Santa will stay busy with appearances in Orange
Last updated 11/29/2022 at 7:32pm
Here comes Santa Claus, and Santa Claus, and Santa Claus. The Jolly Old Elf will be spending lots of time in Orange and West Orange the next couple of weeks as the Christmas season spreads wide.
The longest-lasting community event, the 73rd Annual Orange Christmas Parade through downtown will be on Saturday, December 3, starting at 6 p.m. The Orange Kiwanis Club took over sponsorship of the parade which includes marching bands, floats, drill teams, and, of course, Santa at the end.
This year the them is "Christmas Through the Decades," though there probably won't be a repeat of the early 1950s when the late Lutcher Stark arranged for real reindeer to travel down Green Avenue with Santa in his sleigh.
The parade route will skip MacArthur Drive and circle around the downtown area. Participants will stage on Front Street behind the Lutcher Theater. From there, they will travel west down Front to 10th Street, and then turn right (or north) on 10th. When they reach Green Avenue, they will turn east and travel on Green until First Street. Then the parade will turn right again (or north), and go to Front. Then the participants will turn right again to travel west along Front until ending at the staging area.
First Presbyterian Church will have its annual open house before the parade. Hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, and popcorn will be offered free to the public. Also tours of the 1912 church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be given. The front of the church property is the perfect place to watch the parade as it goes by.
The Kiwanis, and Santa, have a busy day on Saturday. The civic group is having a fundraiser for its charitable causes on Saturday morning from 7:30 to 10 with Breakfast with Santa. The event at Spanky's Bar and Grill on 16th Street, will offer a breakfast buffet and a chance for children to meet with Santa. The $12 tickets include the breakfast and Santa, along with photos with Santa that will be downloadable for printing.
Saturday morning the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau is holding its first Gumdrop Shop in Stark Park along Green Avenue. The all-day event will feature local vendors along with food and drink. It will end in time for the parade to begin. The park will also give a view of the parade as it passes by after dark.
For those wanting to give, rather than receive, during the holiday season, two of traditions of giving are on Thursday. The 13th annual Granger-KOGT.com annual food drive to benefit the Orange County Salvation Army and Orange Christian Services will run from 7 to 9 a.m. at Granger Chevrolet on MacArthur Drive.
All the non-perishable foods and cash donated will stay in Orange County to help feed people who are having trouble buying food. The two organizations say the drive helps keep their pantries stocked for several months.
The Service League of Orange will hold its 66th Annual Toy Coffee to benefit the Orange County Salvation Army. The traditional event features a selected open house decorated for the season. Admission for a tour of the house along with refreshments is an unwrapped toy or cash donation for the Salvation Army to provide Christmas cheer for those who might not have any. This year,ed the Salvation Army is also asking for blankets and bed sets for children because they often ask Santa for nice bedding.
This year's house is the Brown Estate on Old Highway 90. The mansion was built in the 1940s by the late timber heir-industrialist Edgar Brown Jr. and is now owned by Lamar State College Orange. The mansion was Brown's home for some 30 years until his death. He added the glassed solarium in the 1960s and quipped to friends that the solarium cost as much as the Astrodome.
The Orange Train Depot on Green Avenue will have its annual Christmas fundraiser on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. with Mingle and Jingle. A $25 donation allows people to see items from select vendors as they enjoy mimosa drinks and nibbles. The Orange Community Players will sing Christmas Carols.
The next week, Sunday, December 11, the Train Depot will have its annual children's visit with Santa from 3 to 5 p.m. Elves will help Santa pass out candy canes and other treats.
The city of West Orange will have its annual visit with Santa and tree-lighting ceremony on Monday, October 5, at 6 p.m. Santa will be in the community center off Austin Avenue in the back of City Hall, which faces Western Avenue.
Heritage House Museum on Division Avenue has hosted Santa Claus for nearly 50 years, except for a couple of hurricane years. The historic house has been closed for tours since Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but will be opening again on Wednesday, December 7.
The museum will have a Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. December 7. Santa will be at the house on Wednesday, December 7, and Thursday, December 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. Children will be able to visit Santa and parents will be able to take photographs in the early 1900s house set with antiques. Tours of the house filled with memorabilia from Orange's history will be available. Refreshments will also be served.