By Mayor John Sorey
No matter where our residents and visitors are from, anyone spending time in Naples over the holiday season considers it home. We had many wonderful events this holiday season, beginning with the ribbon cutting at the recently renovated Naples Pier. We had over 300 folks come out and enjoy a wonderful evening, including Florida Governor Rick Scott.
The holiday event that usually kicks off the season for us in Naples is the lighting of the Christmas tree. On November 23rd, the beautiful tree on Third Street was lit and shined on the hundreds of folks looking on. Many people told me after the event how they look forward to this each and every year.
On Thanksgiving Day we had The annual “Gobble Gobble Four Mile Run” at Venetian Village. This race is very enjoyable for the participants as well as many onlookers because many runners dress in turkey outfits.
Another race was the 3rd Annual Gulf Coast Runner’s Thanksgiving 5K, which was held at Cambier Park. This was a festive event with over 1,000 people in attendance who came out to enjoy one of the first cool mornings of the season. After the race, runners enjoyed pumpkin pie and apple cider.
The lighting of the Christmas tree on 5th Avenue is always near and dear to my heart. It was the 41st Annual Walk and Christmas Tree Lighting on 5th Ave. It’s always so beautiful to see Sugden Plaza lit up, and this past tree lighting was no exception.
A few days following the lighting of the tree, we hosted an estimated 20,000 people at the Annual Christmas Parade. It was great to see all the children’s eyes light up with each passing float. I know they did not come to see the politicians in the parade, they were there to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. Ahh, to be a kid again!
Speaking of parades, the Naples Boat Parade was as exciting as ever. For all the folks visiting the Village on Venetian Bay on December 15th, it was a great time and a beautiful view of the close to 25 boats in that boat parade.
On December 12th, the 26th Annual Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade lit up the water on the bay. It was a beautiful salute to all the armed forces of the United States of America.
The Holiday season ended the year with a spectacular fireworks display. What made this fireworks show so unique, the fireworks were launched off a barge. We felt that more people would enjoy the fireworks along more of our beaches. In addition, the traffic moved through the entire city much smoother and with much less congestion than previous years.
The City of Naples had a beautiful 2015 Holiday season. All of our residents and all who visit were blessed to celebrate the Holiday season in paradise.
On behalf of the Naples City Council and City staff, we thank you for letting us serve you this past year and we look forward to an even better and brighter 2016.
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