Time to deck the halls.
The Gulf County Chamber of Commerce brings Christmas on the Coast back to downtown Port St. Joe on Friday, Dec. 6.
Now in its 13th year, the event will kick off the holiday season on Reid Avenue at 5 p.m. ET with horse-drawn carriages on hand to take attendees on a relaxing stroll around Port St. Joe.
Rides will be $5.
Children can have their photo taken with Santa Claus at the City Commons Park gazebo and reassure him that they’ve been well-behaved all year long.
“City workers are transforming downtown,” said Chamber Director Paula Pickett of the recently installed decorations. “The gazebo looks fantastic.
“We’re hoping there’s a chill in the air to really make it feel like Christmas.”
Funds for the white lights along Reid Avenue were raised by the Downtown Merchants Association through a community yard sale last month and a cake walk during Halloween’s Ghosts on the Coast event.
Reid Avenue businesses will be open late that Friday and offering deals to patrons while local musicians will be stationed on street corners to entertain passersby.
The celebration continues Saturday with members of the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School Band of Gold playing holidays tunes in ensembles around downtown.
A special holiday edition of the Salt-Air Farmer’s Market will be held in City Commons Park beginning at 9 a.m. ET, featuring fresh produce and local vendors with homemade holiday gifts and stocking stuffers.
The market will be extended until 4 p.m. ET.
“I would urge all the residents of Port St. Joe to come out on December sixth and seventh and support their community,” said John Parker, volunteer coordinator of the Farmer’s Market. “This will be a great event.”
At noon ET, the Junior Service League’s annual chili cook-off begins at Sailor’s Cove near the Haughty Heron.
Teams will compete for prizes and bragging rights for "Best Chili in Port St. Joe," while attendees will be able purchase bowls and enjoy a gamut of different flavors.
All funds raised from the event will go toward community service works of the JSL including purchasing clothing and school supplies for area children.
The event will host live music from Konkrete Soul, a bounce house for kids, beverages for adults and a raffle.
Team registration forms can be picked up at the Tourist Development Council Welcome Center, Haughty Heron, Persnickety and A&A Homecare in Wewahitchka or by contacting any member of the JSL.
The annual Christmas parade is slated at begin at 6 p.m. ET Saturday and will feature more than 50 holiday-themed floats snaking down Reid Avenue while judges select winners in the categories of school and non-profit, family and friends and businesses.
“It’s truly a hometown parade,” said Pickett. “It shows great community spirit.”
Bringing up the rear of the parade will be Santa himself to officially welcome the holiday season to Gulf County.
“We’re encouraging more businesses to participate in the parade,” Pickett said. “It’s great marketing – you have a captive audience of 2,000 people on the street.
“It shows a true sense of community and lets local residents know that their dollar matters.”
Those who would like to have a float in the Christmas parade can register by calling the Chamber at 227-1223. There is no fee to participate.