From the dolphin lights on the Matlacha Bridge to the more than 2,000 luminaries alighting the streets of Matlacha to the live nativity at CW Fudge, Matlacha was aglow with the Christmas spirit Saturday.
"This is our fourth Christmas Eve Live Nativity," CW Fudge co-owner William Tidball said. "And the turnout is better than last year."
The festivities featured a live nativity scene, sing-along Christmas carols, hot chocolate and free samples of fudge and popcorn. Christmas season fudge flavors for 2016 are Fruitcake, Eggnog, Gingerbread, Peppermint Bark, Candy Cane, Red Velvet, Snowy Road, Hollyberry, Snowball, Cranberry Walnut and Chocolate Pecan.
of the Live Nativity at CW?Fudge Factory on Christmas Eve.
"Once again there are more than 2,000 luminaries," Matlacha resident Dick Maher said. "We spent most of the afternoon getting everything ready for tonight. Santa's 'elves' made this possible by gathering at 2 p.m. at the empty lot on the corner of Velma Street and Island Avenue to fill the luminary bags with sand and candles."
At dusk, the luminaries are lit and nearby homes tuned into radio station FM 106.3 for outdoor music, adding to the merriment.
"Unfortunately, we were forced to move off the island a few years ago but always come back," Jack Mercer said. "We saw all the activity driving by and stopped for some fudge. The fudge is great and the live nativity is very special."
"This is our way to give back to the community," CW Fudge co-owner Carlos Gomez said. "The community has supported us so well over the last four years we really wanted to give back."
"It's a beautiful night in Matlacha," Tidball said. "I hope everyone will drive through the island to see more than 2,000 luminaries. It's absolutely beautiful. I'd also like to thank all of our helper elves over the last few days that helped us make popcorn and prepare the store for this many people. Merry Christmas from the CW Fudge family."
CW Fudge Factory is at 4548 Pine Island Road, N.W., Matlacha. Contact the shop at 239-283-9911.