The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without all the illuminating, creative displays of spirit that adorn houses, condos and businesses on the Key. And, this year, the spirit of the season come to the town of Longboat Key.
From old-fashioned, large, multi-colored lights to white lights that blink on-and-off; to blow-up snowmen and waving Santas; to brightly colored wrapped presents to wreaths, bows and reindeer — the Key truly has it all.
The judging for this year’s “Light Up the Keys” contest took much deliberation — it was one of the closest contests in recent years. As usual, Hall of Fame inductees Longboat Arms and The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort stole the spotlight with the Colony’s multitude of white lights and Longboat Arms’ colorful display that extends onto the property. But it was hard to narrow down the other contenders, including Sun ’N’ Sea’s old-fashioned lights and blow-up snowman; Tiffany Plaza’s eye-catching, towering Christmas tree on its condominium building; Pelican Harbour’s dazzling display; Longboat Harbour’s gold-and-green palm tree; Beach Harbor Club’s festive feature of blow-up Christmas icons and lights wound around palm trees; Bayport Beach & Tennis Club’s ode to “joy”; Beachplace’s bright Santa; Promenade’s beautiful decorations; and Arbomar’s elegant display.
Kudos to all who take the time each year to add a little sparkle and color to the Key around the holidays. Following are this year’s “Light Up the Keys” contest winners for all Key condominiums.
Plymouth Harbor, 700 John Ringling Blvd.
This year’s winner for Publisher’s Choice was an easy pick. Every time you pass Plymouth Harbor, while either entering or leaving the Key at night, your eye is immediately drawn to the retirement community’s massive Christmas display. Not only are there lights lining the shrubbery to the entrance of the facility, but the can’t-miss feature is the giant palm tree in the center of the grass median. The tree is covered in alternating red-and-white lights that extend from the ground to the tips of the leaves.
Cedars West, 5655 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Cedars West was the one Key display that most office staffers were talking about. The condo amped up its decorating from previous years, by choosing to add pops of color — even in unexpected places. Not only were there multi-colored lights lining shrubbery the entire length of the property, but the light bulbs in light poles on the property now glow red, green and blue. The color theme continued with the decoration of the property’s median at its entrance.
Beach Castle Resort, 5310 Gulf of Mexico
This property went from third place last year to second place this year, and we predict only major leaps ahead. This year’s decorations are the handiwork of a family visiting from England — David, Sarah and Annie Hale. The Hales spent four days decking out the property in green-and-red lighted candy canes, candy canes and snowflakes that hung from trees, wreaths and colorful lights and red bows that lined the white picket fences on the property.
Casa del Mar, 4621 Gulf of Mexico Drive
You can tell each Christmas decoration at Casa del Mar was hung with care. The trees form colored triangles, while the bushes on the property are great canvases for the layers of colorful lights. But the pièce de résistance is the towering Christmas tree that stands guard to the resort’s office. The tree, decorated with ornaments and lights, was the handiwork of both resort staff and guests — a Christmas collaboration.
Contact Jessica Luck at [email protected].