Light Up Siesta Key festivities to kick off holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 25

Village Holiday Parade to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Ocean Boulevard

Santa Claus’ arrival is always one highlight of the parade. Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens

With the Thanksgiving celebration set for Nov. 23, Siesta Key businesses are preparing to host their traditional holiday season kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 25.

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce has renamed the annual event Light Up Siesta Key, as visitors will be welcome from 5 to 9 p.m. on both ends of the island. Nonetheless, the Village Holiday Parade is so named because it, indeed, will continue to make Ocean Boulevard its route through Siesta Village, the Chamber has announced.

The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m., with Santa arriving at Siesta Center about 6:15 p.m. The first 250 children who line up at that plaza to confide their holiday wishes to Ol’ St. Nick will receive gift bags, Wendall Jacobsen, general manager of Beach Bazaar, reported during the Nov. 15 quarterly meeting of the Siesta Key Chamber.

Photos will be taken of youngsters with Santa, and activities such as face painting have been planned as part of the festivities, he added.

Chamber Chair Mark Smith reminded everyone that Light Up Siesta Key and the parade both are free. “Just put some lights on your car and you get [into] the parade,” he added.

A banner on the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce website highlights event activities. Image from the website

In recent years, Smith continued, the parade has featured about two-dozen entries.

“It’ll be a fun evening,” he said.

Visitors are reminded that they can avoid traffic congestion and parking space hunts in the Village environs by taking the free Siesta Key Breeze. The open-air trolley operated by Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) circulates about every 15 to 20 minutes between Turtle Beach Park, located on South Midnight Pass Road, and Canal Road in the Village. Ample spaces for vehicles are available at the park. Additionally, the trolley routinely stops at Siesta Public Beach, which has close to 1,000 parking spaces.