The magic of Christmas can be captured in many ways. But none are as endearing as the tradition of gathering around a warm fire, sipping on hot cocoa and listening to traditional Christmas stories.
Add the whimsical, animated storytelling of a seasoned raconteur, one who not only narrates the tales we love but who also has a unique ability to pull the listener into the magic, and you've got the traditional heart and soul of Christmas.
Sweetfields Farm in southern Hernando County is no stranger to magical experiences for visitors to their farm. Each year they coordinate seasonal memories that are crafted around the spring and fall harvests. The events open windows into typical life on the farm for those who might never experience it otherwise.
Owners Ted and Lisa Kessel are true farmers whose passion for their farm is infectious. They harvest organic produce and host sunflower mazes and pumpkin patches during their spring and fall festivals. They also cater to school field trips throughout the year.
But this year, the popular farm is launching a brand new experience for the Christmas season with an evening of enchanted storytelling and music, hosted by Hernando County favorite, Jerry Crowling, and musician, Jonathon Widger.
Crowling has performed at various events, including Market on Main Street and for visitors to the public libraries, to name only a few. But this will be his first Christmas storytelling at Sweetfields Farm.
The event will take place starting at 7 p.m. Saturday on the bottom floor of the newly built barn, in front of a wood burning fireplace.
In addition to Crowling's storytelling presentation, Widger will provide Christmas songs with his guitar and violin.
"We will start out with three Christmas carols," Crowling said, "and I'll tell six or so stories." After and intermission of drinks and refreshments, the second half will begin.
"He will then accompany me with a sing-a-long version of the Twelve Days of Christmas with sound effects," Crowling added.
We've always wanted to do Christmas events here on the farm," said Ted Kessel. "Jerry approached us and wanted to share his storytelling event."
"He's been telling stories to our family for years," Lisa Kessel added. "We've sort of adopted him."
The Kessels met Crowling years ago when he performed his storytelling magic at a bed and breakfast on Liberty Street in downtown Brooksville.
"He is not just telling stories," Lisa Kessel said. "He is a very talented man. He is a writer and he also performs."
In fact, Jerry Crowling will also have copies of his book available for purchase at the event.
Tickets are available at a cost of $8 for adults and $4 for children. Reservations are required by calling Sweetfields Farm, (352) 279-0977, since seating is limited.
Depending on the response, Lisa said they may add an additional night before the season is over.
Sweetfields Farm is located at 17250 Benes Roush Rd.; Masaryktown.