Holiday bazaar earns more than $37,000 and more news …

compiled by Lauren Salinero

MetroWest Master Association welcomed more than 3,500 people to its fifth annual WinterFest to benefit Edgewood Childrens Ranch. The free family event featured the hit movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas; dual snow slides; an ice-skating rink; holiday-themed performances; food trucks; and photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Whoo and a life-sized snow globe. Attendees and local businesses were asked to bring donated items to help fulfill Edgewood Children’s Ranch’s ongoing needs.

“WinterFest was a great chance to spread some holiday cheer to deserving kids within our community,” said Julie Sanchez, manager of MetroWest Master Association. “Congratulations again to Central Park for not only collecting the most items, but also donating their winnings to Edgewood Children’s Ranch. It is a true testament to how a local business can make a significant community impact.”

Annual holiday bazaar earns more than $37,000

The United Methodist Women of St. Lukes United Methodist Church raise more than $37,000 at their annual Holiday Bazaar.

At the United Methodist Women of St. Lukes United Methodist Church’s 34th annual Holiday Bazaar, more than 14 specialty shops were set up to resemble a Christmas market with handmade fall and holiday crafts for sale. Homemade pickles and baked goods, along with antique and decorator items, were offered for shoppers. Santa Claus greeted the children, and entertainment was provided by the Dr. Phillips High School choir.

The event raised more than $37,000, which will be used to support local, state and international missions. The church is accepting additional mission and holiday items to be repurposed and sold at next year’s bazaar.

For more information, call 407-876-4991 or email

In support of animals

Orlando Canine Country Club held a month-long donation drive, Canine Christ-Mutts Angels, in support of A Cause for Paws Rescue and a New Beginning Pet Rescue, nonprofit pet organizations. The drive raised $1,095 in monetary donations and 160 different items, including leashes, collars, beds, food, treat, blankets, toys and more, that were equally split between the two nonprofits.

Ocoee holds annual MLK Day Parade

The city of Ocoee held its 11th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Parade and Celebration. Presented by the city of Ocoee’s Human Relations Diversity Board, the processional began at Citrus Elementary School and ended at the parking lot of West Oaks Mall. The event showcased dancing groups, marching bands, motorcycles and floats; and the Rev. Bryan Stamper, Ph.D., served as the keynote speaker at the post-parade celebration. He has served as pastor of Quest Church for 43 years. There were performances by the New Life Church of Ocoee choir and dance group. Free blood pressure and health screenings were also offered. After the celebration, West Oaks Mall hosted Evelyn’s Creations’ third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Bike Show to benefit children with cancer.


West Orange Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of Matthews Hope’s new Outreach Center and Firm Foundation Preschool in Winter Garden (Photo courtesy of WOCC).

West Orange Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Matthews Hope Outreach Center and Firm Foundation Preschool, located at 523 S. Woodland St. in Winter Garden. WOCC builds partnerships, strong businesses and commitment to the community by serving as the leading business advocate in Central Florida, facilitating opportunity to nearly 1,000 member businesses. For more information about WOCC, call 407-656-1304 or visit on the web; and for more information about Matthew’s Hope, visit on the web.

Cranium Academy invites prospective families to attend an open house Thursday, Jan. 26, from 6:30-8 p.m. The academy, located at 4068 Winter Garden Vineland Road in Winter Garden, is offering a tour of its state-of-the-art facility and information about its exclusive and advanced curriculum, including custom learning paths for each child, innovative technology, critical thinking and more. To RSVP, call 407-294-6950, and for more information, visit on the web.

Dr. P. Phillips YMCA, located at 7000 Dr. Phillips Blvd. in Orlando, held a grand reopening event to showcase its many new and renovated features. Its new model provides members with a holistic approach to wellness. The facility is now able to allow easy access to health screenings, doctor referrals, education about healthy eating and cooking, and grab-and-go healthy meals. For more information, call 407-351-9417 or visit on the web.

Representatives of The Womens Center — located in Suite 395 at 10000 W. Colonial Drive in Ocoee — announced the addition of a new physician, Wendy Vasquez, M.D. Dr. Vasquez is a skilled surgeon, obstetrician and master of the da Vinci Surgical System. She is also fluent in Spanish. To schedule an appointment with her, call 407-857-2502, ext. 1600; or visit on the web. 💓

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