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Big Cypress celebrates Christmas in style (there was ice skating, too)

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.

From left, Nikki King, Jamie Lawrence and Daisy Jumper get into the holiday spirit at the Big Cypress Christmas party Dec. 15. (Photo Damon Scott)

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.

Barbara Billie, left, and Patricia Osceola work at the front table as guests arrive for the festivities. (Photo Damon Scott)

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.

From left, Kathryn Billie, Kyla Motlow, Shauna Billie and Calijah Motlow enjoy the Christmas party. (Photo Damon Scott)

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.

Kids enjoy a variety of carnival rides set up outside the main tent. (Photo Damon Scott)

“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.

Kids and adults hit the ice on an ice skating rink made of a special laminate flooring that was set up in the gymnasium parking lot. (Photo Damon Scott)

For those who weren’t into the winter theme, Recreation provided putting greens, and some played basketball using the outdoor hoops.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at

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