OAKLAND — If it’s the Christmas season, it means plenty of special holiday events and activities across Central Florida, from the theme parks to local theaters and holiday concerts.
The historic town of Oakland wants in on the action, too.
On Saturday, Dec. 3 the quaint West Orange County town will be offering holiday joy by bringing back Santa’s Lane, a special celebration launched last December and now back — and larger — this year.
Santa’s Lane is “returning bigger and jollier than ever with more sparkling lights and new activities including an alpine slide, snow flurries, food trucks, music and more,” noted Elisha Pappacoda, Oakland’s administrative services and communications director.
What is Santa’s Lane in Oakland?
Santa’s Lane is on Dec. 3 from 3-6 p.m. at the Oakland Town Center, 230 N. Tubb St.
“Guests will have the opportunity to sit with Santa for a free photo opportunity and kids will go home with a special treat from the North Pole, while supplies last,” Pappacoda noted. “With its quaint downtown, historic buildings and moss-covered oak trees draped in garland, bows and thousands of twinkling lights, Oakland during the holidays has been compared to a Hallmark movie.”
Expect plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy. That includes opportunities to:
- Zip down an inflatable Alpine snow slide in a tube
- Catch snowflakes on your nose along the West Orange Trail in the Snow Zone
- Enjoy arts and crafts, bounce houses, and milk and cookies in the Family Zone
- Take selfies at festive photo backdrops
- Learn more about the town’s history at the “Among the Oaks” exhibit at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center
- Dance as Celebrity DJ Renee plays holiday music
- Wave to Santa and his elves as he rides through town in a convertible, greeting guests in their front yards
The event was made possible by sponsors that include Duke Energy, Lakeside Church, Orlando Health, Healthy West Orange, Paradise Landscaping, Waste Management, Lakeview Networks LLC, and West Orange Creamery.
Where is Oakland, Florida?
Established in 1887, Oakland is one of the oldest municipalities in Orange County and celebrated its 130th Anniversary in 2017. Their downtown once had an opera house, although a deadly fire decimated much of the downtown that never got rebuilt. Still, their historic City Hall dates back to 1911.
Oakland is also known for its parks and trails, which provide enormous recreational activities for area residents and visitors alike, who enjoy the beauty and natural wonder of parks such as Pollard Park, Speer Park, and VanderLey Park.
Another event during Santa’s Lane will be the opportunity to vote for your favorite tree in the “Trees of the Season” contest at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center.
While there, stop by and visit the Heritage Center, 126 W. Petris Ave., which has permanent exhibits, including the historic Oakland Presbyterian Church’s illuminated stained-glass window that dates back to the 1919 brick structure, and a video presentation on the continuing historic preservation of Oakland’s Historic African-American Cemetery.
The Center is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 4th Fridays of the month during the summer and on select Saturdays.
The mission of the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center is preserving Oakland’s past, present and future. The Center supports the mission of Healthy West Orange, a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.