Twinkling lights shine down Main Street, outlining shops and restaurants. Locally owned boutiques have brought back the magic of window shopping, each adorned with festive displays featuring Christmas trees, glittering ornaments and hues of silver and gold. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Dunedin.Dunedin, Florida welcome sign decorated with holiday wreath

Photo via Instagram @DunedinDaily

Of all the fun local traditions, one of our favorites is the annual holiday decorating lamp post contest. The contest is run by the city of Dunedin and entrants are given a designated lamp post to decorate in a holiday theme. Restaurants, shops, churches and organizations from all over Dunedin, Florida participate and the winning lamp post is announced during the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 14.

Lamp Post on Main Street in Dunedin, Florida decorated with Patriotic Cheer, American Flags and Red, White and Blue Planes

The lamp post outside of Café Alfresco on 344 Main Street was decorated by volunteers from American Legion Post 275, including our own long-time server, Jill Meyer. Their decorated lamp post features a beautiful patriotic theme to honor those who serve in our military and to spread awareness of a charitable program for veterans called Honor Flight.

American Legion Post 275 in Dunedin, Florida

American Legion Post 275 Volunteers with their decorated lamp post.

Photo via Facebook

Honor Flight is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices by transporting veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit their memorials.

Honor Flight of West Central Florida is the local chapter, located in St. Petersburg, Florida. At no cost to veterans, they provide one day trips to Washington, D.C., from the St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport. With a long list of veterans waiting for their turn, priority is given to WWII veterans and those that are terminally ill. Honor Flight of West Central Florida receives no government funding; all funding for Honor Flights is provided through charitable donations.

There is no question, Post 275’s decorated lamp post will draw attention and awareness to their cause. American flags catch your eye immediately, followed by inflatable red, white and blue airplanes and ornaments representing each branch of the armed forces. Pause for a moment and take a closer look. You’ll notice toy soldiers with a special message, “Please take a soldier home and place it somewhere that will remind you to pray for those who serve our country.” Don’t be shy, take one for you and a friend. Volunteers will be replenishing with more toy soldiers as needed throughout the holiday season. Children especially will enjoy seeing the toy soldiers and taking one home.

Small toy soldier with special prayer for US Troops

It’s easy to forget history and take freedom for granted but it’s imperative we don’t. That’s what makes Post 275’s lamp post so special. You can’t help but feel a sense of pride, togetherness and gratitude – needed now more than ever before. If we at Café Alfresco had any say in the matter, it’s clear we’d choose the American Legion Post 275’s lamp post as the winner. But since we don’t have control over who wins, we hope you’ll help us get their message out about Honor Flight and remembering our service members.

Visit the lamp post, read up on ways you can get involved, take pictures and share them with your family and friends.

Learn More about Dunedin’s American Legion Post 275 (located at 360 Wilson St. and next to the Pinellas Trail) by visiting their Facebook page.