Annual Tales and Tails Gala and More News

compiled by Lauren Salinero


Wet n Wilds final days

After providing a splashing good time to countless families for 39 years, Wetn Wild, located at 6200 International Drive in Orlando, will permanently close Dec. 31.

In a message to visitors, representatives of the amusement park said, “We are extremely appreciative to those that have contributed to our success over the past 39 years. It is fans like you that have made us so successful and a place that families will remember for years to come.”

For more information, visit www.wetnwildorlando.com on the web.


OCSA supports holiday party for children with special needs


Representatives from the Orange County Sportsmen’s Association’s board of directors and Autistic/Handicapped Children of Central Florida, (front, l. to r.) Jennifer Martin, Mitzi Stevens, Deborah Garson, Brian Gibson, Debra Kral, Wendy Everett, Andrew Kral, Albert Gallof and Daniel Everett (back), gather for OCSA’s donation to the 43rd annual Holiday Season Party for children with special needs.

Members of the Orange County Sportsmen’s Association’s board of directors presented a $2,500 check to Autistic/Handicapped Children of Central Florida Inc. to support its 43rd annual Holiday Season Party for children with special needs. The two groups have partnered since the event’s inception and have brought thousands of smiles to special needs kids in Central Florida.


The party began in the backyard of a former OCSA president, became a three-day event at OCSA, and now has moved to The Pines at Windermere to accommodate nearly 1,500 children each year from local schools and the surrounding areas. The long-standing tradition is one that the teachers and families of these special children look forward to each year. It is also an opportunity for volunteers to get engaged with the community.

For more information, call 407-876-2010.


Ocoee lights its holiday tree

The city of Ocoee held its fourth annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at the city’s historic Withers-Maguire House and the Ocoee Lakeshore Center. Attendees enjoyed games; face painting; a fire pit with s’mores; train, pony and carriage rides; a silent wreath auction; live music, and more. Santa and Mrs. Claus also visited the Withers-Maguire House during the evening, and The Friends of Ocoee History Preservation gave tours of the historic house, regaling audiences with how holidays were celebrated during the turn of the century. All of the excitement centered around the lighting of a 20-foot tall tree.

For more information, visit www.ocoee.org on the web.


Annual Tales and Tails Gala is a success

A record 735 guests attend Canine Companions for Independence’s Tales and Tails Gala.

Earlier this fall, Canine Companions for Independence held its 20th charity gala, the Tales and Tails Gala, at Rosen Shingle Creek to raise money to help place assistance dogs, free of charge, for people with disabilities. The 2015 event raised more than $385,000. This year, with the theme of “A Star-Spangled Celebration — Every Day Is Independence Day,” the event drew a record-setting 735 attendees and surpassed its fundraising goal by 18 percent, with a total of $465,000.

For more information, call 407-522-3300 or visit cci.org on the web.


BUSINESS BRIEFS


West Orange Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of Sage Dental (Photo courtesy of WOCC).

West Orange Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Sage Dental. 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, call 407-656-1304 or visit wochamber.com on the web.


Accents Model and Talent Center, located at 2411 W. Sand Lake Road in Orlando, is partnering with Bee2Bee Network Inc. in an effort to introduce young talent entering the entertainment industry to complementary technologies that will give them a competitive advantage. The Beauty & Brains Campaign allows coed students to learn how to code, blog and maintain their own customized landing page as part of a new platform, vrtalentbook.com. The new website is scheduled to go live by the beginning of 2017 and will include the ability for talent agents to meet and book new talent through the site. For more information, call 407-420-7231 or visit www.accentsmodelandtalent.com on the web.


Whole Cities Foundation, a nonprofit foundation of Whole Foods Market, is partnering with more than 30 community-based organizations that are increasing access to fresh, healthy food in their neighborhoods through the new Community First Grant Program. Each organization will be awarded $5,000 to support existing projects that improve community health through broadening access to fresh food. This year, Orlando’s The Fresh Stop Bus — a re-purposed Lynx bus that delivers fresh produce to communities in need — was awarded a grant that will help its current goal of supporting additional neighborhoods in Central Florida. For more information, call 407-355-7100 or visit Whole Foods Market Orlando at 8003 Turkey Lake Road.


The Tourist Development Committee unanimously approved $45 million from the Tourist Development Tax to be put toward the construction of Phase 2 of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The funds support Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, home to local resident companies Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Ballet. The theater also hosts performances of other local arts groups and exceptional talent from around the world. For more information, visit drphillipscenter.org on the web.


The First Academy will hold open houses Jan. 8 and Feb. 12 from 2-4 p.m. The Christ-centered school accommodates students from birth through 12th grade. Its lower and middle schools have earned blue ribbon status, and it boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate. For more information, call 407-206-8602 or visit thefirstacademy.org on the web.

Big Beating Heart

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