Experience an old-fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek in Kissimmee.
Pioneer Village is a collection of buildings that tell the story of Osceola County’s early settlers from the 1880s to early 1900s. In addition to three original family homes, the village includes a schoolhouse, church, general store, train depot, citrus packing plant, Seminole settlement, and cow camp.
To celebrate the holidays, the buildings are decorated with Christmas trees, handmade ornaments, wreaths, and seasonal greenery and fruits that were often used as decorations during the pioneer period. Christmas trees during that time were not the big spruce or fir trees we use today; the Osceola County pioneer families would have used what was available at the time – a scraggly Florida scrub pine.
Osceola History will present Christmas at Pioneer Village on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. See the village decorated for the holidays while enjoying music, storytelling, games, and craft activities for children, and a visit with Santa. Children will receive “pioneer bucks” for shopping in the General Store.
Christmas Event Admission Special: Adults $8 + free admission for two children ages 4-12. All children under 4 admitted free.
Pioneer Village is located at 2491 Babb Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746. The village is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children (4-12), and free for children under 4. Shingle Creek Regional Park surrounds the village and offers walking and biking trails, kayaking, picnic areas, and a playground.
Osceola History presents Living History Day on the second Saturday of each month featuring pioneer life demonstrations and monthly themed activities.
For more information about Christmas at Pioneer Village, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-396-8644, ext. 3.
Cadman Family Christmas
The Cadman family moved from Hampstead, England, to Narcoossee (located in what is now Osceola County, Florida) in 1888. The family referred to their home, which is on display at Pioneer Village, as “The Bungalow.”
The family brought with them many of their English customs and enjoyed entertaining and celebrating the holidays. A Christmas Eve dinner at The Bungalow seems to have been an annual social gathering. An article in The Osceola News on the 1889 party describes The Bungalow as “the well-known hospitable seat of Col. and Mrs. Cadman.” Musical entertainment at the schoolhouse came first, then 48 invited guests enjoyed an evening at the Cadman home. The newspaper reported:
“The dining room with its rows of burdened tables, swinging Chinese lanterns, tufts of gaily colored bunting, a lavish sprinkling of the time-honored Holly and other seasonable evergreens (not to omit the seductive mistletoe) presented a peculiarly fascinating scene. . . Above the head of the table, typical of the evening, drooped in friendly rivalry the flaunting national neckties of those two good old buffers, John Bull and Uncle Sam. While between them gracefully nodded an ingenious imitation [sic] of the feathery emblem of the Prince of Wales, composed of the waving plumes of Pampa grass . . . As is usually the proverbial effect of good cheer soon gave themselves vent in words, and Mr. Grinstead opening the verbal ball with a brief request that the healths of Col and Mrs. Cadman, be drank with musical honors, a request, which needless to say, was most enthusiastically and vociferously acceded to in brimming bumpers of excellent champagne.”
Visitors to Pioneer Village can tour the original Cadman family home, which during the holidays features seasonal greenery, Chinese lanterns, and the Union Jack flag in the dining room. Pioneer Village also includes the Cadman kitchen building, the Bachelors Quarters (where the three Cadman sons slept), and an original citrus packing plant used in the Cadman family’s citrus business.