In Venice, Christmas in July signals “shop til you drop.” Business owners in town pull out the stops creating sales and discounts.

At the Elephant’s Trunk thrift shop The Big Red Truck was on hand and several people donated blood. People were lined up before the store opened knowing all merchandise was 50% off. The store joins with the Venice Regional Bayfront Health volunteers in raising funds to provide scholarships for students attending college pursuing careers in medicine.

Thank goodness for the Venice Nokomis Woman’s Club. Their members dressed as elves, rode the trolley and provided cold water. The trolley was filled with shoppers, Santa seekers and people enjoying the ride seeing the pretty new Venice streets filled with new trees and flowers.

Abby’s on Miami and Bodrum restaurants welcomed Santa for lunch giving folks some up-close personal time for pictures and selfies.

Some social media followers are already counting down to Christmas. They say it’s about 140 days. In Venice, locals pause to shop with friends and enjoy a Christmas in July.

Beat the heat

On Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. wear some colorful Hawaiian clothes and enjoy a luau at the (Senior) Friendship Center on Scenic Drive. There will be live music by Al Pierce and the Let’s Do It Band, and at 2 p.m. Betty Jean and the Keoki Hula Walea Dancers will be entertaining. Cost is $3 for members and $8 for non members. See you there. Aloha.

One of our best

The special person of this week is Jimmy Wolfe, also known as the Christmas in July Venice Santa Claus. This high energy person deserves a double ho ho ho for his enthusiasm and friendly Santa Claus spirit.

While the temperatures were high, Jimmy rode on the trolley for two days and the fire truck for a grand entrance to the Venice Farmer’s Market. Each time he came in contact with someone young or senior, he shook hands, hugged and posed for pictures. He never slowed down.

While most seniors retire to Venice to do a little volunteer work and enjoy leisure time, Jimmy Wolfe wears shorts, a tropical shirt and a huge beard and wig. He spends some of his time spreading summer Christmas cheer. He is one of the kindest and most cheerful people you will meet.

Jimmy Wolfe is one of the men who makes Venice a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier. She welcomes your tips and ideas. Contact her at


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