Local man known for painting holiday themed windows beats the odds to continue tradition

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:46 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s another Christmas season for the Akiyama family, and like they do every year, they are painting holiday themes on windows at local businesses. Finishing off the season of painting at Carpet Connection in Panama City.

Steve Akiyama and his two sons Mark and Steve have been doing this family tradition for more than 30 years.

“There was one year where we did 66, but that was when I was a young whipper snapper,” said the older Steve.

Steve has been taking his kids with him to paint the windows for local businesses the past few decades. They are well-known in the area for their Christmas themed art. Snowmen, Santa Claus, Reindeer and more painted on the windows. But as they wrapped up the season at Carpet Connection, they are grateful to spend the time together.

“Spending time with them. People take advantage of the time they get to spend with their family and this is one of them you know, especially when you get to do something that is fun,” said the younger Steve.

But they are extra thankful for this season of painting, especially since it almost didn’t happen. Last April, the patriarch of the group, Steve, suffered a stroke. After months of therapy, he’s back at it.

“Well they told me I wouldn’t be walking or doing anything, I’d be a vegetable. I told them no, I don’t think so. And I’m walking, praise God and still painting,” said Steve.

“He’s a fighter and that’s not going to stop him,” said his son, Steve.

Another season of family painting for the holidays, but this could be the last.

Steve said he’s hanging up the paintbrush after this year.

“Time to quit, it gets to be a lot of work,” said the older Steve.

But, that’s what he says.

“I don’t believe that,” laughed the younger Steve.

But for the family and all those that see the paintings, they are just happy for another year of Steve making seasons brighter.

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