Merry and Bright

The season is just around the corner and The Villages Entertainment has been working ‘round the clock to get the squares ready for the holidays! There is a lot of holiday hustle that goes into these events and more entertainment to be had! 

How many bows are there at Spanish Springs Tree Lighting this year? 

Setup for the tree lightings starts right after the final one ends the year before. The to-do list for setting up ranges anywhere from finding vendors, decking out the squares in and garland, checking that the strings of lights work, creating new decorations, and prepping the bars. This list doesn’t even cover the Tree Lighting’s Eve checklist which includes setting up tents and ensuring that the squares are ready for the festivities. 

The Entertainment Special Events team coordinates with the District, who provides the tree. The week before the Tree Lightings, Special Events comes out to hang garland and lights after dark. The concept behind doing all of this work after the squares have closed is to give the effect that the elves came in overnight, giving a holiday jumpstart to the season. 

Each square has a unique theme that is exhibited in the décor. Brownwood’s brand new Country Christmas theme plays on cowboy stars brilliantly accenting the essence of Paddock Square itself. Moving North to Lake Sumter Landing, Villagers can see the play on Coastal Christmas with the lights shining off the waters from the boardwalk. And with our final square, we get to experience Classic Christmas at the original Spanish Springs Town Square. With elements of greens and golds bringing you back to childhood, this square is decorated with 20 bows. 

How many years has the Entertainment team set-up Santa’s Sweetery? 

Visiting the Tree Lightings of Christmas past, the Tree Lightings used to include bunting and balloons, but the Entertainment team has made some changes resulting in the squares shining brighter each year. Since 2019, Special Events has put up the Tree Trail and Santa’s Sweetery, adding a festive feast for the eyes and ears. Now renamed Santa’s Village, this décor has become more in depth over the years. The Special Events team can’t wait to introduce how they’ve grown this year and are excited for what the future holds for Tree Lightings. 

How many strands of garland top a single bar hut? 

No Tree Lighting Festival would be complete without sweet treats for everyone. While there will be many food vendors at each lighting, Special Events will be setting up Santa’s Village which will offer Santa Snacks, the Hot Cocoa Factory, and the North Pole Photo Stop. 

Featuring various flavors of cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and pie slices and candied apples from Yvonne’s Sweet Treats, 5% of proceeds from Santa Snacks will go toward the charity sponsored at each designated square. 

Don’t forget to get something from the Hot Cocoa Factory to keep warm! From classic Mrs. Claus Cocoa to flavors like the Merry Mint Mudslide, Irish Cocoa with Bailey’s Irish Cream, Fireside Cocoa with Fireball, or spiced Holiday Egg Nog, there’s something for everyone. This year, the Hot Cocoa Factory has added Santa’s Spiced Wine, a mulled wine to tickle the taste buds. 

For those who want to visit the bar huts, which are decorated with 7 strands of garland per hut, they will be open in addition to the Hot Cocoa Factory, selling classic bar beverages. 

What favorite Christmas couple will be making an appearance at the tree lightings?  

The day of each tree lighting, there will be live music at each square, with roaming entertainment, resident performer groups featuring your Villager friends, and of course the Tree Lighting Ceremony with Santa and Mrs. Claus to help plug in the trees. 

Beginning at 8pm, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be assisted by Visiting Nurses Association and Maestro Bill Doherty with The Local Vocals as the trees come to life. Spanish Springs will have a Christmas Parade provided by Recreation at 3pm the day of their Christmas Lighting. 

When the festivities have wrapped up, there will additionally be Menorah Lightings at Brownwood Paddock Square December 18th 1pm-4pm and Spanish Springs Town Square December 22nd 1pm-4pm. The Temple of Shalom of Central Florida will light the Menorah in celebration of Hanukkah in two different locations this year!

These Tree Lightings could not happen without the coordination of several teams as well as our sponsors. A big shout out to Consumer Cellular for sponsoring Brownwood’s Country Christmas and Light My Village for lighting the palm trees at Lake Sumter as well as the big oak at Spanish Springs.  

Don’t miss the Christmas Tree Lighting at the square closest to you! Mark your calendars: 

Rock, Roll, and All That Jazz

Over the years Savannah Center and the Nightly Entertainment venues have been a host to events put on by Rocky Productions, most familiar being Rocky & The Rollers.  

Rocky is back at Savannah with his Rocky’s Big Band Meets Rock and Roll this month! This is a multi-faceted show with music from the forties all the way through the eighties with a big band rock and roll sound. 

With Rocky, seventeen Rollers and other big band orchestra members, and three Rollets we can expect a great evening of BIG sound with this fun crew. Rocky has known some members for as long as twenty-three years playing around the country and the state! 

When asked about his favorite songs in the show, Rocky noted jazz classics like “In The Mood” and of course “Sing Sing Sing” with the big drum solo on his list of favorites to perform. We can expect to see Rocky behind the drums in his blue sequin suit on the evening of the show. 

Singer, Steve Santo is gearing up to perform the iconic Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra tunes, and Kathleen Kane will perform a “Proud Mary” that will blow you away! 

“I’m still very true to the music and it’s why I do this.” -Rocky  

Visiting the history of big band music and rock n’ roll, we can see the evolution as the horn sections of these big bands were absorbed into mainstream pop and the sounds were “amplified” resulting in “rock n’ roll”. Naturally, the two complement each other in the arrangements that Rocky and his crew have created and we can look forward to some modern favorites mixed with a big band sound. 

“You get a mixture of both sounds in one show, which is why audiences continue to show up for this special.” -Rocky 

Backstage, Rocky says that it’s enjoyable for cast members to get together and they often find themselves reminiscing over old shows they’ve played through the years. They also generally nerd out over how cool it is to play both genres in one show. “It’s fun for us because it’s the old stuff, but we get to do it LIVE!” 

The rehearsal process has certainly changed over the years. When the music charts are finished and are sent out to all players, they don’t commence with a full-blown ensemble rehearsal. The rehearsal starts in the comfort of their living rooms where they study their parts independently. Eventually, they break out into small groups over Zoom calls. 

The full group doesn’t gather until the day of the performance where they spend the day putting everything together on the Savannah Center stage. 

“Every single player we have on that stage reads music like a professor. We go in early at 9am the day of the show and rehearse 11 to 2:30 and then boom! The first show is at 4.” 

You won’t want to miss this show November 12th at 4pm and 7pm. “It’ll be one of the most musically exciting and thrilling shows because you get to hear things you don’t normally hear.” 

Rocky’s Big Band Meets Rock and Roll– November 12
Get your tickets here!

Can’t make it to Rocky’s big event? There’s more on the horizon from Rocky Productions.

Get your fix for the ladies of the 60s with Rocky’s Lady Legends of the 60s featuring Peggy March (“I Will Follow Him”), LaLa Brooks (The Crystals & “The Doo Ron Ron”), and Kathy Young (A Thousand Stars) revisiting your favorite tunes from way back when.

Put away your electric guitars and get ready to listen to Rocky and his crew “unplug” for Rocky Unplugged this January as he and his crew bring back this favorite show where everything is still all Rocky, but acoustic! 

Get into something good when Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits returns to The Villages this January.  A remnant of the British invasion of the 60s, you’ll hear your favorites like “Wonderful Worls and “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”.

Rocky’s Lady Legends of the 60sOn Sale NOW!

Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone – With Special guest Rocky and The Rollers
– On Sale 11/16/22

Rocky Unplugged– On Sale 11/23/22

Check out more on our Ticketed Performances page!