In downtown Orlando, the spirit of Christmas is already in the air, even before Thanksgiving arrives. This past Sunday morning, a remarkable and meticulous effort took place as crews, employing cranes, commenced the process of raising the iconic and weighty Jack Kazanzas Star, which weighs a staggering 600 pounds. Now, the star radiantly illuminates the intersection of Orange Avenue and Central Boulevard, bringing joy to all who pass by. For Dee Dee Wagner, this event is not only a spectacle but also a cherished family tradition.
Wagner expressed her delight, stating, “It’s a good way to start the week going into Thanksgiving. We have a contest every year with my son and my niece to see who spots the star first, so I guess I’m going to be the winner this year, and I actually got the video of it going up.” As the star ascends, it signals the commencement of the holiday season, spreading warmth and cheer to all who witness its glory.
The tradition of raising the Jack Kazanzas Star dates back to the 1950s when rival downtown department stores, Ivey’s and Dickson & Ives, collaborated to suspend the star between their establishments above Central Boulevard. In 1984, a lifelong Orlando resident named Jack Kazanzas raised funds to replace the original star, ensuring its perpetuation for generations to come.
The newly installed star has been meticulously rewired with over 4,000 energy-efficient LED lights, enhancing its brilliance and ensuring its longevity. It stands as a poignant symbol, embodying the enchantment of the holiday season. For countless individuals in downtown Orlando, catching a glimpse of the star fills their hearts with the true essence of the holidays, making it an eagerly anticipated event each year.
Among the spectators on that Sunday morning was Thomas O’Connor, who shared his sentiment, saying, “I was proud to see it. They’re putting it up a little early, but it is tradition.” O’Connor’s words capture the sentiment of many who recognize the significance of this annual display.
As the holiday season unfurls, the Jack Kazanzas Star will continue to serve as a radiant beacon, stirring the holiday spirit within all who encounter its mesmerizing glow. Its presence in downtown Orlando represents the unity, joy, and hope that define this time of year. Let the warmth of the holiday season envelop us all as we embrace the traditions that bring us together.
(Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)