A craft fair, a Christmas tree lighting, some complimentary pizza pies and Santa Claus kept the Truck Stop packed to capacity with happy people on Saturday.
The Truck Stop has tried hard to be more than a collection of restaurants, a bar and an ice cream shop since opening more than one year ago, north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye.
On Wednesday and Friday nights, free movies are shown on an outdoors screen beside the lagoon. Fridays are reserved for family movies. Thursdays are now Trivia Night and Sundays are all about the whole roasted pig and a sometimes comically intense corn hole tournament. Once a month there is a hugely popular farmers’ market.
Every night of the week there are gorgeous sunsets on the back-a-da-island dock and always there are places to just sit with friends and shoot the breeze.
In short, Truck Stop has elevated itself from being just another island food and beverage stop to being a community gathering destination.
That feeling was there with jingle bells on Saturday, starting with the Truck Stop’s first-ever crafts fair. Revenue from the sale of tables went to local non-profits and they were sold out and laden with jewelry, arts & crafts, sewing, baking, ornaments and so much more. So many creative people!
As patrons navigated the crowded aisles, staff from the Truck Stop’s new restaurant A Slice of Haven circulate among the crowd handing out hot and crisp slices of New Haven-style thin-crust pie. The crew is perfecting the pies and learning the ropes on the new pizza oven that can cook a pie in under two-minutes. The bistro will be open for business this week.
As darkness fell, the Christmas tree came to life on the countdown of the “voice of the Truck Stop” himself, Adam Feldman. (You can catch his act on Thursdays calling out trivia questions, and I’m told he even sings a clue or two when necessary.)
That was soon followed by the arrival of Santa Claus who worked the crowd like a politician — just shaking hands and kissing babies. He lifted no wallets from patrons’ pockets.
Santa soon settled onto a bench nestled into the vine-like tree “cave”out back. Pretty quickly kids were on to his location and were posing for pictures at $10 a pop for the San Pedro Food Bank while making their pitch for the good boy and girl toys they’d like to see under the tree on Christmas day. Every child got a candy cane. Every adult — and there were many posing with Santa — got a jell-o shot. Ho. Ho. Ho.
Me, I spent the evening in a Santa hat gluing Polaroid photos into red and green frames.
My first gig as an elf.
The festivities are over at the Truck Stop but if you want a taste of the holiday spirit you need only walk 100 feet up the road to the Maya House where the display grows bigger and more impressive every year. Here are some photos of the house: