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Christmas on Main Street

Brooksville’s Christmas on Main Street awarded STS Top 20 Designation

By Diane Bedard Posted on June 3, 2020

The Southeast Tourism Society just named Brooksville’s Christmas on Main Street: Annual Tree Lighting one of its STS Top 20 Events in the Southeast for December 2020.

This year’s Tree Lighting event will be held on December 3, 2020.

Natalie Kahler, Executive Director and former Mayor of the City, says, “Brooksville Main Street is honored by the recognition of this event that we all love so much.  It is a perfect example of how collaborative efforts result in extraordinary success.  Credit goes to all partners, public and private, as well as the hundreds of volunteers needed to make this event happen.  In this year of so much uncertainty, it is wonderful to look forward to something that we know will bring us all together.”

Christmas on Main Street has Grown Tremendously

It began as the brainchild of Rick Foti of Hernando County Government Broadcasting, and this popular event has always drawn large crowds. 

Downtown Brooksville is resplendent with holiday decorations and lights throughout the streets around the courthouse. Image courtesy of Land Pirate Photography.

Each year, local organizations are invited to create and display giant Christmas cards on the Courthouse lawn. Churches, synagogues, nature clubs and more create beautiful greetings celebrating the season.

The streetlights and many downtown buildings are decorated with lights, wreaths, and holiday décor adding to the festive feel.

Christmas on Main Street has become a Southeast Tourism Top 20 Event thanks to many people and organizations that come together to help fulfill Brooksville Main Street’s vision of keeping the excitement and anticipation of Christmas continuing. Horse-drawn “sleigh” rides are part of the festivities. Image courtesy of Classic Reflections Carriage Rides.

There is a Christmas parade through the downtown each year, with floats, marching bands and all the accompanying reverie.

In 2018, Barbara Manuel, Brooksville Main Street’s Promotions Chair, spearheaded efforts to purchase large scale decorations for the Courthouse and City Hall, and Christmas on Main Street took on a whole new meaning in Brooksville. 

Brooksville’s Christmas on Main Street: Annual Tree Lighting awarded STS Top 20 Designation

Christmas on Main Street participants show their joy at the event, which was expanded in 2019 to meet the demand. Image courtesy of Nicole Feller.

“The event became so popular that in 2018 that it was almost too crowded to move,” Natalie Kahler, Brooksville Main Street’s Executive Director explained. “I petitioned the City to allow a larger footprint for the 2019 event.”  

The expanded Christmas on Main Street event was stretched several more blocks down Main Street with horse-drawn buggy rides, caroling, local business celebrations, and, of course, Santa and his reindeer.

Patricia’s Boutique holds “Patricia’s Windows come to Life” as part of the 2019 celebration. Crowds in the street enjoy the show. Images courtesy of Banjoe Traveler.

Brooksville Main Street program’s vision is to keep the excitement and anticipation of Christmas continuing. One way to assist in accomplishing this having area churches and other groups perform in from the courthouse steps. These musical shows are held each evening, beginning with the night of the tree lighting and held nightly through Christmas Eve.

Music organizations are invited to participate by scheduling a performance for up to an hour on the courthouse steps next to the lighted Christmas tree. The Christmas tree’s synchronized music and light show then automatically starts at 7 pm each evening.

Attendees came from throughout the county, the state, and the region to hear the live Christmas music, shop and eat downtown, and to visit Santa, who always spends the first Thursday of December in Brooksville.

Santa always spends the first Thursday in December in Brooksville according to the City’s Main Street Program. Image courtesy of Lisa Gallagher Shaw.

“It was an amazing evening! We truly enjoyed the whole evening, the singing, especially the gentleman that played the saxophone! We ate at an amazing restaurant and are so looking forward to doing it all over,” said Erna Evans Pittman, a regular attendee from Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada.

Edie Pittman said, “I told everyone I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie.”

Live music is held nightly on the historic courthouse steps. This is the talented Del O. Barnes. Image courtesy of Chad Johnston.

About the Christmas on Main Street event in Brooksville

Christmas on Main Street is presented in cooperation with Hernando County and the City of Brooksville governments, the Live Oak Theatre, Brooksville Main Street, and an ever-growing list of partners (including NatureCoaster).

the dolan house
Brooksville has nice lodging options with two historic Bed and Breakfasts, RV Parks, campgrounds and nearby hotels. Image courtesy of The Dolan House.

You may want to plan ahead for the 2020 Christmas on Main Street Event in Brooksville. The Tree Lighting event will be December 3, and festivities will be held nightly through Christmas Eve on December 24, 2020. There are two historic B&Bs, as well as Chinsegut Retreat and Event Center where visitors can reserve a room to help them enjoy the feel of the season. Additionally, there are some nice RV parks and campgrounds.

For more information about the event, please follow or contact the Brooksville Main Street Facebook Page or Florida’s Adventure Coast Tourism office. By the end of June the offices of both organizations should be located at 205 E. Fort Dade Avenue in downtown Brooksville.

The Christmas on Main Street event is held in the downtown Brooksville area, headquartered at the corner of Broad and Main Street. Image courtesy of Land End Photography.

About the STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards

The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985.

Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published on two websites: Southeast Tourism Society and Travel Media Press Room.

Lit trees are located around the courthouse square and downtown Brooksville area. Image courtesy of Emilio Sonny Vergara.

“The goal is to highlight the efforts of devoted event organizers and provide additional media exposure and accolades for their events,” said Monica Smith, President and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.  “The Southeast (U.S.) offers so many unique, year-round, opportunities for tourists and festival-goers to create memories and support the tourism industry-–a vital economic generator for communities.”

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000.  

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Roswell, Ga., is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting travel and tourism within 14 states – Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Brooksville Main Street is an official “Florida Main Street” Community powered by the Brooksville Vision Foundation.

About the Brooksville Main Street Project

Powered by the Brooksville Vision Foundation, the Brooksville Main Street program works to bring economic growth, vitality, and historic preservation to one of Old Florida’s most iconic small towns.

Brooksville Main Street is an official “Florida Main Street Community” as designated by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, and the Florida Department of State.

“Dedicated to the re-imagined vitality, and economic prosperity of one of Old Florida’s most iconic small towns.”


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