For some in The Villages, preparing for the holidays with temperatures in the 70s is a new adventure. However, following the lead of The Villages old-timers, residents are learning to celebrate the season without snow.
This week there was a menorah lighting at Spanish Springs Town Square and a Christmas parade beginning at The Villages Polo Club. Another parade and Winter Fest, also took place in the neighboring town of Wildwood. More decorations came out and more holiday lights are appeared in windows. There were Christmas teas, school kids singing, gift exchanges – and yes, lines at the post office.
While ‘tis the season, there was, of course, was more happening in The Villages this week besides Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. There was a pet adoption day at The Buffalo Ridge Animal Hospital and a group of veterans on bicycles road through the area.
The pet adoption day was part of a Central Florida pet adoption effort sponsored by the animal hospital and Petco. More than a dozen area rescue groups were on hand with dogs and cats needing homes – and they found them. Early reports from the Buffalo Ridge staff indicate about 20 pets will be moving into The Villages.
While Villagers were adopting pets, more than 150 wounded veterans embarked on a 6-day, 350-mile ride from Tampa to Jacksonville as part of Ride 2 Recover. The ride will raise money for indoor and outdoor rehabilitation programs for injured veterans. As the riders reached Lady Lakes and Wildwood, local American Legion Posts provided meals.
And then there were sports. Fall season neighborhood softball come to an end and, both men and women’s teams finished up the last of their 72 holes to close out the 2009 The Villages Golf Championship.
The Senior State Games, however, dominated the sports news. Sunday’s track and field events closed the nine-day competition. More than 1,700 athletes competed in 23 events with Villagers placing in a myriad of events.
Villagers have many entries in the games’ record books, but five residents dominate their sports. In conjunction with the state games, The Florida Sports Foundation named the most awarded athletes over the last decade. Five residents of The Villages, all women, were on the list. Categories taken by Villagers included track and field, pickleball, horseshoes, golf and badminton.