News-Sun photo by SAMANTHA GHOLAR Jon Spiegel sets up lights and props Tuesday morning in preparation for the annual Circle of Lights. Spiegel spends several days each holiday season getting the downtown Sebring Circle festive and merry for the beloved holiday event.
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published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Holiday season gearing up
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- The holiday season is quickly approaching in Highlands County. With Thanksgiving just days away, the time for being thankful will quickly pass and the time for giving and merry-making will take its place.
All over Highlands County, Christmas decor can be spotted in homes, stores, parking lots, local businesses and public areas.
In Avon Park, the Historical Society made sure to bring back holiday favorites to the Mall on Main Street this year.
Historical Society Vice President Jean Jordan assured residents that their favorites would be on display this year. For the past couple of years, the wooden figurines had been missing from the Mall display, but the Garden Club granted permission for their hand-made decor to be used for the Christmas tradition.
"They will be returning," said Jordan. "Many people had missed the figurines. They weren't complaining, but they missed them."
Avon Park's Christmas parade is up first this year and will be held on Monday at 7 p.m. AP's Christmas on Main event will follow the next week on Monday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.
The Lake Placid Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. Santa, elves, Mrs. Claus and hundreds of other local holiday lovers will fill the streets that evening bring holiday magic to all residents and visitors.
In Sebring, the preparation for the holiday season got a jump start this year as the 26th annual Circle of Lights will kick off one week earlier than usual.
Founder Jon Spiegel was very busy Tuesday morning, placing decorations and lights strategically around the downtown Circle, which is already more than halfway decorated.
But the work is far from done according to Spiegel.
"The city gave me the option to start it (Dec. 1) since the parade starts later this year, but we have a full three weeks this year. It's not an easy task though. It's like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle," Spiegel said.
A big portion of the set-up for the Circle of Lights is maintenance and repairs. Each year, Spiegel and his helpers spend a good chunk of time taking care of the decor, lights and props to ensure they survive another year. Spiegel stated that this year has been "heavy on the repairs and maintenance."
Nonetheless, Spiegel continues the beloved tradition for the many families that travel both near and far for the unique display.
"I've had families that have moved away. There's a family down in Ft. Lauderdale that still comes back every year to have their photo taken with Santa. They get this photo and the little book and they have every single photo for the past 26 years," said Spiegel.
New additions to the Circle of Lights this year include hand-made characters and a computerized light show that will take place between each puppet show.
Spiegel expects to be done with the set up a few days before the opening night on Dec. 1.
"There's a lot of fine detailing. It takes a lot to make this right and to make it look clean," said Spiegel.
The Circle of Lights will begin Friday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. and will run nightly from 6-9 p.m. through Christmas. Santa will be available each night for photos as well as games, refreshments, puppet and light shows.
The Sebring Christmas parade will take place the following week on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.
Christmas on Main (by: Larry Votaw - 11/21/2012)
I have lived in AP for 10 years and still don't know what Christmas on Main is all about. If you would not assume that everyone knows about this event, possibly you would have more attendance.
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