Florida is a warm state, everyone knows this. Sometimes I think about moving there when I retire, then remember it would mean giving up the white Christmases that I love so much! Snow on the trees, skating rinks, everything that screams "Christmas" to me is just not possible in Florida.
Or so I thought.
The Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center on the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds just opened its Christmas Lane, which has been going on for more than 30 years. Lane Wetherington, a local resident, started decorating his childhood home decades ago, and every year the displays grew bigger and bigger.
Eventually, Wetherington had to move it all to the festival grounds in 2015, and Christmas Lane was born! The holiday display features more than 1.5 million lights, dozens of Christmas trees ranging from four to 40 feet tall, rides, and decorations like you wouldn't believe. It brings a classic Christmas feel to the warm state, and families love checking it out.
John Verlinich and his kids rushed to see Christmas Lane on its opening night, because they just couldn't wait to take it all in.
"They love it. They're having fun. They see the lights, they see Christmas, they see Santa Claus. It's a good family tradition," said Verlinich.
It's not just Floridians that are taking in the sights, either. Jason West, who comes from Dauphin Alabama, is in Florida with his family for the holidays visiting other members of his family, and decided to take his kids to experience all the fun.
"It's great, it's fantastic. It's really beautiful here and I can tell a lot of time went into this," said West.
His kids were pretty overwhelmed with it all, but in a good way. When asked about her favorite part, Sophie West just couldn't pick.
"All the lights and ornaments and all that," the 12-year-old said.
Even though it's been a long-standing tradition, there are still some firsts happening this year at Christmas Lane, including two-month-old Brinley Wilson meeting Santa for the first time.
"She's doing good. She was a little upset before we met Santa but then when she met Santa she was good," said her mother, Brittney Wilson.
How fun does this look? This tree is so stunning.
Everyone seems to be having a great time, and with so much to do it's not hard to see why.
Over 1.5 million lights? I'm lucky to get a single strand up on my house at this point!
These trees are too pretty!! I'm going to have to up my game this year.
And of course, what's Christmas Lane without Frosty and Rudolph?
If you want to check out Christmas Lane, its open from 6pm to 10 p.m. on Thursday - Sunday nights until December 24th.
Tickets are $5 plus tax for ages 13 and up, $3 plus tax for ages 4 to 12, and free for ages 3 and under.
[H/T: Spectrum News]