|Posted by Anne Siren on December 7, 2012 at 2:45 PM|
By Judy Vik
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea – “Christmas-By-The-Sea,” the town’s annual holiday celebration, will be downsized this year.
The town and the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Chamber of Commerce are teaming up on this year’s event, set from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Anglin’s Square at El Mar Drive and Commercial Boulevard.
The parade has been eliminated, but Santa will arrive on a fire truck escorted by the Volunteer Fire Department.
A new addition is an open-air Christmas market with about a dozen retailers and restaurants offering inexpensive items for sale.
Also new is a children’s section with Christmas crafts and cookie decorating. There also will be face-painting elves, Santa’s workshop, an outdoor concert, lighting of the tree and snow.
“We’ve downsized from last year, but I think it will be great,” Paul Novak, a chamber board member, said at Tuesday’s town commission meeting. “We have joined forces [the town and chamber], and it should be a better event. It gives us a little more power.”
Because of a funding issue at the chamber, the commission agreed to contribute $4,500 toward the celebration, including the cost of putting up and taking down the tree in Pelican Square.
Another hitch came when town officials learned from chamber officials last month that the tree was on its last legs and would need to be replaced. The commission authorized Town Manager Connie Hoffmann to spend up to $20,000 on a new tree, complete with lights and decorations, but that was impossible at this late date.
“Our best option is using our old tree one more time,” Hoffman said. Commissioners agreed and provided $5,000 to refurbish the tree with new lights and ornaments. One firm advised Hoffmann the town could reduce the cost of a new tree by salvaging the frame. They recommended the town order custom branches and have them galvanized to better fight corrosion from sea air.
Hoffmann said, “This tree lasted much longer than anyone thought it would. They say seven to eight years is the lifespan in a normal environment, and if a tree lasts five years in a seaside environment, you’re doing well.”
Novak said the current tree, eight years old, was paid for by donations in an effort led by Dave Gadsby of the Village Grille.
Commissioner Mark Brown said he would like to see a fundraising drive for a new tree. “I have no doubt we could raise the money if someone would take charge,” he said.
Vice Mayor Scot Sasser, noting that the celebration is a joint venture between the town and chamber, wanted to make sure all businesses, not just chamber members, were invited to take part.
Hoffmann responded that for this first holiday market the organizers would like to keep it at 12 vendors. She called civic associations in town to invite them to take part, but organizers haven’t reached out to every business.
“I respectfully disagree,” Sasser said. “I think it should be open to all.”
Hoffmann said anyone who wants a booth should call her. There is no charge to non-profit groups. The charge for profit-making businesses is $50.
Novak said the chamber executive director went door-to-door inviting all the businesses on Commercial Boulevard to take part.
“If they at least had the chance, I’m happy,” Sasser said.
For more information, call the chamber at 954-776-1000 or the town at 954-640-4200.