Details: Written by CKN STAFF

From munching on Cedar Key’s restaurants’ fares, to touring four churches to view Christmas decorations, to listing to carols by the Cedar Key Baptist Church Choir, to meeting Santa Clam, to tasting great chili and salad and drinking cider, to watching a boat parade, Cedar Key had it all.  Some three hundred-fifty folks came out for the day’s many events:  little children, old people, moms and dads of all ages, visitors, residents.  One could hardly move without bumping into little ones running about gleefully on the beach, on Dock Street Pier, in City Park, everywhere.  The entire holiday lighting and  festooning  of City Park, with every structure and lamppost decorated, was orchestrated and done by Fire Chief Robert Robinson and his family.
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The Cedar Key Aquaculture Association sponsors the Christmas in the Park event and has done so for the last eight years.
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The Cedar Key Baptist Church Choir, extemporaneously joined by Rob and Mac, warmed the crowd in City Park at 5:30 pm immediately followed by Colson-cooked chili.

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Santa Clam arrived by airboat to the Cedar Key Beach, complete with jingling bells, smiles, and “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmases.”  Santa Clam, alias Tom Liebert of Kayak Cedar Keys, picked up and hugged the littlest ones, and greeted the older ones who stood agape at seeing Santa on the beach in Cedar Key.
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Santa Clam was ably assisted by two elves, Skyler Lipscomb and Alexis Wirth.  They helped moms and dads with little ones; they helped take pictures; they posed in their clam outfits for pictures; and they kept all happy…truly Santa’s helpers.
There was no one that Santa Clam did not accommodate, including the animals that came with the children.  Dogs, too, sat upon Santa’s lap.  And most importantly, each child had the time to truly talk to Santa and express his Christmas wishes.  All left with secretive smiles, confident that they got the message about their prized presents across to Santa.
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To the rescue of a pelican hooked in his wing at the Dock Street Pier came the ever-so-reliable and constant bird devotee Tiffany Black.  She gathered the bird in to a carrier and transferred him safely into the ready, waiting hands of Cedar Keys Audubon Vice President Doug Maple and Co-President Crosby Hunt.   Crosby Hunt’s plan for Sunday, beside gathering his family from incoming airplane flights, was to transfer the pelican to Homosassa where the bird will be cared for by wildlife rescuer Mary Oppal. A very good thing for the pelican that Tiffany, Doug, and Crosby were here.
The not large, but mighty, boat parade lined up in front of the east end of Dock Street near the beach and proudly paraded along Dock Street, in front of 83 West, moving west to the Dock Street Pier and back again.
Judges were of two sorts: the young and the old.  The children chose Ray and Carla Ermel’s “Island Christmas” vessel as first place.  When the Aquaculture Association coordinator Leslie Sturmer asked the children why they thought that boat should be first place, they answered, “Because it was the best.”   Unruffled, Sturmer went on to name the adult judges,’ Bill Pine and Peter Fredrick, selections.
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Third Place went to Ray and Carla Ermel’s “Island Christmas.”

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Second Place went to the Nature Coast Biological Station, decorated with, among other things, a huge green snake.

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First place went to Jimbo Kieth, of Dotty Haldeman fame, decorated with, among other things, dolphins.
Everything, including the weather,  and everyone came together to make the day a safe, healthy, truly Cedar Key Christmas celebration.  Thank you, Aquaculture Association!  And thank you, Robert Robinson!


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