BROOKSVILLE — For 40 years, the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville has kicked off the holidays with its annual Christmas parade in downtown Brooksville.
While record-high temperatures this fall make it difficult to believe that Christmas is just two weeks away, club members are preparing to host the 41st annual parade at 10 a.m. Saturday with an appropriate theme — "A Tropical Christmas".
"We definitely are experiencing some unusual weather," Kiwanis president Gerrie Bishop said. "But we just hope it will be a nice day."
The parade will feature about 100 entries, including some of the usual favorites, such as high school marching bands, law enforcement, Shriners on motorized vehicles, horses, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus.
This year's featured Hometown Hero will be 11-year-old Emma Buscemi, who is in the sixth grade at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill.
Emma is involved in numerous volunteer endeavors, particularly with military veterans — Stars for Our Troops, Operation Christmas Cards and Wreaths Across America, to name a few.
"Emma is a real super kid," Bishop said. "She makes blankets for cancer patients, valentines for veterans. . . . She is involved in so many community service projects. She is amazing."
When the parade winds down, spectators can stick around downtown for additional activities.
A few blocks down Main Street at the GFWC Historic Brooksville Woman's Club, the street will be closed for the club's inaugural Christkindl Festival. The event will feature about 100 arts and craft booths, along with a variety of food vendors.
Inspired by the 700-year-old German Christkindlmarkt (Christ Child Market), club members not only wanted to offer an event to complement the parade, but also to offer something unique.
"We always hear that there is nothing to do after the parade," said Adele VanSciver, president of the Brooksville Woman's Club. "This is something different, a festival in the best European flavor, so to speak."
Inside the clubhouse, visitors can sample German and European pastries and breads, craft beer provided by Marker 48 Brewery and hot mulled wine.
The free event is a "true family affair," VanSciver said.
"There is nothing like this in Florida," she said. "We want this to be a destination event for all of Florida."