Holiday traditions persist at Edison-Ford Estates

Writer: Joey Pellegrino

At a time when many holiday traditions would normally be getting underway, businesses and cities across the U.S. are saying “not this year.” But one Florida attraction has plans to continue its holiday traditions while keeping visitors safe.

Over the summer, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates held socially distant concerts on the lawn, and now the staff is ready for you to responsibly enjoy their biggest event of the year: Holiday Nights.

Holiday Nights kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with a trio of women singers followed by a tree lighting at 6 p.m. Normally, the Estates light the banyan tree near the parking lot, but this year it’s moved to the Mysore fig tree off the Caloosahatchee River, where staff have already measured the lawn and determined 250 to 300 people can stay socially distanced and safe during the event.

For some families, Holiday Nights is a tradition. That’s why the Estates try to incorporate new lights and surprises every year, and it will be no different this year, the 45th anniversary of the event. The Mysore fig tree lighting will also incorporate an animated light show.

Lisa Wilson of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates says the staff started hanging lights two months ago, and she’s ready to help people get in the holiday spirit.

“With this pandemic, we’re only seeing about a third of the visitors that we normally see this time of year, so we are not expecting the crowd that we normally see,” Wilson said. “So I think it’ll still be a really fun event, especially because we are outdoors. I hope people feel safe.”

Wilson says she’s happy the Estates can continue to spread holiday cheer the way they know best.

“Mina Edison passed away in 1947, and before she did, she deeded the property to the City of Fort Myers, and hers and Thomas’ mission was to continue the legacy of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, so we want to be able to do that,” Wilson said.

She believes Edison’s legacy lives on with their Holiday Nights lights every year.

Masks are required if you plan to come to Holiday Nights. Due to social distancing and limited crowds, the lights will remain up through Jan. 3, 2021.

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