Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined citizens and guests on Dec. 12 at the Orange County Regional History Center to kick off the holiday season by lighting up Heritage Square and Wall Street as part of Holiday at Heritage Square.
Holiday at Heritage Square is a free family event, which has become a tradition for many and was created by Orange County Government to light up the heart of downtown Orlando and help local families ring-in the holiday season.
Before the lighting, Mayor Jacobs spoke of the importance of being a part of the community, and how Orange County’s “neighbors helping neighbors” philosophy is put into action during the holidays.
“By being here and supporting this celebration, you are showing that we are a community of caring,” Mayor Jacobs said at the event. “In ways large and small – including our annual Holiday Heroes Toy Drive – Orange County is a place of giving, caring and generosity. Through your presence and support, you are bringing those ideals to life.”
The holiday cheer was widespread throughout the day at the History Center as many guests visited with Santa Claus, enjoyed holiday stories and decorated their own gingerbread cookies. Many guests also brought new, unwrapped presents to donate to Mayor Jacobs’ Holiday Heroes Toy Drive.
Orange County employees and the extended community have contributed greatly to the success of Mayor’s Toy Drive. Since 2011, more than 12,150 toys have been distributed to children up to age 18 through several community organizations, including Wraparound Orange, the Orange County Neighborhood Centers for Families, Orange County Public Schools’ Homeless Program, the American Red Cross and the Community Food and Outreach Center.
The 13th annual Holiday at Heritage Square also featured various student performances, including The Christ School Choir, Great Oaks Village Choir, Howard Middle School Jazz Band, The Citrus Singers and The Notes Trio.
Mayor Jacobs thanked the sponsors of Holiday at Heritage Square, as well as the men and women of Orange County who made this holiday season enjoyable for every citizen.
Visitors may return to the Orange County Regional History Center throughout the year to view some upcoming exciting exhibits. From now until Feb. 21, locals can visit the “100 Years of Hannibal Square: Historic and Contemporary Photographs of West Winter Park” exhibition, which represents the Hannibal Square community throughout the 20th century, along with portraits taken by Peter Schreyer for "The Sage Project: Hannibal Square Elders Tell Their Stories."
Photos from Holiday at Heritage Square may be found on Flickr for use by the media.