850 Strong Christmas Concert

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 10:56 PM CST
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The sounds of music, can uplift spirits even during hard times.

“We have to find hope in the midst every day of our lives,” Lynn Haven City Manager Vickie Gainer, said. “Not just at Christmas time... but this surely is a special time,”

2022 marks the fifth year WJHG has partnered with the City of Lynn Haven for the 850 Strong Christmas Concert.

It was started in 2018 after Hurricane Michael when NewsChannel 7′s Neysa Wilkins thought to ask if we could put on a concert with local talent.

“We got the entire station involved we got the community involved,” Wilkins said. “We contacted the city of Lynn Haven, and they were all in and wanted to have the tree lighting that same night. Every year since then they have called and said are we still having the concert after the tree lighting. This is the fifth year we have done it and it has grown and grown and grown.”

The Lynn Haven Police Chief said after the storm the community was devastated. Residents lost homes, belongings, and more.

But opening Sharon Sheffield Park for events brought hope to a community going through so much.

“The city staff and the commission at the time thought it was a good idea to get this park open as fast as we could. We were able to host our Halloween event right after the storm and then this one. To give hope and show we were resilient after the storm,” Chief Ricky Ramie said.

While the Lynn Haven community continues to be resilient, they are also still rebuilding buildings and parks damaged by the storm.

“Hopefully next year about this time we will be in our city hall. Our sports complex totally finished. Our ball fields will be finished and many of the buildings that were damaged will be finished as well,” Gainer said.

The 850 Strong Christmas Concerteven now sparks joy in this community, and hopefully, this tradition continues for years to come.