Culture Worthy of Your Calendar: It’s the HOLIDAZE!

by Josh Garrick / Nov 29, 2010 / 0 comments

Culture Worthy of Your Calendar: It’s the HOLIDAZE! by Josh Garrick


History Center Holiday at Heritage Square
Children from Grand Avenue Elementary School will begin the entertainment on Wednesday, December 1 at 5:30 pm, as the Orange County History Center invites friends and families to its “tree-lighting” Holiday Celebration. At sundown (6 pm) Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty will flip the switch to light Heritage Square, and following the lighting, guests are invited into the History Center for a FREE evening with music by the Voices of Valencia, refreshments by Java Lava, and a visit with Santa. Visitors may decorate cookies, make holiday crafts, and more. Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Food Bank.  The History Center is at 65 East Central Boulevard in the historic 1927 courthouse. Call 407.836. 7010 or visit



Dickens’ Ghostly Christmas Carol
The Charles Dickens’ holiday classic A Christmas Carol, comes to life on-stage at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden from December 3rd to the 19th.  Produced by Beth Marshall and directed by Central Florida’s most inventive director John DiDonna, this unique adaptation of the classic Dickens’ tale is one of the largest productions in Garden Theatre history with a cast and crew of over 50 people. The Holiday classic ushers in the season and the sprit (or – in this case – three spirits) of Christmas featuring film and television personality Dennis Neal as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.  Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve and awakens the next day a changed man. Neal, whose credits include appearances on ABC's The Practice and NBC's The West Wing, will make his Garden Theatre premiere with this performance. The Garden Theatre is at 160 West Plant Street in Winter Garden.  Call 407.877. 4736 or visit






A Christmas Carol



America’s Piano Showman
The renowned Christian pianist/entertainer Dino Kartsonakis begins a limited run of his Christmas Extravaganza on December 3 in Winter Park. This spectacular show is a cross between the high-kicks of Radio City Music Hall, the family fun of the Nutcracker Ballet, and the rhinestone-studded glitz of a Liberace concert – complete with crystal-studded piano. Add dynamic lighting and dancer/singers who come together with Dino and his wife Cheryl, to perform every Holiday-inspired carol you can think of. This inspiring Holiday show is one highlight after another with Dino and company always retaining reverence for the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas.  Performances take place at Calvary Assembly Church at 1199 Clay Street in Winter Park.  Visit or call 407.644.1199.


Dino and Cheryl Kontsonakis


Dino Kontsonakis


Dino Kontsonakis



Ice and snow may be in short supply everywhere in Central Florida EXCEPT at Gaylord Palms Resort where 2 million pounds of ice has been carved into amazing holiday sculptures.  This year, the displays bring the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to life. It’s naturally freezing in there, so the hotel supplies comfy down parkas with each ticket allowing guests to play in 40 tons of real snow with games, (real) snowballs and seasonal treats such as snowberries, snow cones and roasted chestnuts. While visiting ICE!, save time to walk around the resort, which is decked out in its holiday finest with a 54-foot tree and visits from Santa.  The Gaylord Palms “Best of Florida Christmas Celebration” is offered through January 2.  Call 407.586.4ICE or 407.586.2000







A Wonderland of Lights
From the comfort of your car, your little ones will be wide-eyed as they marvel at the millions of twinkling lights creating more than 100 larger-than-life Holiday scenes as you drive through the new Wonderland of Lights at Osceola Heritage Park. This Holiday attraction, unique to Kissimmee, offers lighted palm trees, a cowboy, the 12 Days of Christmas, Rudolph, Santa, a Western saloon and much more. Tickets are $20 per carload (so you can pile in the neighbor kids) and include a 20-minute drive through the 120-acre OHP complex, listening to holiday music. Visitors may visit Santa’s Village, have their picture taken, try skating on real ice (extra fee), and enjoy hot chocolate. Wonderland of Lights is available from dusk to 10 pm through January 9.  Call 321.697.3333.



Fine Art as a Christmas Gift
Each year the Artists who make up that bee-hive of artistic activity known as McRae Studios open their studios for their annual Holiday Open House and Sale. The event is a highlight of the season and a great chance to see inside a working art studio complex. It is also a time when the Artists bring out ALL of their work – much of it at bargain prices making an original piece of art affordable to own … or to give as a very special Holiday gift. The Studios will be open on Saturday December 4th from 4 pm to 9 pm.  McRae Art Studios is at 904 Railroad Avenue in Winter Park. Call 407.599.9956 or visit


McRae Art Studios



And Not to be Missed …



Young Frankenstein is the hilarious Broadway musical from the comic genius Mel Brooks playing at the Bob Carr through December 5. For an evening of twisted humor and tuneful Broadway fun call 800.982.2787 or 407.423.9999 

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Holiday offering is called Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas. This family-friendly musical comedy takes us back to 1944 and the heyday of singing cowboys. Now through December 26. Call 407.447.1700 or visit

Ancient Greece in Pictures
- The black and white photographs by Josh Garrick at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach are on display through January 11. Visit or call 407.522.3906

The Mennello Museum presents two Fine Art/Master-Teachers of Central Florida. Maury Hurt and Grady Kimsey have taught, and influenced Florida artists for over 40 years. On exhibit through January 30. Call 407.246.4278 or visit

Guests of the Orlando Science Center may explore the fine art of ‘mechanical music’ through displays of antique music boxes at The World of Mechanical Music through January 9. Call 407.514.2000 or visit 

Mad Cow Theatre presents the most famous of the Restoration Comedies – She Stoops to Conquer now through December 19.  Call 407.297.8788 or visit

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators