A bit of holiday cheer is just what the world needs right now, and Historic Kennett Square is putting together plans to make Kennett Square brighter and more festive than ever for residents and visitors alike.

Historic Kennett Square (HKS) will be bringing back and expanding their popular Christmas in Kennett decorations, which include the tree lights on State Street. The community-based nonprofit will also be adding beautifully designed planters, additional lighting and signage throughout the town and, says HKS Executive Director Bo Wright, “a few surprises.”

“The Kennett community and visitors alike loved our ‘Light Up the Square’ campaign last year, where community members contributed funds to help pay for the installation of Christmas lights on the trees along State Street, and after such a challenging year we know that ‘lighting up the square’ will be appreciated even more this season. Our goal with Christmas in Kennett is to support our local business community by making sure that everyone who comes to Kennett Square over the holidays experiences a safe, attractive, and welcoming place,” says Wright. “We want people to enjoy all that Kennett Square and our award-winning shops and restaurants have to offer so that they’ll keep coming back.”

The expanded Christmas in Kennett plan has been made possible by a generous grant from Longwood Gardens. “We’re very grateful to Longwood Gardens for being our anchor sponsor,” Wright says. “Longwood is not able to offer their traditional shuttle service between the gardens and Kennett Square this year due to COVID restrictions, but they still wanted to give back to the community and support local businesses. Longwood Gardens brings so many benefits to our community, and to our region, and we’re very fortunate to have such a benefactor invested in Kennett Square that shares our vision for the town.”

The integral relationship between the world-famous public garden and the town of Kennett Square has always been strong. “We value our long-standing relationship with Historic Kennett Square,” says Paul Redman, President and CEO of Longwood Gardens, “and are excited to support the many important programs and initiatives that HKS creates to showcase Kennett Square as one of the best small towns in America. Now more than ever, it is important we all work together to ensure that our community’s rich cultural experiences, history, delicious dining, and great shopping continue to thrive.“

“We’re also inviting the community to be part of the Light Up the Square campaign again this year through donations,” Wright says. “The more sponsorship we have, the more lights we can have on display for all to enjoy. The first priority is to repair the lights that were installed last year, and we’ll be adding some additional trees as well.”

Another HKS initiative involves enlisting the help of South Broad Street residents to light the way along this beautiful and historic street that connects State Street and Birch Street for both residents and visitors to enjoy. “We’d love for other streets and neighborhoods throughout Kennett Square to add lights to their outdoor holiday décor,” Wright says.

While the lights will be center stage over the holidays, Wright also emphasizes the ongoing and critical importance of HKS’s “Kennett Cares” messaging. “This season,” he says, “it’s all about safe options. Every small business owner cares a great deal about their customers and is offering safe options to meet every comfort level. Restaurants are committed not only to offering outdoor dining as long as possible, but also to safely hosting guests inside restaurants and offering take-out too. We’re working with restaurant owners and the Borough to find the best solutions for the winter months.” Similarly, he says, Kennett Square retailers are offering shoppers options including curbside pick-up, local delivery, and online shopping in addition to maintaining best-practice safety protocols for in-store, in-person shopping experiences. “Shoppers won’t find these customized options or unique, one-of-a-kind gifts in chain stores, malls, or online,” Wright says. “Shopping small makes sense for even more reasons than usual this year.”

Kennett Square’s historic buildings and tree-lined streets are the perfect canvas for holiday décor, Wright says. “As we head into the holiday season and the darker winter months, we know how important a cheerful public space will be for our community and businesses. At the end of this difficult year, we’re looking forward to celebrating the beauty of the season together.”