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East County Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 8 years ago

Holiday cheer to fill Main Street

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Santa Claus is coming to town this Friday, and he’ll be bringing Greenbrook children Megan and Rachel Levy with him.

The girls, ages 4 and 9, will escort Santa on his “sleigh” as he rides in at 6 p.m., Dec. 11, to kick off this year’s Holidays Around the Ranch celebration on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

“I’m really excited that I was picked,” said Rachel, a student at McNeal Elementary School. “I’m a little nervous. I never thought (this was something I’d get to do). I’ve been telling all my friends.”

Festivities will run through 9 p.m., rain or shine, and will include pictures with Santa, arts and crafts and cookie decorating, dance performances by local school dance teams and dance studio groups and more. A tree-lighting ceremony, performed by Lakewood Ranch resident Rachel Williams, 7, will be held at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s really a holiday event to bring the community together and to celebrate the season,” said event organizer Lori Basilone, director of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities. “This is more for families and kids. I try to make it as much of a winter-type festival as possible.”

Other activities will include trackless train and horse-drawn carriage rides, a chance to star in your own Dancing Heads Florida music video, which places your face on choreographed dancing bodies, and ice skating on an acrylic rink.

“We definitely wanted to bring that back,” Basilone said of the skating. “It brought a nice ambience to the event. It’s not really something offered in Florida.”

Additionally, Lakewood Church on the Ranch will be providing live holiday music as well as hosting a video game tournament and a chance for youths to get “crazy hair.”

“It’s a nice fit,” Basilone said.

Lakewood Ranch Community Activities is encouraging participants to bring unwrapped gifts to the event to donate to Toys for Tots, Basilone said.

Megan and Rachel Levy and their mother, Cornelia, said they can’t wait for this year’s event.

“We so enjoy the events they put on in Lakewood Ranch, and we are so happy to be part of them,” Cornelia Levy said. “Lori (Basilone) does a great job.”

For updates on the event, inquire on

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Holidays Around the Ranch
: 6-9 p.m., Dec. 11
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
ACTIVITIES: Pictures with Santa, carriage rides, arts and crafts, holiday displays, Dance Heads of Florida, ice skating on an acrylic rink, a video game tournament
COST: Free
OTHER: Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots.
INFO: Lori Basilone, 907-0202

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