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The community event that’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit
July 11, 2018

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Even Santa is looking for a Fort Myers Beach vacation this summer, and he might be spotted incognito wearing sunglasses, a floppy hat, and flip flops. You may even catch him attending the upcoming Christmas in July fun days at the Fort Myers Beach Library at 2755 Estero Blvd. So don't miss this by-the-community and for-the-community event on Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 and 26, from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

"Fort Myers Beach Library's Christmas in July is an opportunity to share the joyful spirit of Christmas with Fort Myers Beach locals and guests during the quiet season with less traffic and crowds," said Fort Myers Beach Library director Dr. Leroy Hommerding. "It's an opportunity to enjoy the spirit of Christmas with its focus on giving and goodwill and avoid the hassle and bustle of the sometimes usual Christmas December season."

This is the first premier edition of the library's Christmas in July celebration.

"Our specialties include a friendly Mrs. Claus, especially for children, homemade Christmas cookies, library tours, crafts, live piano music, singing, and a majestic, patriotic, red, white and blue Christmas tree ? take a breath there's more ? a vintage movie showing, a Christmas Market, special displays and deals in the Friends of the Library bookstore, puzzle tables with Christmas themes, passport seek and find with prizes and a grand prize," Hommerding said. "However, best of all is that we all are able to share this together, so be sure to stop in and savor the Christmas cookies and punch in the Christmas Market."

Join in the festivities on Wednesday, July 25, starting with books and Christmas items for sale in the parking garage from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Library tours start in the lobby at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. At 10:30 a.m. don't miss the Seashell Holiday Tree Craft in community room B (pre-registering required and there is a small materials fee). Also at 10:30 a.m. there is Children's Craft Activity for children in kindergarten through second grade. At 1 p.m. feast your ears at the Christmas Piano Recital in community room B. Then at 1:30 p.m. there is a Tomato Cage Holiday Tree craft session in community room B (pre-registering required and there is a small materials fee).

On Thursday, July 26, the day starts with books and Christmas items for sale in the parking garage from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Library tours start in the lobby 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Then at 10:30 a.m. Tomato Cage Holiday Tree Craft session in community room B (pre-registering required and there is a small materials fee). At 10:30 a.m. there is a children's craft activity for children in kindergarten through second grade. At 1 p.m. another feast for your ears with a Christmas Piano Recital in community room B. At 1:30 p.m. don't miss the Seashell Holiday Tree Craft in community room B (pre-registering required and there is a small materials fee). Then at 2:30 p.m. a must-see Christmas in July Vintage Movie in room A.

If you are interested in the popular craft events, be sure to visit the library ahead of time and pre-register. There is an $8 craft supply charge. The other events are free.

If you wish to be part of the fun by volunteering, there are many opportunities (4-hour shifts) in the morning or afternoon to sign up for in advance. Volunteers are needed to be cookie bakers (pre-event drop-off), Christmas market assistants, passport stampers, carolers, and more.

"Our favorite part of this event will be to succeed in bringing the people and families of Fort Myers Beach Community into their library to share joy and wish them a Sea and Sun's Greetings," Hommerding said. "We know that sometimes it can be more difficult to get to the library with traffic and construction in season and hopefully our event will give all islanders a chance to tour the library, some for maybe the first time, and to apply for their own library card as well as have a time to just relax and share in the fun of Christmas."

The Beach Library has always been a great place for the community to gather at all times of the year and is the perfect place to enjoy the vacation island mindset.

"We may never know the true original Christmas in July," Hommerding said. "What we do know is that this celebration is an old fashioned summer camp holiday with a rich tradition of celebrating people you normally may not be able to have the true Christmas with. Fort Myers Beach is an island designed for the celebration of fun, hospitality, and the holiday/vacation spirit."

The Friends of the Library organization is the Christmas in July main sponsor.

"So far five of our local library ladies have volunteered to bake Christmas cookies; however we do need more cookie bakers and volunteers and Publix has generously gifted the community with funding for punch for guests to drink," Hommerding said. "We have a secret donor that gifted the grand prize drawing of an Amazon Nook e-Reader that just so happens to be compatible with all of the library's free electronic books."

More sponsors are always welcome; those interested can contact Hommerding for details.

If your child is always asking, "When's Christmas Mom?" this may tide them over until the real deal.

"If you are single and want to mingle with the spirit of Kris Kringle this is the event, married and families, bring along a neighbor, people who love people and the Fort Myers Beach community will especially enjoy the festivities," Hommerding said. "We hope that our Christmas in July will become an annual event island wide with individuals and businesses participating. Our hope is to light up the island on July 25 and 26."

For more information call 765-8162 or fmb.lib.fl.us

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