For those who were chomping at the bit to inflate the front yard Frosty, string colorful lights along your eaves and dig out the Christmas tree ornaments back in September – but refrained for fear of ridicule – no need to hold back your holly holly enthusiasm any longer.
In the tiny North Florida town of Havana, at least, it’s officially the “Christmas Season” – as indicated by this past weekend’s annual Yuletide seasonal traditions: the downtown merchants’ Holiday Open House and Sunday’s festive, carol-and-cocoa-drenched tree lighting ceremony. As always, ‘Ol St. Nick himself – as played by ivory-bearded former Herald editor Billy Blackman – made an appearance, enjoying a warm respite from subzero North Pole weather, no doubt.
This year, Havana’s mid-November holiday customs came with a distinctly rock-and-roll twist, as John, Paul, George and Ringo – or their uncanny doppelgängers, rather – jammed the night away under a starlit Havana sky, as a sizable crowd of Beatle-manic concert-goers sang along, bathed in the warm golden glow of downtown’s light-adorned holly trees. Nationally acclaimed Beatles cover band “The Return” – authentic early-era Rickenbacker guitars, moptop dos and all – performed Saturday, the first in a series of live music shows Havana Main Street, the hard-working nonprofit behind this past weekend’s events, hopes to bring downtown.
By Brian Dekle
Special thanks to Terri Paul / Havana Main Street for the photos below; click to enlarge.