BIG CYPRESS — The Big Cypress community came out in large numbers Dec. 15 to celebrate Christmas at its annual gathering.
Tribal Members and families socialized underneath a huge tent filled with large round decorated tables at the Junior Cypress Rodeo Complex from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Lining the perimeter of the inside of the tent were rectangular tables with large tins of holiday popcorn and other goodies, including a wide variety of food for attendees to enjoy.
At the front of the tent was a large stage, where names were announced for those who won prizes and for entertainment, including a few rap performers.
Kids played inside the tent, but many made their way outside – where there were several carnival rides to enjoy throughout the night.
The celebration was sponsored by Councilman Manuel “Mondo” Tiger and organized by his office.
Part of the community-wide celebration of Christmas, included the creation of an “Ice Skating Village” for kids and families to enjoy a few days later.
The village, which was a first for Big Cypress, was open Dec. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the Herman L. Osceola Gymnasium.
The ice skating rink, which holds up to 50 people, wasn’t actually made of ice, but special laminate flooring that mimics how it feels to ice skate.
The village had two winter bounce houses – including a Disney “Frozen” themed one – face painting and a live DJ from All Star Events Miami. The Big Cypress Recreation staff grilled hotdogs and hamburgers as well.
“The feedback from the adults and youth was uplifting, full of excitement, and joyful just as the season,” said Dessie Thomas, Big Cypress Recreation site manager. “I received comments from parents that they liked the set up and the event itself.”
The DJ booth also had a special snow making machine (a sort of foam) which was turned on every now and then for the kids to enjoy. Some kids even tried to make snow angels in the simulated snow.
For those who weren’t into the winter theme, Recreation provided putting greens, and some played basketball using the outdoor hoops.