Robin and Mike Moesch of Largo pass out candy to children during the 2012 Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade.
LARGO – The city of Largo and Largo clubs will offer a huge dose of holiday festivities this weekend, with Death by Chocolate, the Old-Fashioned Christmas parade and the annual holiday stroll and tree-lighting.
The weekend kicks off with the Rotary Club of Largo’s 18th annual Death by Chocolate fundraiser Friday, Dec. 6, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
The club’s premier fundraiser is “an overall great event,” said club treasurer Karisa Rojas-Norton.
“The goal of the event is to raise money for children’s programs and initiatives for organizations that our club supports,” she said. “Attendees of the event can expect to sample chocolate delights from our local area restaurants, and some of the area’s shops and caterers.”
Over the years, the event has offered more chocolate treats than most guests can handle.
“There was a jalapeno mousse two years ago that was to die for,” Rojas-Norton said.
This year, the club will set up two chocolate fountains, with the dipping treats – including marshmallows, cake and fruit – donated by Publix.
“I’m really looking forward to that,” Rojas-Norton said. “Who doesn’t like a chocolate fountain?”
The Death by Chocolate tradition of champagne also will be available via fountain this year.
This year’s chocolatiers include local restaurants Island Way Grill, Village Inn, E&E Stakeout Grill and Roosterfish Grill; beverage samplings from Largo’s Barley Mow Brewery, offering chocolate-flavored beer, Molita Coffee, and Murielle Winery; local caterers Corey’s Bakery and Catering and Tampa Cake Girl; local branches of Coldstone Creamery, Edible Arrangements and Lindt’s Chocolate as well as local businesses taking on the chocolate mantle.
Local singer-songwriter Erica DiCeglie and the Holy Jazz Band will provide live entertainment from the Tonne Playhouse all evening. The event emcee will be local personality Jennifer Holloway of great38 WTTA Tampa Bay.
Adding to the fun will be a photo booth sponsored by Largo’s McGill Plumbing and Water Treatment.
“It’s kind of a fun and trendy way of memorializing your night,” Rojas-Norton said.
The event features a silent auction that includes a stay at a beach-front condo in Belleair Beach, golf packages, a baseball autographed by Tampa Bay Rays players and a signed Lightning jersey, to name a few.
“We’ve got a lot of great items that folks can bid on,” Rojas-Norton said.
The club set the event’s fundraising goal to $30,000 this year, up $10,000 from last year. Rojas-Norton was optimistic that the club would reach that high bar.
“We are working hard to meet that goal,” she said.
The organization’s volunteers put in countless hours planning for the event, on top of the club’s other volunteer activities around the community, Rojas-Norton explained.
“We have a great committee, a really dedicated team of volunteers,” she said. “They do this all without any pay, all on their own time.”
Sponsors of the event include Transamerica at the $5,000 level as well as Moore Resources and K. Barger Realty at the $1,000 level.
Kick off the season on Saturday, Dec. 7 with Old Northwest’s third annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, 2 to 4 p.m.
The parade route will start and end at the Pinellas County Schools building, 301 Fourth St. SW. Public parking will be available there.
From there, the parade will head north on Sixth Street Southwest, east on First Avenue Southwest past Ulmer Park, south on Second Street Southwest and west on Second Avenue Southwest, concluding on the south side of the Pinellas County Schools parking lot.
Last year, more than 2,000 people came out to watch more than 60 floats in the parade. The Largo High School marching band will participate this year.
Proceeds from parade participation and sponsorships benefit the Suncoast Voices for Children Foundation.
For more information about Old Northwest, the neighborhood organization behind the parade, visit www.discoverlargo.com or call Joseph Stefko at 581-6134.
The display of more than a million LED lights has been set up at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. After the parade, celebrate with the city of Largo during the annual Holiday Stroll, 5 to 9 p.m.
The free event will feature a visit with Santa, live entertainment and activities. Each shelter throughout the park will feature a different holiday theme and an activity or craft for the children. Try the toboggan snow slide for $5.
The musical group Late Night Brass will provide live entertainment. Concessions will be available.
Don’t miss the official tree lighting at the center of the park at 7 p.m.
Limited on-site parking will be offered for $5. Park for free and walk from Largo High School and Largo Middle School.