On Friday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m., Edison and Ford Winter Estates will kick off the 47th annual Holiday Nights celebration with a tree lighting ceremony. Guests will have an opportunity to participate in the countdown with Dave Elias from NBC-2 when the Christmas tree on the Ford property is lit with thousands of animated lights choreographed to holiday music. Female vocalists, the American Sirens, will perform shortly after the tree lighting. The event is sponsored by Florida Power & Light, Bob Dean Supply, Sunbelt Rentals, and TriCircle Pavers.
This year’s theme is “Holidays on the Riverfront” and will incorporate water and nautical elements. Holiday Nights will run nightly through Jan. 1, except Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Guided Holiday Tradition Tours will be offered at 6 and 7 p.m. every night except opening night or visitors can choose to meander at their own pace on a self-guided tour. Inside-the-Homes tours will be offered on Nov. 30, and Dec. 7, 14, and 21 at 6:30 p.m. for a special up-close look at the homes’ decorated interiors.
Several new light displays are being installed this year. When visitors enter the riverside of the property, they will walk through a new lighted tunnel. This will set the stage and lead guests to the new fountain tree with animated lights. The tree that will be used for the tree lighting ceremony is also new and incorporates animated lights choreographed with music.
The family-oriented event includes the Children’s Tree Trail, which features dozens of trees decorated with handmade ornaments from Lee County school children. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting on Sunday evenings from 6-8 p.m. through December 18. The “Wild Wizard” (Edison’s nickname) will conduct science experiments on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. through Dec. 20.
There will also be music on several nights. Strolling carolers will sing on Dec. 7 and 16, the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers will perform on December 14, and a tenor saxophone player will perform Dec. 16-23. An antique circus car (a Calliope) with a built-in pipe organ will be played from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 5. Curators will be on hand to answer questions about the car, which is a modified 1914 Model T Ford.
Guests can shop multiple vendor booths during the new Holiday Market on Dec. 11 from 4 – 9 p.m. The Museum Store and Garden Shoppe will be open until 9 p.m. every night of Holiday Nights and will be stocked with unique gift items for that hard-to-buy-for loved one. Refreshments will be available for purchase on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and Dec. 19-23 and Dec. 26-27.
Holiday Nights tickets for adults are $20, teens (13-19) $10, children (6-12) are $2, and Edison Ford members get in free. Guided Holiday Tradition Tours are $30 for adults, teens are $25, children $18, and $10 for Edison Ford members. Inside-the-Homes Holiday Tours are $50. Lee County residents with identification will receive $5 off Holiday Nights admission on Sunday nights. To purchase tickets or view the nightly schedule, visit the website at www.edisonford.org.