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: