SPRING HILL — Ten new participants will be flying angels among the trees when the Spring Hill Community Association opens its Angels on High holiday event this evening on the wooded landscape of the Lake House.
"We're expecting about 40 (angels)," said association chairman Ed Lawrence. "That's a good number."
Although not a record, Lawrence noted that last year's display numbered 32 sparkling or twinkling "life-size" angel cut-outs.
Angels on High returned in 2011 after a one-year hiatus, pared out of the association's activities due to a lack of volunteers and money.
"At this point," Lawrence said earlier this week, "we have quite a few volunteers, about 40 different people" to staff the event in shifts. Still, it would require more bodies if the association were to re-establish the offering for a week's run, he pointed out.
"Something new this year," the chairman said, "we're including a dozen craft vendors (selling) candles, jewelry, crochet, ornaments, cosmetics."
In addition to the traditional menu of hot chocolate, coffee, baked goods, soft drinks and water, refreshments available inside the Lake House will include hot dogs.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting with children.
Visitors will be asked to cast votes for their favorite angels in several categories: businesses, individuals, clubs, churches, nonprofit groups and schools.
"Schools usually do well in the judging," and 11 are entered this year, Lawrence said. "East Side Elementary is a repeat winner."
Ballots help determine the number of visitors, but not all viewers who stroll the lighted, mulched paths vote. Thus, the best estimate of attendance over three nights last year was 3,000, Lawrence said.
The Lake House custodian and another worker hired for the event have been prepping the angels this week and will string them from the trees in time for the flip of the switch this evening.
Entertainers — music and dance — will take to the stage nightly, and Christmas carols and songs will ring throughout the property.
Country Club Cars of Spring Hill is donating carts for free rides through the display for visitors with disabilities.
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.