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Christmas Boat Parade and other events support Toys for Tots

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When the Hernando Beach Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade is celebrated 6 pm on Dec. 11 at 4163 Shoal Line Blvd., the parade will feature brilliantly decorated boats that display and embody the Yuletide spirit.  Two boats promise to carry some pretty precious cargo: toy donations for Toys For Tots Hernando County. “The parade will be open to the public and on top of the toys that our club collects, two of our lighted boats will carry the toy donations that people bring,” said club Commodore Patti Ames. 

As they enjoy a luminous line of lovely vessels bedecked for the holidays, all the while also enjoying a cash bar and hot dogs for sale, guests will be showing their support for a cause dear to the hearts of members. “Many of the brightest memories from my childhood were Christmas memories. It was when I was happiest. I want every child to have that feeling,” said Ames. 

This sentiment is shared by Sue Myers, yacht clubhouse manager. “Our admission price for the parade is an unwrapped toy. Every year, we collect boatloads of toys for TFT,” she said.

For the members of the Hernando Beach Yacht Club, the kids they benefit through this effort become like honorary grandchildren. “Many of us are older snowbirds whose grandchildren live far away. This means a lot for us to do this,” Myers said.

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The Brooksville Moose Lodge Family Center will more than live up to its name on Nov. 27, when the Brooksville Moose Lodge 1676 will host its annual fundraiser for Toy For Tots Saturday 11 am-5 pm in the lodge backyard, 17129 Wiscon Road. The event will feature a Tiki Bar, live music performed by Lawless Intent, pig roast, vendors, raffles, and 50/50. This is a kid friendly event. The event is open to the public; those who bring a new, unwrapped toy will be entitled to a complimentary hot dog. “As a nonprofit, the Moose Lodge is devoted to charitable giving. We know that Toys For Tots is so important for these families,” said Michelle Edinger, lodge administrator.

Edinger says that the Moose Lodge has been hosting TFT fundraisers for at least three years. “We generally get baby dolls, trucks, toy sets for younger kids, things like nail polish kits for teens. We encourage people to help support these families, and when they find out what a good cause Toys For Tots is, they’ll continue to help,” she said. 

On Dec. 4, the Central Florida hobby group Kayak Junkies will host a kayaking party that will double as a Toys For Tots benefit at Rogers Park in Spring Hill. Guests will be encouraged to dress both themselves and their vessels festively for the holidays and to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Toys For Tots. 

“We’ve got a real live Santa coming out for the event as well, having a contest for best/worst costume/ugly Christmas sweater, and a contest for best decorated kayak. Baked goods are being brought.  Should be a great turnout, and a fun day on the water,”  said Nathan Sims, Kayak Junkies. 

Santa will be on hand from  9 am -11 am to take toy donations and pose for photos, then to see the Christmas Kayakers off for the launch at 11 am.

Terlep Chiropractic will host a community appreciation day to benefit Toys for Tots Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 am to 1 pm at its practice location, 8466 Northcliffe Boulevard, Spring Hill.

The public is invited to bring an unwrapped toy donation for Toys for Tots and receive free admission to participate in a wide variety of events. For existing patients who bring an unwrapped toy, their next visit is free of charge and will include a spinal adjustment and hydro-Therapy voucher. New patients will receive x-rays, consultation, and exam history.

The public is encouraged to bring children who will receive free:

Pictures with Santa


Shaved ice

Arts and crafts

Face painting

Inflatable games

Snow shoveling and

A scavenger hunt

All toys donated will benefit children in Hernando County. The event is co-sponsored by the United States Marine Corps and special thanks is given to the following: Ezekiel Photography, Hits 106 radio, Papa Johns, Face & Body Art by Eyeriz, Life South Community Blood Centers, Island Treats and the Hernando Harmonizers.

“This is for the family and the community,” said Frank Fontan, marketing representative for Terlep Chiropractic. “Every year, so many families struggle to provide gifts for their children–especially now, as they struggle with the economic effects of COVID. We want to get the community involved for a good cause.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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