Christmas in the Park
The Orange County Retired Educators Association will meet Thursday, Dec. 1, at 10 a.m. at College Park United Methodist Church on 644 W. Princeton St. for a “Sounds of the Season” concert by Lake Nona and Apopka high schools. Anyone who has worked in education is invited to join. For more information, call 407-677-0446.
Take in the holiday season at the 38th annual Christmas in the Park from 6:15 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1 in Central Park. The city of Winter Park and The Morse Museum will present the 38th annual lighting of century-old Tiffany windows in with a free outdoor concert of holiday favorites by the Bach Festival Society Choir and Brass Ensemble.
Come enjoy the decorated Leu House at night on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Harry P. Leu Gardens. Join Albert Pfeiffer, a former Leu House curator, as he discusses the connections the people who occupied the house had to each other, their associations to Orlando's history, the unique characteristics of the house itself and some interesting coincidences. The class will then walk to the house to enjoy the Christmas decorations. Space is limited, so please register early at leugardens.org
Holiday on the Drive will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. on Edgewater Drive between Smith Street and Clayton Street. The College Park Partnership Main Streets District is inviting locals to this festive event for a night of live music, Christmas tree lighting and an appearance by Santa Claus.
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the city of Winter Park are proud to host “Winter on the Avenue,” a kickoff to the holiday season presented by Westminster Winter Park at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. The holiday street party will include a flurry of activities from 5 to 10 p.m. along Park Avenue and in Central Park. The annual tree lighting ceremony will be broadcast live at 5:15 p.m. on WFTV Channel 9, and will include performances by children’s choirs, and children’s activities. Bring the entire family for a night of holiday cheer to this free event!
Popcorn Flicks in the Park continues with a free screening of "The Santa Clause" as part of Winter on the Avenue from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, in Winter Park’s Central Park. Presented by Winter Park CRA and produced by Enzian Theater, this film series features classic films for the whole family. Bring a blanket, a picnic or snacks, and some family and friends! There will be free popcorn for everyone. For more information, call 407-629-0054.
Orlando’s annual Tree Lighting Celebration will be on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. The festivities begin at 5 p.m., and the 72-foot tall Christmas tree will be lit at 7 p.m. There will also be live music by Trinity Lutheran School students and Encore! Cast Performing Arts during the holiday event.
Winter Park’s 64th annual “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade marches down Park Avenue at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the 64th annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade is Central Florida’s longest running Christmas Parade. Watch as participants continue the tradition of marching down historic Park Avenue spreading holiday cheer in downtown Winter Park. More than 100 bands, dance troupes, floats, local dignitaries and, of course, Santa Claus, will delight the young and young-at-heart. For more information, call 407-644-8281.
The 18th annual Leadership Winter Park Pancake Breakfast goes from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, in Central Park, presented by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Winter Park Class 27. Enjoy hot pancakes, sausage and beverages before or after the annual Christmas parade. Cost is $4 to $6 and proceeds benefit local elementary schools. For more information, call 407-644-8281.
The sixth annual Old School Dance Fundraiser presented by Friends of the Welbourne Committee and Board will run from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Winter Park Community Center, located at 721 W. New England Ave. Loosen up for the dance contest to DJ Gemini, and wear your most fun sweater for the sweater contest! All proceeds will benefit Welbourne Day Nursery in educating children for a better tomorrow. Deadline for tickets is Nov. 26. Cost is $25.
The city of Maitland is pleased to announce Season of Light, a Maitland holiday tradition. The celebration will take place at Lake Lily Park beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. Come out for fun, music, a snow slide, and fireworks.
The Off the Beaten Path Florida Arts Tour makes its debut in Seminole County Dec. 3-4. This self-guided tour of Seminole County artists' studios comprises 10 studios, 28 artists, three cultural institutions, and tour stops in Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, and Winter Springs. Among the Seminole County cultural institutions are the Casselberry Art House, the Art of Healing Gallery at Florida Hospital Altamonte Springs, and the Sanford Welcome Center. Each of these galleries will be open and the exhibits free to visitors. Seminole County studio guide maps are available now at the Casselberry Art House or at any of the tour locations during event weekend. For a full list of participating artists and cultural institutions, please visit the tour website at FloridaArtsTour.com
Downtown South officially announces the kick off to the holiday season with the fourth annual Light Up SoDo presented by the new Orlando Orthopaedic Center Walk-In Clinic. The tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at SODO shopping center, located on South Orange Avenue between Grant and Crystal Lake streets. This year’s all-ages, family-friendly Light Up SoDo festival has a “naughty and nice” theme. The Main Street festival will feature Santa arriving with Fire Engine 5, princesses, a pop-up holiday market, beer garden, Red Bull DJ, aerial yoga, train rides, wreath making, and performances by local school choirs from The Christ School, Boone, and Delaney Baptist. The event will close with the spectacular lighting of “Main Street,” including a new 20-foot Christmas tree at the center of SODO. Visit downtownsouthorlando.org
On Dec. 4, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Symphonic Orchestra will help you kick off your holidays with “Sounds of the Season.” This concert will bring everyone together for an afternoon picnic accompanied by an array of holiday classical pieces and exciting collaborations with local arts organizations and American operatic tenor, Ben Gulley. The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at the The Grove at Mead Botanical Gardens, located at 1500 S. Denning Drive in Winter Park. Tickets range from $10 to $20, and can be purchased at fsyo.org. As always, teachers receive free admission to this and all FSYO events.
Combine outdoor exercise with giving back at Tough Biker Orlando’s Holiday Dash at Lake Druid Bike Park. This is the nonprofit’s fifth urban, crit-style mountain/cyclocross bike challenge. The event will be on Sunday, Dec. 4, and will commence at 9 a.m. at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall. The route will wind through Cady Way Trail and conclude at MTB Trail Park. Registration is $30 for those 12 and older, and proceeds benefit charities that assist at-risk youth in Central Florida. Participants 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, visit toughbiker.com
In order to further discuss feedback for revisions to the adopted 2009 Comprehensive Plan, the city of Winter Park will be hosting another meeting for community members to attend to review and give responses to this plan. The CoffeeTalk will be on Monday, Dec. 5 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. For more information about elements of the proposed Comprehensive Plan, drafts and revisions, visit cityofwinterpark.org/comp-plan
A city blood drive will be on Monday, Dec. 5 at Winter Park City Hall from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. To donate, one must be at least 16 years old and weigh 110 pounds, and be in good health. All donors must bring a photo ID. For more information, call 407-599-3506.
Come celebrate the holidays with Christmas at the Casa on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. This festive event is free, but there is a suggested donation of $2 per person or $5 per family. Families can take professional photos with Santa for $5, as well. The seventh annual holiday open house is sponsored by the Commerce National Bank and Trust in Winter Park. For additional details, call 407-628-8196.
The Winter Park Garden Club is proud to present “Fun with Flowers” on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m. Emily Bader and Cathy Bowers will demonstrate how to make a candleholder with greenery, flowers and topped with a beautiful bow. Admission is $25 and is due by Monday, Dec. 5. The class is limited to 20 participants. Bring clippers. For more information, call 407-644-5770.
A Classic Christmas celebration will be on Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Knowles Memorial Chapel, located at 1000 Holt Ave. Guests can enjoy Christmas songs performed by the Bach Festival Choir, Youth Choir and Orchestra from $25 to $65.
The Winter Spark in Baldwin Park Parade & Festival will be on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 4 to 9 p.m., with the parade at 6 p.m. More information is available at baldwinparkevents.com
The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, will be Saturday, Dec. 10, at Harbor Park. Day of registration/check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. with a race start at 8:30 a.m. Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. Run or walk a 5-kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. For more information or to register, visit http://bit.ly/JingleBellOrlando
Join Writer’s Block Bookstore, located at 124 E. Welbourne Ave., for a presentation with award winning Florida novelist Larry Baker at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. He will be doing a talk on "White Privilege and Cultural Appropriation - The Obligation of Fiction," discussing how a writer’s personal racial history combines with the facts of American racial history to produce fiction. For more information, call 407-335-4192.
Ring in the holiday season with Santa’s Parade on Dec. 10 presented by the Maitland Police Department. The time and route will be available on itsmymaitland.com. For more information, follow Maitland’s Facebook at facebook.com/itsmymaitland
RDV Sportsplex will present its inaugural Jingle Run on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 a.m. to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Participants can register online at RDVJingleRun.com through Dec. 6 for $30 or on race day for $35. Those running are encouraged to wear jingle bells and holiday garb to get in the spirit of the season. The race will be held at the RDV Sportsplex, 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd. in Orlando. For details, contact Betsy Owens at [email protected] or 407-841-6855.
Continuing a nine-year tradition of reaching out to the needy in our community, the Winter Park Sunday Running Group will be collecting food for The Second Harvest Food Bank. The main collection effort will take place in Winter Park on Sunday, Dec. 11, beginning at 6:30 a.m., prior to the Sunday Running Group’s weekly 7 a.m. run (which meets at Park Avenue and Welbourne Avenue). All runners and walkers are encouraged to join them that morning to demonstrate their solidarity with the needy in our community. Participants also are invited to join the group for breakfast at the Park Avenue Panera Bread afterwards. Here is a list of what Second Harvest most needs: meat in a can, canned vegetables, nonfat dry milk, canned soup, oatmeal, pasta/macaroni, canned meats/poultry, canned and dried fruits, evaporated milk, rice, drinks, beef, canned tuna, stew, nutritional drinks, baby food, dry beans. For more information, contact Jack Gallagher at 407-647-3521 or email [email protected]
The Maitland Symphony Orchestra performs its holiday concert, “A Russian Christmas,” at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, at Maitland Presbyterian Church, located at 341 N. Orlando Ave. in Maitland. Under the direction of Artistic Director Eric Mendez, you will hear selections from “The Nutcracker” and many other holiday favorites. Scott Maxwell and MSO Founder Margaret Patten will co-emcee this exciting event. The event is free. Call 321-303-1404 for details.
You are invited on a live nativity journey through nine scenes depicting events surrounding the birth of Jesus on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd, located at 331 Lake Ave. in Maitland. Admission is free! For more information, call 407-644-5350 or visit GoodShepherdMaitland.com
Local vocalist and performer Cami Miller will premiere her holiday solo cabaret “Merry Christmas With Love” on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Winter Park Playhouse Spotlight Cabaret Series. Playhouse Music Director Christopher Leavy will accompany the performance on the piano. General admission tickets are $20, plus a one-drink minimum. Once those are sold out, there will be a limited number of standing-room-only tickets available for $10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Call the Winter Park Playhouse box office for tickets at 407-645-0145 or purchase online at winterparkplayhouse.org
Kick off the winter season with ice skating and real snow during RDV Snow Fest on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. at RDV Sportsplex Ice Den. Admission is $15 for ages 3 and up and includes four hours of ice skating, real snow to play in, a snow slide for kids, bounce houses, face painting and plenty of family fun. Hot chocolate and other food and beverages will be available for purchase. For more information, call 407-916-2550.
Enjoy the rich sounds of Christmas as tuba, euphonium, sousaphone and baritone players of all ages gather to perform the annual free Merry Tuba Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Central Park from the main stage beginning at 1 p.m. Registration is $10 for musicians and begins at 9 a.m., with rehearsal running from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, please call 407-599-3463.
Chill out at the Roth Family JCC with some wintertime fun from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Dec. 19 to 30 at 851 N. Maitland Ave. in Maitland. Your kids will enjoy fun activities with specialty camp providers, awesome counselors, and exciting field trips at the winter edition of Camp J! The cost for Day at the J days are $50 ($40 JCC members) and field trip days are $60 ($50 JCC members). For more information, contact Amanda Dennis at 407-621-4049 or [email protected] or by visiting orlandojcc.org
Get Your Jazz On runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, at the Alfond Inn, located at 300 E. New England Ave. Come enjoy a live jazz concert under the stars with unlimited select wine, champagne, beer, spirits and seasonal blended cocktails, roasted chicken, smoked pig, vegetarian selection, cigars and valet parking included with purchase. Tickets are $45. For more information, visit thealfondinn.com/the-hotel/upcoming-events/
Visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on Saturday, Dec. 24 for the Christmas Eve Open House from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be live music by the Raintree Chamber Players from 1 to 4 p.m. A variety of galleries will be available for viewing all day as well, including works by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Join a Chanukah family festival featuring a Grand Menorah Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in Winter Park’s Central Park. The night will include singing performances by children from the Jewish Community Center, and Jewish Academy, Jewish Rock music and dreidels, chocolate Chanukah gelt, Chassidic dancers, clowns, face painting, light show, comedian ventriloquist and a $1,000 grand prize raffle drawing. Food items will include hot dogs, donuts, chips and drinks.
The 10th annual Russell Athletic Bowl Parade of Bands will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 28, to celebrate school bands from ACC and Big 12 teams. To introduce the Russell Athletic Bowl game at 5:30 p.m. at the Orlando Camping World Stadium, the school bands, cheerleaders and mascots will march through downtown Winter Park and perform a “Bandtastic Game Day Preview.” The event will begin at 11 a.m. and is free. For more information, call 407-599-3463.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME features artists who redefine the word “extreme” in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining them with never-before-seen spectacles, original fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments. The multi-year tour offers extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience. Tickets available now for shows Jan. 12 to 16 in Orlando at the Amway Center. Children age 2 by the date of the show and older will require a ticket. The cost of tickets range from $18 to $85. For more information, visit amwaycenter.com
It’s a Christmas spectacular on New Broad Street! The McBride family in Baldwin Park is happy to present its annual light show at their home at 4564 New Broad St. – this year with 30,000 lights. The family is collecting donations – and matching the amount raised by 100 percent – to donate to Audubon Cares, which is an effort by the Audubon Park Elementary School PTA to help students in need at APES and other schools in the greater Orlando community. The display is complete with a snow machine running on Saturday nights, and hot cocoa and cookies for sale on select nights.
Running through Sunday, Jan. 8, the city of Winter Park will host Winter in the Park, the city’s annual holiday ice skating rink at Central Park West Meadow on the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard. Winter in the Park will be open Monday through Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. See website for extended school holiday hours. All-day admission is $12 and includes skate rentals. Group discounts are available for 20 or more people. Rental options are available, though reservations are required for private parties. For more information, call 407-599-3203 or visit cityofwinterpark.org/witp
The Florida Blue Center at 434 N. Orlando Ave. in Winter Park has several ongoing classes. Tai Chi classes are every Monday at 3:30 p.m. Zumba classes are every Wednesday at 6 p.m. For more information, call 407-441-2020.