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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights: December 11, 2009 – January 2, 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 30th

With a theme of “Favorite Things,” Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a 34 year tradition attracting visitors from all over the nation to see millions of lights and decorations throughout the riverside homes and gardens of the famous families.

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This year there are many new surprises and the return of the successful favorites making this a ‘must do’ for families, residents, visitors and groups.   The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a National Register Historic Site and has just completed more than $12 million in award winning restoration to the historic Edison and Ford buildings, and historic gardens.  In fact, the project won the top award for restoration from the National Trust for Historic Preservation this year because of its attention to restoration detail and authenticity. Just recently the Estates is adding a new outdoor lighting system for an additional $500,000.

The historic site prides itself on recreating the holiday tradition in the days of the Edison and Ford families and their hundreds of visitors.  The historic buildings, porches, interior rooms and the gardens are all seasonally decorated.  This year, there is a new spin – the lights will be brilliantly colored which was the fashion and original design of the 1920’s.  The lights are a combination of tiny bright lights, new LED varieties and antique light displays from the collections of the Estates and museums as far away as the Schenectady Museum in upstate New York (home of GE who manufactured the lights).  The site has also added areas with projected laser light star fields (Edison would have enjoyed this contemporary spin!).


Some of the old favorites and new additions for December 2009 include:

•           Millions of colored lights throughout the site which includes nine historic buildings and unique structures such as the 1910 above ground swimming pool and teahouse

•           Favorite Things theme for the antique, replica and designer decorations

•           Projected laser light star fields in the trees

•           Live performance holiday music nightly in the Estates Heritage Garden by groups (free to the public)

•           Children’s Holiday Tree Trail created by schools throughout Lee County

•           Holiday music throughout the gardens

•           Riverside Lights Café open nightly offering beverages and light foods for purchase overlooking the beautiful riverside property

•           Estates Museum and the Edison Botanic Research Lab will be open nightly with new exhibits and hundreds of artifacts as well as the Estates Museum Store

•           Historic Edison Creative Cottage open for the holidays with spectacular work for purchase by regional artists, authors and chefs

•           Holiday Cottage Shoppe open on the Ford Estate for wonderful gift items including tree ornaments, cards, books, jams and jellies, clothing and art work – including decorator holiday shirts by Leoma Lovegrove

•           Garden Shoppe open for purchase of Edison heritage plants and trees, flowering plants and new this year, hanging herb baskets which will be featured decorations throughout the historic site as well

•           Special Holiday Party to kick off the season at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates on December 10 from 6 PM – 9 PM.  A spectacular evening with food and drinks by the river; live music; Creative Cottage artists and authors available to personalize gifts; photos with Santa, Thomas Edison & Henry Ford; special silent auction of wreaths.  Members $50, non members $60 

•           The Twenty One Wreaths of Holiday Nights, auction featuring designers/artists who will create a holiday wreath reflecting their unique design signature.  Wreaths will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday Party on December 10

“In addition to the millions of dollars in improvements to the overall site, the budget for Holiday Nights is always somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on the theme and other new concepts,” says Estates spokesperson, Lisa Sbuttoni.  “We also rely on the volunteer spirit and creativity of dozens of regional groups, businesses and other volunteers for their decorating skill and contributions.”  This year, the group includes:

Southwest Florida Community Bank; GE; Florida Power and Light; Hilton Garden Inn Fort Myers; Residence Inn by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriot; Courtyard by Marriott Gulf Coast Town Center; City of Fort Myers; Sak’s Fifth Avenue; Sondra’s Furniture Consignments;  The Edison Restaurant; Edison Park Neighborhood Association; Edwards family and friends;  Brinson family and friends; Jeanne Dozier; Lee County Convention Bureau; Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce; Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce; Margaret Sirianni; Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects; Chris-Tel Construction; Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation;  Goetz & Stropes Landscape Architects; South Florida Water Management District; O’Donnell Landscape Inc.; Society of Florida Landscape Architects of Southwest Florida; Smoot family and friends; Hospice of Southwest Florida, The Institute of Interior Design School, Southwest Florida College at the International Design; Southwest Florida Quilter’s Guild; Royal Palm Yacht Club; WGCU Public Media; Thompson Family; Creative Events/Taylor Rental of Fort Myers Inc.

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