The annual Orlando tradition of raising the Jack Kazanzas Star over Orange Avenue has just taken place, marking the official start of the holiday season in downtown Orlando.
The raising of the 600-pound light-up star has been taking place since the 1950s, when two competing department stores, Ivey’s and Dickson and Ives, would join together to celebrate Christmas by stringing the star between both of their buildings at Central and Orange.
In 1984, the star had fallen into disrepair, and lifelong resident Jack Kazanzas, rallied the city to raise funds and replace it with a new installation that features 4,000 LED lights.
Traditionally, the star is raised after Thanksgiving, but City Hall must have felt the need to bring some holiday cheer downtown a little earlier this year. City District Main Street lit its Christmas tree last week and Ivanhoe Village flipped the switch on its Happy Holiday Sign on the historic OUC building for Jingle Eve.