Charlotte sets Christmas tree lighting

No downtown?

No problem?

Port Charlotte might not have a downtown center where holiday festivities can be held, but it has a tree and it’s all trimmed. So why not light it up? And why not celebrate the occasion?

That’s exactly what the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce intends to do when it holds its second Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Murdock Administration Building.

Now, the Murdock Administration Building might not seem the most festive of locations. It’s kind of tucked away off Murdock Circle, hard by Batteries Plus Bulbs and the Town Center Mall. Government officials are lurking inside. People don’t generally show up there to party.

But it’s the nature of Port Charlotte that no real downtown exists, and the Murdock Administration Building is the place where Charlotte County does business.

It just so happens, too, that this time of year it sports a Christmas tree. A nice one at that. And lighted pathways. All it lacks are people to provide it personality and warmth.

“It’s a big Christmas tree,” noted Julie Mathis, the chamber’s executive director.

Enter the folks from the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce. Last year, Julie Mathis, its longtime executive director, and Denise Dull of Integrity Employee Leasing, its president at the time, looked at the county’s Christmas tree and figured it needed an official lighting, kind of like the lighting that

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we make the lighting an occasion?’ Why not make it more of a thing?’” Mathis recalled.

So, the event was held. Mathis said about 50 people showed up and had a good time. It seemed to the chamber folks that it was worth doing again.

This year, members have pitched in to make it bigger and better. Shelley Johnson of Allison James Estates & Homes is bringing cider and cookies. Kathy Robinson of Centennial; Bank will be grilling hot dogs. The Charlotte Stone Crabs are providing a hitting inflatable and more for the kids.

There will be music. Carols will be sung.

“It will last from 45 minutes to an hour, and if last year is a barometer, everyone will have fun,” Mathis said. “We want people to bring a lawn chair and enjoy this informal community event with us.”

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