The community came together for a weekend filled with joy, entertainment and celebration at The Lee County Black History Society’s (LCBHS) annual Holiday in the Park festivities, held at Roberto Clemente Park in Fort Myers on Dec. 1 for Holiday in the Park and and Dec. 2 for Movie in the Park.

This year’s events witnessed the largest turnout ever, drawing close to 800 attendees. The crowd was engaged throughout both days, enjoying a variety of performances, recognitions and community-driven activities.

kids on stage

For The Culture, Jack & Jill Group Shot

“The Lee County Black History Society extends its heartfelt appreciation to Program and Events Coordinator Melinda Golden, the Holiday in the Park Committee and the dedicated LCBHS Board and members who volunteered their time and efforts,” said LCBHS Executive Director Autumn Watkins Holloway. “Special thanks go to the City of Fort Myers and the (Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency) CRA for their invaluable support in ensuring the success of the event, from holiday decorations to logistical assistance. The Lee County Black History Society extends its gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this year’s Holiday in the Park a resounding success. The event not only celebrated the holiday season but also reinforced the importance of community, culture, and unity.”

Highlights of the Holiday in the Park included performances by the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church’s Mass Choirs, youth from the S.T.A.R.S. and the Quality of Life Center, and solo performances by Julissa Jean, guitarist Isnord Lewin, and DJ Sean. The festivities were hosted by the First Lady Niki of Fly 98.5. More than 15 local vendors and food trucks provided a festive atmosphere for families and friends.

The CARSS Awards were announced, recognizing 14 outstanding Lee County Public School students for their success and achievements. This initiative, a partnership between LCBHS, the School District of Lee County’s Department of Diversity & Inclusion and Constance White Davis, celebrated the excellence of these students and their commitment to education.

The Williams Academy Black History Museum, adorned for the holidays, offered visitors a festive and educational tour led by charter member Harriet Myers and board secretary Herbia Green. Collaborative efforts by the Southwest Florida Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the United Way and the Fort Myers Fire Department resulted in a heartwarming toy giveaway, ensuring every child left with a smile and a free toy.

The Soul Santa Parade was orchestrated by Lee Ford and the Cornerstone Church of SWFL. The Dunbar High School Drumline, Gateway High School Marching Band and East Lee County High School Diamond Dolls paraded through the park leading to the tree-lighting ceremony, where the countdown was led by City Councilwoman Teresa Watkins Brown.

During the event, Holloway was interviewed about the $20 million development of the African American Cultural Center. Anticipation is high for this transformative hub, set to enrich, educate and engage, preserving the rich heritage of Southwest Florida’s African-American community. The LCBHS has officially launched the Capital Campaign, welcoming donations to bring this visionary center to life.

For more information information on Lee County Black History Society events email or call 239-332-8778.