This December, take a look back at these milestones in The City Beautiful’s history.
December is a festive time of year that brings families together to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, all within the same couple of weeks. Specific to Orlando, however, there’s even more history to commemorate this final month of the year.
Orange County Convention Center Milestones
The Orange County Convention Center is widely known throughout Orlando for hosting regional, national and international conventions as well as meetings and trade shows throughout the year. While Orlando was marketed as a convention destination beginning in 1969, it wasn’t until 1983 that the facility (then called Orange County Convention & Civic Center) officially opened with a concert by The Boston Pops. In December 1990, Phase IIA was completed, adding 100,000 square feet that increased the lobby and registration areas as well as 5,000 square feet of office space. Two years later, in December 1992, “civic” was dropped from the name, ultimately making it the Orange County Convention Center. Now, OCCC attracts more than 230 events and 2.4 million attendees each year.
The Candlelight Processional Comes To Disney World
Trumpets, violins, a choir – these musical masterpieces are just part of what makes up Disney’s Candlelight Processional, which dates back to 1958 at Disneyland. It wasn’t until Dec. 18-19, 1971 that the Christmas affair was brought to Florida. Rock Hudson was the very first narrator of the Disney World event that was held on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street. It wasn’t until December 1993 that the procession moved to the American Gardens Theatre in Epcot, where it has been held every year since. This year, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Sajak and John Stamos, among other celebrities, will narrate the story of Christmas as a 50-piece orchestra and choir perform holiday favorites on select nights through Dec. 30.
The Winter Park Christmas Parade Kicks Off
In December 1952, the city of Winter Park created a Christmas tradition that has lasted through the decades. For the past 66 years, the Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade has traveled down Park Avenue, lighting up the hearts of children, elders and everyone in between. This wintertime celebration is the longest-running Christmas parade in Central Florida. Over 80 organizations come together to put on the festivity, including school marching bands as well as local police officials and fire stations. In true Christmas spirit, the most exciting celebrity of them all to march down Winter Park is Santa Claus. Before the parade commences, guests can enjoy a pancake breakfast offered by Leadership Winter Park.