LAKE WALES, Fla. – Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is a celebration for the whole family with the traditional Pinewood Estate tour, decorating workshops, poinsettia displays, member events, holiday carillon concerts, winter walking tours and more. Daily festivities take place from Nov. 29 to Jan. 5.
Always the highlight of this seasonal event is the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate. Now in its 19th year, volunteers and sponsored designers have decorated the 20-room, Mediterranean-style mansion on the Gardens’ property. This year’s design theme is “Celebrating Traditions,” in recognition of the Gardens’ 85th anniversary in 2014.
Community Room Design Partners include: Staples, Black Swan Bazaar, Rafa Natural, Rainbow Wicker & Silk, Ashton Events, Taylormade Floral Designs, Wish Vintage Rentals, Eye Specialists of Mid Florida, and Citizens Bank and Trust.
“The Holiday Home Tour is consistently our largest fundraiser of the year thanks to scores of visitors who have made this event a family tradition,” said Jennifer Beam, director of visitor services & programs. “We’ve incorporated our year-long 85th anniversary theme into to the 2013 edition, where we are celebrating traditions and welcoming brand new room design partners.”
In keeping with the “Celebrating Traditions” theme, room designers have selected décor ranging from old, authentic ornaments to historic themes about the home’s original owners, to various holiday traditions celebrated by their own families. Every room is decorated by a different sponsored designer and the hallways, entrances and other spaces are adorned by volunteers who have handcrafted most of the decorations.
“I think this year’s tour will be our best yet! We have great designers who have brought a fresh eye to the project while simultaneously honoring Pinewood’s special 1930s elegance,” said Elyse Justice, Pinewood Estate coordinator. “Our volunteer designers have also created stunning arrangements and displays throughout the house. Every nook and cranny is uniquely beautiful. Our visitors who have made this a family tradition will be really pleased, and our new visitors will be dazzled,” Justice said.
With as much work that goes into each detail of the home décor, the Holiday Home Tour wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated help from the Gardens’ volunteers.
“The staff, volunteers and designers who make this event happen have worked tirelessly during the last year to plan for a spectacular Christmas display,” Beam said.
A new addition to the Holiday Home Tour this year is “Pinewood Place,” an intimate outdoor seating area adjacent to the estate serving light snacks and drinks. Menu items include beer, wine, specialty sodas, green tea, bottled water, coffee, hot chai, hot tea, hot apple cider, cocoa, cookies, carillon crunch, biscotti, sourdough dill pretzels, potato chips, and chocolates.
Children are encouraged to tour the 1930’s-style home and are invited to participate in an ongoing search for “Buddy” the Magical Elf in every room. A special “Holiday Home Tour for Kids” student tour package is also available, where a docent educator will read excerpts from The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell.
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is sponsored in part by Visit Florida, Visit Central Florida, WEDU, WUSF, and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. For tickets to the 19th Annual Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, visit BokTowerGardens.org or call 863-676-1408 for more information.
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens – Events and Programs 2013:
Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate – Hours & Admission Prices – Nov. 29 to Jan. 5, 2014
The 19th Annual Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is open Mondays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sundays from noon – 5 p.m. Admission is $20 adults; $9 children ages 5-12. Members: $7 adults; $6 children ages 5-12. All prices include general gate admission. Children under 5 are admitted free.
Family Portrait Day – Nov. 29
Have your holiday portrait taken in the beautiful setting of the Gardens. Portrait sessions are 45 minutes per group with Potthast Studios of Winter Haven, FL. Sessions include one complimentary 8” x 10” print, with other packages available to purchase. Space is limited, reservations required. $149 per group session.
Christmas Carillon Concerts – Nov. 29 to Jan. 5, 2014
Geert D’hollander performs Christmas carols from around the world at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. These 30-minute live concerts are included with general gate admission.
Winter Walking Tours – Nov. 29 to Jan. 5, 2014
Gardens’ volunteers lead visitors on an hour-long winter walking tour, sharing information about the flora and fauna and guiding visitors through the Gardens from Pinewood Estate to the Singing Tower. Tours are Mondays through Saturdays at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; Sundays at 1:45 p.m. only.
Antique Car Showcase – Dec. 3, 10, 17
It’s automotive yesteryear with Model A’s on display for the holidays! Presented by the Florida Flywheelers on Tuesdays Dec. 3-17, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Pinewood Estate. Included with admission.
Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra – Dec. 7
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Singing Tower carillon perform together in a special holiday edition of one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Guests are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and experience a magical evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain. $20 per person. $8 per child ages 5-12. Children under 5 free. Day of: $25 per person. $10 per child ages 5-12.
“Holiday Traditions” Workshop Series – Dec. 7, 14, 21
Visitors can make and take their own winter wonderland décor with the Holiday Traditions Workshop Series. Learn how to create handmade Christmas decorations like musical ornaments and natural centerpieces. Workshops are Saturdays Dec. 7-21 from 10 a.m. – noon at Pinewood Estate; $10 per person, supplies included. Reservations are required.
Holiday Moonlight Carillon Concert & Home Tour Night – Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
The Holiday Moonlight Carillon Concert and Home Tour Night returns Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Geert D’hollander performs a special nighttime, hour-long carillon concert after normal operating hours. Before or after the concert, guests can visit Pinewood Estate for a special holiday home tour complete with hot chocolate and cookies. Pinewood will be open until 10 p.m., and Geert D’hollander will greet guests at the house immediately following the concert. Concert Only: $5 per person; free for members. Concert & Home Tour: $13 per person; $7 for members.
Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens – Dec. 25
Celebrate Christmas Day with free Holiday Home Tours of Pinewood Estate from noon to 5 p.m., and enjoy the sounds of the season with carillon concerts at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Regular gate admission rates apply.