take place at 6:15 p.m., presided over at the amphitheater by Mayor Matty Mattioli.

“We’ll get a visit by Santa at 6:30 p.m.,” Recchio said, adding that parents should bring cameras for personal photos. “We will have somebody there videotaping the entire proceedings, and we will play it on our web site the following day.”

As always, the event is free, including free hot chocolate and free gifts, games and activities for the children.

A free shuttle will also be available — a large John Deere tractor and trailer supplied by Everglades Farm Equipment. “There will be plenty of parking at Village Hall and at Ewing Park,” Recchio said. “We have a group that will be out there parking the cars, and the parking lot will be lit, so it will be very orderly, and the shuttles will be running constantly throughout the night.”

As the annual event has grown, it has become more and more constrained because of limited space at Veterans Park, Recchio said. The new Royal Palm Beach Commons Park will likely be the event’s home in the future. That park, located a mile south of Veterans Park on Royal Palm Beach Blvd., is not yet complete due to construction delays.

Despite the constraints, a record number of vendors will be selling holiday gifts and food. “There will be approximately 25 different vendors that will be there, which is larger than we’ve ever had, and there’ll be a lot of crafts and various types of foods that will be available,” Recchio said.

Call (561) 790-5149 or visit www.royalpalmbeach.com for more information.