On a subtropical island where fall and winter daytime temperatures average in the 70s, it’s hard to imagine sandal-clad kids playing in the snow.

But that’s the plan for the annual Florida Keys Holiday Festival, taking place from 4-10 p.m. Dec. 5, at Islamorada’s Founders Park, Mile Marker 87 bayside.

A 20-ton mountain of actual snow will be the centerpiece of the festival. Kids who have never seen snow can join with those more experienced in snowman sculpting to create one complete with corncob pipe and button nose before the snow melts.

Other event highlights include the Santa Paws Pet Parade, designed to provide a tail-waggin’ good time for pets decked out in holiday finery. Prizes await “party animals” that are best dressed or perform the best trick. Any domestic animal is welcome to participate and entry is free. For details, call 305-451-0088.

Decorative fur will give way to festive fir during the evening, as a 35-foot-tall community Christmas fir tree glistens with snow while carolers sing.

Vendors plan to offer arts and crafts in a holiday bazaar and food and wine in “Vino Village.” In addition, selected artists are expected to donate handcrafted ornaments that will be on display and sold by silent auction.

The annual holiday parade will be themed the “Art of Giving,” in honor of the lifetime artwork of Millard Wells. Wells, a prolific watercolor artist, will serve as grand marshal of the parade, set to start at 7 p.m.

His lighthouse and fish design adorns the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce.

Parade participants typically include the local high school’s Hurricanes marching band, decorated floats and antique cars. Santa is set to take part in the festivities, as well as Dr. Seuss’ strangely lovable Grinch.

The parade route proceeds from the Founders Park main entrance through the park before finishing at the southern gate.

Admission to the Holiday Festival is free, but donations will be collected for parking.

For more information, contact the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 800-322-5397.

Source: http://keysnews.com/node/7534