A new year is upon us and it’s time to fall in love once again with all the wonderful events that happen month-to-month throughout our great city! Let’s dive right in by taking a look back at the fun we enjoyed in December and January. Here are all the highlights, just in case you missed it!

On December 1st, the City of Orlando’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration was held at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. In addition to live performances and tasty food from TheDailyCity.com Food Truck Bazaar, the event also featured an exciting countdown to the lighting of Orlando’s extravagant 72-foot Christmas tree.

On the other side of O-town, IDrive was also getting into the spirit of Christmas with their own Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony on December 1st. Along with the lighting of a 50 foot Christmas tree, guests also enjoyed special musical performances, dancing, dining and plenty of shopping discounts. The event also featured free 3D holiday glasses and photos with Santa himself!

The Festivals of Speed returned to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes on December 2nd for its 12th annual event! Attendees experienced an extravagant display of luxury lifestyle with a showcase of over 300 exotic cars, motorcycles, watercrafts and luxury brands. The event has become renowned for its unique diversity, showcasing both vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models placed for display amongst the splendor and hospitality of the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.

On December 9th, Orlando rocked in the holidays with the top strings sensation Violectric at the 5th annual “Violectric Holiday Show” at the Walt Disney Amphitheatre in Lake Eola Park. The free and public concert featured all your favorite holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits in a fun and energetic show. Attendees were encouraged to bring their pets to the show, and anyone who brought a pet supply or mades a donation for Pet Alliance received a pet photo opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Throughout the holidays, Magic Kingdom played host to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! The series of nighttime holiday fun events for the entire family included holiday shows, fireworks and magic treats with Minnie and Mickey. Next door at Epcot, Holidays Around the World was taking place with storytellers, a daily character tree-lighting ceremony and a stunning display of snow-white lights. The Candlelight Processional, a favorite of all ages, included celebrity guest narrators accompanied by a massed choir and orchestra for a retelling of the Christmas story.

On January 6th, Harry P. Leu Gardens presented an amazing, award-winning outdoor exhibit which was a delight for all ages! Nature Connects – Art with LEGO Bricks by Artist Sean Kenney was an incredible exhibit that featured many larger-than-life sculptures built with LEGO bricks. Over 450,000 bricks were used in this exhibit to bring nature to life, with 16 sculptures in 13 displays throughout the 50-acre garden. If you missed the show, fear not! Nature Connects runs until April 22nd.

On January 20th, guest of Orange County’s Magnolia Park participated in the 6th annual Birdapalooza festival. Guest of the free, family-oriented event enjoyed photo walks, bird banding, guided bus tours, and guided walking and biking nature tours for children and adults on the Lake Apopka Loop Trail. Birdapalooza also featured live animal demonstrations, music, owl pellet dissections, bounce houses, face painting, exhibitors, nature-oriented merchandise vendors and tasty food trucks.

On your mark… get set… go! January 20th was the Park Ave 5k, a 3.1 mile run/walk event for participants ages 8 and above as well as a free kids’ run for kids 10 and under. The 5k benefitted the Track Shack Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes physical fitness to children and teens through a wide variety of community organizations throughout Central Florida.

With the return of Praise Wave Music Festival on January 20th, guests were able to enjoy a celebration of Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Uplifting, live concerts from the hottest names in Christian music lit up the stage at Nautilus Theater for three consecutive Saturdays. In between live performances by award-winning artists such as Lecrae, Steven Curtis Chapman and MercyMe, guests also enjoyed SeaWorld’s thrilling rides, shows and world class attractions.