Christmas in the Park at Kay Cee Gardens set to open Friday night

December 2, 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells

People who have lived in Orangeville for just a few years, or for much longer, know that with Christmas comes a tradition that many families have worked into their own holiday activities each year.

Already a beautiful and popular park throughout the rest of the year, Kay Cee Gardens is transformed into a magical winter Wonderland in December as the Orangeville Optimist Club puts together Christmas in the Park. Beautiful coloured lights, displays and artistic stands of favourite Christmas characters cover the park and line the pathways, bringing out joy and laughter in all its visitors.

“I guess you could say we’re a club full of tinkerers,” Derek Bennett, Director of the Orangeville Optimist Club, said in a previous interview with the Citizen. “We like building and expanding on things, so now we proba- bly couldn’t stop it [Christmas in the Park] if we wanted to. The community expectation is there, it’s kind of become a staple in the community. Without it, I think our community would be let down.”

The Optimist Club is a non-profit organization within the community that focuses on different ways to serve the community.

“What we do is we are very involved community wise, so we do projects, we do events, and this is just our way of giving back – this is our way of doing something special,” said Mr. Bennett. “It’s a non-profit event, but we’re very community based and very family and traditional based when it comes to values.”

The park’s Grand Opening and Lighting Ceremony will be held tomorrow night (Friday, December 4), from 7 to 10 p.m. and will include performances by local talents, musicians and choirs, including the Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers (T.O.Y.S.) and a performance by the princesses at The Land of the Glass Slipper.

It will also feature a favourite added two years ago — hot chocolate and hot apply cider served by Orangeville Scouts.

According to Mr. Bennett, Santa Claus will also be making an appearance at the opening ceremony, to help kick off Christmas in the Park with the simultaneous lighting of all the lights and some photo opportunities with the jolly man in red.

Throughout the month, the excitement will continue as different acts, performers and musicians will provide entertainment during the evenings.
“Before you would walk through the park, see the different displays and leave,” said Mr. Bennett.

“Now there’s some added reason, especially with the vendors. People can buy hot chocolate or hot cider, grab a bite to eat, things like that to make it a little more seasonal.”

Throughout the month, the capability to run the park is based largely on volunteers, and a donation box is set out to help with the costs of the event each year.

The Town of Orangeville and Orangeville Hydro assist in getting the park set up and ready, and different community, religious groups and volunteers assist with set up, tear down and security.

While the park is already pet-friendly year-round, Mr. Bennett explained that bringing your family pets to Christmas in the Park is encouraged.

One request the Optimist Club has made for the last couple of years is that people visiting the park do not use the parking lot at the Bythia Street Senior Centre, as the centre will be running multiple events throughout the month and will need parking for their own patrons.

“Parking is encouraged at the new County of Dufferin Building (the old bowling alley) on Centre Street,” said Mr. Bennett. “It’s just a one-minute walk down to the park, because the seniors through that time have a lot of events going on, so if we take the parking from their guests it really causes a logistical nightmare.”

The park will be open nightly from December 5 to 31, from 5:30 to 10 p.m., weather permitting (rainy nights will lead to early closure).

The event schedule for the opening night, sponsored by Meridian Credit Union is:

• 6:30 p.m.: Park Opens. myFM 101.5 Street Team: Bythia St. Entrance; LIFE 100.3 Street Team: John St. Entrance; BBQ Bandwagon – Mobile BBQ Meals: John St. Entrance.
• 7:00 p.m.: Hot Chocolate & Apple Cider (Orangeville Scouts): Pergola; Peruvian Alpacas: Bythia St. Entrance; Speeches / Park Lighting Countdown: Pergola.
• 7:15 p.m.: Photos with Santa Claus: Gazebo; Sweet Adelines Orangeville Chorus: Pergola.
• 7:45 p.m.: Land of the Glass Slipper Per- formance: Pergola.
• 8:00 p.m.: ’Twas the Night Before Christ- mas Reading: Pergola
• 10:00 p.m.: Park Closes:

For information on the schedule of events for the rest of the month or for more infor- mation on volunteering, donations or spon- sorship, visit the Orangeville Optimist web- site at

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