Historic downtown Leesburg comes alive for the holidays.

The Christmas House is one way that the town of Leesburg tries to draw in visitors over the holiday season.

LEESBURG – In the competitive world of holiday-themed tourism, the quaint town of Leesburg can definitely hold its own, Rachel O’Ryan said.
With a historic downtown and special events designed for the entire family, Central Florida’s residents and tourists alike have good reason to visit this Lake County city, said O’Ryan, who does marketing for the Leesburg partnership.
The partnership helps promote Leesburg, its business community and special events, and the city this December has an appealing combination of a charming downtown as the setting for some great family events, O’Ryan said.
“I think it’s the downtown’s old-fashioned charm,” she said. “I think it’s the fact that businesses all get together to make things happen there, and get people back to downtown. It’s a nice old town.”
There will be a definite Christmas backdrop as visitors get the opportunity to stroll the Venetian Gardens as the setting for a huge light display, she added.
The Venetian Gardens Light-Up started on Nov. 24 and continues through Jan. 1. At 6 p.m. nightly, a Christmas holiday display of lights will illuminate the Venetian Gardens, allowing visitors to drive or walk through one of Lake County’s largest holiday light shows.
“It’s one of the oldest events in town,” O’Ryan said. “It features over 500,000-plus mini-lights and holiday displays in the Venetian Gardens. It’s a beautiful event. People can walk and stroll and enjoy the lights.”
This annual event is presented by the City of Leesburg. The gardens are at 201 E Dixie Ave.
Then there’s the Holiday Concert Series, which started on Nov. 24 and continues through Dec. 22. Until then, holiday music will be filling the air in downtown Leesburg, as a variety of entertainers, bands, choirs, and live performances take place at various times.
There is also a concert on Thursday, Dec. 13th. For a complete schedule of performances, visit christmasconcerts.leesburgpartnership.com.
“The holiday concert series has been going on for a while, and it’s very popular,’’ O’Ryan said.
Then there’s the 16th Annual Leesburg Main Street Christmas House at 712 W. Main St. in downtown, which features more than 100 holiday crafters and 50,000 holiday decorations and gifts to shop for – a holiday shoppers’ paradise.
“The Christmas House ends on December 15,” O’Ryan said. “Until then, it’s more than 50,000 Christmas crafts. It’s a Christmas house, and people can go in there and get holiday gifts and decorations. It’s not just Christmas — they also have Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, too. That goes on every year, and starts around the first week of November, and it’s right in downtown. They’re open seven days a week.”
It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit, she added.
“That’s really something different,” she added. “You can find all sorts of nice crafts and thing, and unique decorations.”
To help residents, tourists and snowbirds alike discover more about the Leesburg holiday events – as well as what the city has to offer year-round — the Leesburg Partnership just created a new online service that lists all upcoming events in Leesburg and will be continually updated.
The Facebook page provides current and up to the minute information on upcoming events and allows users to share pictures and experiences. Log on to www.facebook.com/LeesburgEvents or www.LeesburgEvents.com to learn more.

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