Downtown business groups name winners of holiday events

The Downtown Business Association of Stuart and Stuart Main Street announced winners of the 3rd annual holiday window contest and 52nd annual Stuart Christmas Parade. Judging for both events was Friday, December 7, 2012.

This year’s parade was a huge success with nearly 80 entries, including 7 bands, 5 performing groups, 28 lighted floats, and Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving on a beach buggy. Five floats were recognized in three categories. Winners were Christmas by the Sea Indiantown Non-Profit Housing (Under 30’) and First Baptist Church (Over 30’); Illuminations/Musical Martin County Children’s Services Council (Under 30’) and St. Joe’s Catholic School (Over 30’); and Stuart’s Choice! The judges’ favorite float, Bessey Creek Elementary. Judges were Troy McDonald, City of Stuart Commissioner; Mark Brechbill, Stuart Main Street Board; and Tom Teter, WSTU Radio Personality.

In the window display contest, first place went to new business, Cook’s Kitchen for their overall theme and attractive light display. Second Place winner Albert G’s was recognized for the “depth” of their window display and Third Place went to Matilda’s, a perennial favorite in the contest known for their eclectic displays. They were joined by another new downtown business, Honorable Mention, Go Fish!.

“Our judges were looking for eye-catching windows with a high level of detail and overall decorative appeal,” said DBA President, Patty O’Connell. “In many cases the displays were carried out throughout the stores, inviting customers to come in and explore the business.” Contest judges this year were DBA Board Member, Steve Binder, owner or Rare Earth Gallery, Stuart Main Street member, Tyler Tome-Munson, and Stuart City Manager, Paul Nicoletti.

“It was wonderful to see so many people give so generously of their time. I was overwhelmed by the number of spectators. People were four deep along the parade route. It seemed the whole town was out to share in the holiday spirit,” said Parade Co-Chair, Teresa Lamar-Sarno. Lamar-Sarno also expressed special thanks to volunteer coordinator, Claudia Cobble, “She organized almost 100 volunteers so that every detail was attended to.  Bonnie Landry, co-chair said this year’s parade was particularly exciting with live commentary provided by MCTV’s own Gabriella Ferraro and Kate Parmelee and videographer Keith Roberts of Martin County Board of County Commissioners. The parade was filmed and will be re-broadcast on MCTV, Martin County’s government channel throughout the month of December.

Both holiday events are presented by the Downtown Business Association of Stuart and Stuart Main Street Association, Inc. The organizations thank the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, Seacoast National Bank, Stuart Pediatric Dentistry, and The Stuart News for being holiday sponsors. Also providing invaluable support were Martin County and City of Stuart Fire Rescues, City of Stuart Police, and the Martin County Sheriff, who were on hand to keep the route safe for all. Sunshine Golf Carts provided the needed transportation for the volunteers throughout the parade.

Stuart Main Street is a historic preservation-based program dedicated to building a healthy, vital downtown area through community self-reliance and a focus on the downtown’s traditional assets: personal service, local ownership, unique architecture, and sense of community. Formed in 1987, the group follows the Main Street Four-Point Approach® as established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center and practiced in over 1600 communities across the country. Stuart Main Street meets the second Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers at 121 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart. For more information, visit or call 772-286-2848.

The Stuart Downtown Business Association (DBA) formed to market the shops, galleries, restaurants, and professional businesses of Stuart’s Historic Downtown and the surrounding areas. The group advocates for business owners and promotes a positive image of the downtown business district as a unique alternative to “cookie cutter” mall shopping through marketing, events, and other promotions. The DBA meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 8:00 a.m. in the City Hall Chambers at 121 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart. For more information, visit