Celebrate The Season By Taking Part In Festive Community Fun

With Chanukah flickering out on Monday and just two weeks until Christmas, the holiday season is in full swing. There’s plenty of joyous goodwill taking place in communities large and small, near and far.

Admittedly, the winter themes of the season don’t always mix well with our 80 degree weather, and some of this festive season can seem a bit strange to northern visitors. There’s nothing quite like listening to a song like “Sleigh Ride” when not even a bit of windshield frost seems likely. But this has not prevented area residents from singing carols, shopping for gifts or planning parties. While planning for your own family events, be sure to stop by one or more of the community events that mark this time of year.

One such celebration is the annual Royal Palm Beach Winter Fest, which was supposed to happen last weekend, but has now been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 from 1 to 9 p.m. A variety of holiday crafts will be available at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, as will great food, games, rides, a Kids Fun Zone and Royal Palm Beach’s own skating rink. Heck, even Santa Claus is scheduled to swing by for a visit. Visit www.royalpalmbeach.com for more info.

Meanwhile, this weekend will see the 32nd annual Wellington Holiday Parade, put together by the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Wellington. Featuring a “Winter Wonderland” theme, the always-anticipated parade kicks off on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Forest Hill Blvd. and Wellington Trace, heading east on Forest Hill until the Wellington Amphitheater. More than 100 entries are expected with close to 3,000 participants and an estimated 25,000 spectators. With eight school marching bands, nearly two dozen large-scale floats and about 1,000 marching children, what’s not to love? Visit www.cpbchamber.com to learn more.

Wondering what it might be like to spend the holidays in the Holy Land more than 2,000 years ago? The Community of Hope Church (14055 Okeechobee Blvd., Loxahatchee Groves) is hosting its annual “Back to Bethlehem” event this weekend (Friday, Dec. 11 through Sunday, Dec. 13). It’s a fun and interactive way of experiencing the city of Bethlehem as it appeared some 2,000 years ago, while retelling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. And the best part: the experience is free. Learn more at www.communityofhope.church.

The holiday season is also one filled with people donating toys and gifts so that those less fortunate are able to have a joyous experience as well. The 33rd annual Bill’s Bikes Memorial Toy Run, hosted by Palm Beach Motorcyclists Toys For Tots in cooperation with the United States Marine Corps, will take place Sunday, Dec. 13. The motorcycle parade kicks off at noon from the South Florida Fairgrounds, headed for Dreher Park in West Palm Beach. All motorcyclists are welcome, and admission is $10 per person or one or more new toys per rider. For more info., visit www.billsbikestoyrun.com.

There’s also Wellington’s Hometown Holiday Toy Drive, taking place now through Dec. 20. Coming right at the heels of Wellington’s successful Hometown Holiday Food Drive, the toy drive is striving to donate toys to at least 300 area children in need. Toys can be dropped off at Village Hall (12300 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), Village Park (11700 Pierson Road), Ultima Fitness (12799 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), the Community Services Office (1092 Wellington Trace), the Lake Wellington Professional Centre (12133 Ken Adams Way) and all Wellington fire-rescue stations.

These are but a few of the local activities celebrating the season here in the western communities. We hope to see you out and about making the yuletide bright!