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Siesta Seen LIGHT UP THE VILLAGE WILL BE THE NEXT BIG EVENT FOR SIESTA KEY, KICKING OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON ON NOV. 24 By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Word has it that not only will the Siesta Village holiday parade have more floats than ever this year, it also will feature Santa Claus arriving by boat. No sooner did island business people and vol- unteers wrap up another highly successful Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Com- petition last week than they started in earnest on final preparations for the annual Light Up the Village festivities. The traditional Siesta Village holiday kickoff event, Light Up the Village brings hundreds and hundreds of children and their families to the island. Musical groups perform, Siesta Key Village Association President Russell Matthes starts up his snow-making machine in Siesta Center and Santa Claus — with the help of some of his trusty elves — greets children of all ages, eager to hear their Christmas wishes. The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For months now, SKVA members have been meeting regularly to make sure all their i's are dotted and t's are crossed, so the faces of the youngsters and moms and dads will shine brightly with wide smiles. During the Nov. 1 Siesta Key Association meeting, board member Joe Volpe estimated 550 children came to Light Up the Village in 2011, based on the number of candy canes SKA members gave out. Volpe drew some chuckles when he added that not only were boys and girls the recipients of those treats, "A couple of blondes got candy canes from me." During the Nov. 6 SKVA meeting, Secretary Helene Hyland told everyone she thought the Village saw a record-breaking number of at- tendees in 2011. Volpe also pointed out that more activities will be taking place this year in Davidson Plaza on Ocean Boulevard. Deputies will assist people to cross the street between the plaza and Si- esta Center, he added. The running joke among SKA members for the past several meetings has been whether board member Bob Waechter will have his antique fire engine in running order for the parade.

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