Floridian twist to the holiday season

Jason Hook

Space Coast Living photographer Jason Hook gets down low to get the perfect shot of Santa Claus. JESSE KISTER

For the uninitiated, celebrating Christmas in Florida is a lot different than celebrating it in northern climes.

Instead of sleigh rides and strolls through snow-covered villages, we have things like boat parades and surfing Santas.

As Sue DeWerff writes in Hanging with the Santas [Page 26], Surfing Santas “brings the magic of the holidays to Cocoa Beach as surfers share the waves while spectators enjoy the action and participate in multiple activities surrounding the annual family-friendly event.’’

The event has raised more than $100,000 for two local nonprofit organizations, the Florida Surf Museum and Grind for Life, a local charity benefiting people with cancer.

Sue also profiles Brevard’s own Santa, Willard Davis, in No Pause for Claus, beginning on Page 17. Willard began donning the red suit 39 years ago and has been doing it ever since. In shooting Santa for our cover, photographer Jason Hook had an unusual request: could he meet him at Indialantic Boardwalk and Seashore at sunrise?

Willard Davis ans Hook

Willard Davis met Hook for an early morning photo shoot.

“When approaching this cover of Santa, I wanted to do something different than the classic Santa photos you see,” Jason said. “I wanted to give it a Florida spin, so what better place than our beaches. I wanted the cover to have vibrant colors and the best time to do that would be sunrise at the beach. My original intent for the photo failed to happen when certain props we intended to use couldn’t make it onto the beach. So we started trying different things. Then, when I saw Santa, standing with his bag of toys with the sun behind him, I quickly shifted gears, and changed the lighting to turn him into an almost superhero-like figure. My inner child came out, and I knew that was it. In my imagination, Santa was arriving just in the Nick of time at dawn to deliver the toys to the kids of Florida.”

Also in this issue, we hope you’ll shop local this holiday season and perhaps you might find something of interest in our annual Holiday Gift Guide [Page 34].

Besides celebrating the holiday season, this issue also celebrates the annual start of “the season” on the Space Coast. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you’ll start showing support for our local theaters and live shows and find several to attend. Just check out Sounds of Music on Page 52. Or visit one of the art shows featured in Works in Progress on Page 62.

You can also take a stroll, beginning on Page 42, through Adelaide, a premier luxury community in Viera with a rich ranch history.

And finally, we hope you enjoy our Moments in Space department that we began with our summer issue. In this installment on Page 66, space writer Lucinda Coulter recounts how NASA’s Spacelab program with the European Space Agency charted the course for the International Space Station.

Have a great holiday season and see you in the new year!

See the original article in the print publication

Gregory Enns
Gregory Enns
Publisher at Space Coast Living Magazine

Publisher Gregory Enns is a fifth-generation Floridian whose family arrived in Titusville in 1891. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he started Indian River Magazine on the Treasure Coast in 2006. Indian River Media Group, the company he heads, now publishes seven magazines, including Space Coast Living, which was purchased in March. He is vice president of the Florida Magazine Association.