Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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Sarasota News Leader September 21, 2012 Siesta Seen the Village, the festive kickoff for the holi- day season. Light Up the Village is scheduled for Nov. 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. SKVA President Russell Matthes convened the first official meeting last week to plan Light Up the Village and its holiday pa- rade. Many of the same people volunteer every year to make this event the huge suc- cess it is, but the SKVA eagerly welcomes newcomers. Matthes' post-meeting list of committee as- signments tells the story clearly: It takes a lot of work to create Light Up the Village, but year after year, the grins and giggles of children sitting in Santa Claus' lap are perhaps the biggest rewards. SKVA members also are focusing positive energy on making the parade a bigger event this year. Last year, the fact that the organizers couldn't get the route closed to traffic posed a few problems, but the early planning for this November includes getting a permit to close Ocean Boulevard for one-and-a-half hours — from 5:30 to 7 p.m. — and putting up signs to alert drivers to that effect . Those plans include coordination with Sgt. Scott Osborne, leader of the Sheriff's Of- fice's Community Policing Station in the Village. The star of the parade, of course, will be the Jolly Old Elf himself, before he takes a seat at Siesta Center to hear all the holiday wishes of the children. However, one might say Siesta Key Associ- ation Director Bob Waechter's antique fire truck has been the No. 2 star of the two past parades. Last year, the truck broke down, resulting in SKA members having to push it along the route. Apparently its electrical systems suffered an overload. Fortunately, those who supplied the "peo- ple power" were able to chuckle about it afterward. When Siesta Chamber Chairman Mark Smith stood in for Matthes at the Sept. 6 SKA meeting, Waechter told him, "You can put us down for pushing the fire engine" in the 2012 parade. Needless to say, that comment drew rip- ples of laughter among the approximately 30 people in the audience. Smith told Waechter he needed a younger crew. "That's a big truck." CLASSIC PLANNING As for the Crystal Classic: During their regular meeting on Sept. 4, Matthes urged SKVA members to support the event as sponsors. News from Classic Co-Chairwoman Maria Bankemper that buses transporting visi- tors to the event at the public beach would stop in Siesta Village should be all the in- Page 74

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