Christmas South Florida Style

Christmas South Florida StyleFor us Floridians, there may be no snow in sight, but, nevertheless, the sights and sounds of Christmas are in the air. Last December, over 2,500 people visited the Arts Park* in Downtown Hollywood for the holiday spectacular, “Christmas Near the Beach” (CNTB). This year, things are looking even grander for Event Director Deena McDaniel and her team as they look to celebrate a “Hometown Christmas” with family and friends. McDaniel shares, “As we grow each year we see a bigger and bigger crowd! Christmas Near the Beach attracts a family audience, and 2013’s ‘Hometown Christmas’ will have that wholesome, Christmas-tradition feeling.”

CNTB is designed to bring Hollywood and other South Florida communities together to celebrate the wonder and beauty of Christmas. In its seventh annual showing, CNTB has already become a holiday tradition for many families, and this family friendly event gives the whole community the opportunity to celebrate the true Joy of Christmas. “I’m definitely coming back next year, no matter what!” said Christine McClain of Weston. “This is what Christmas is all about, and we can’t believe all of this show was for free!”

From the shore to the park
In 2007, Deena McDaniel partnered with her local church to found and direct “Christmas On the Beach” at the Hollywood Beach Theater. In 2010, she brought the event to Expressions of Joy (EOJ) and, after outgrowing their traditional venue, this multi-cultural extravaganza is now hosted at the Arts Park as “Christmas Near the Beach.” The vision of CNTB is to help bridge the gap between the church and the community – to bring the sacred to the secular so that Christ may be made known. “Our goal is to bring biblical themes to the South Florida audience and to model a biblical worldview for the artists we touch,” says EOJ President Tom Walker.

Making a joyful noise
The four-hour variety show will feature up-and-coming local singers, dancers and bands. This year also sees a time expansion to allow for more fun with a Kids’ Zone. Expectations are high as the bar was set high last year when attendees witnessed a 200-person dancing flash mob led by rollerblading “Grinchy.” The Met Life Blimp even flew overhead as recording artist Austin Adamec performed along with a children’s choir, the Angel Tones Steel Drum Band, and an EOJ Academy mini-ballet production of the Christmas Story. Also, over 700 children explored St. Nick’s place and had their picture taken with the jolly, old gent. The big man in red is expected to arrive around 6:00 p.m. this year.

Mark your calendar for December 14 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and make your way down to the Hollywood Arts Park for this free event. It will be a night of rejoicing as everyone celebrates Christmas and hears about the reason for the joy. After all, “Tis the Season!”

For more information on CNTB or sponsor opportunities please visit their website at: christmasnearthebeach.com. You can view a video trailer with highlights of the event at youtube.com/expressionsofjoy.

*For information on Arts Park or directions visit: hollywoodfl.org/artspark

Finley is a freelance writer and Graduate research student at Liberty University. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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