The idea was born just a month ago, during and ad hoc discussion between Lori Rice (City of Longwood), Matt Morgan, Traci Putnam (LHS President), and Jason Byrne at the the All Hallows in Old Longwood. Could the Longwood Historic Society create a fun new event around the lighting of the new Christmas tree in front of the Longwood Inn? Answer: YES!
With not much time to prep and promote, we got to work. The event started with a historic walking tour, with a twist: we’d work with each stop to go into the buildings. A rare opportunity! The tour terminated at the Historic Civic Center, with a reception featuring hot cocoa, apple cider, and ice cream. At sunset, we headed across the street where Matt Morgan and his son Jackson lit up the tree, as the crowd counted down. Finally, we sang Christmas carols through the streets, ending at the fire department to sing to our first responders.
Oh, and all of it was free! We love creating family-friendly events that promote the kind of small town charm that feels so appropriate for Historic Longwood.
It was a huge success! Over 70 people joined us at the event’s peak. To our surprise, the highest attended section of the night was the history tour. We knew Longwood’s citizens loved history and all, but we really thought the peak would be the hot cocoa reception and tree lighting!
My friends, I think we just landed on a new annual event.
Thank you to the following groups for helping with the evening:
- Rotary Club of Longwood for supplying the hot cocoa
- Cottage Gift Shop for supplying the hot apple cider
- Jack the Dipper for ice cream — the kid’s loved this addition!
- Christ Episcopal Church for letting us borrow the carol books
- Sanlando United Methodist Church for letting us borrow Pastor Jonathan Tarman (who said the blessing) and had the largest crowd of representatives
- Star Angels Girl Scout Community for coming out in force
- Barbed Wire Browns for opening the Le Rue House
- Bill Johnson and Lifecare of Central Florida for opening the Henck House
- Marlo for opening the Longwood Inn office building
- The docents at the Bradlee-McIntyre House
- And the other Historic Society vounteers for helping set up and serve at the reception
- Our City Commissioners who came out: Matt Morgan, Tony Boni, Abby Shoemaker, and Matt McMillan