Boca Gets Festive


Story by Valeria Munoz, Copy Editor

On Wednesday, Nov. 25 2015, The Light Up Downtown Boca event at Mizner Park was like a scene out of The Grinch due to the immense number of people who came to witness the tree being lit.  It seemed as if everyone from Whoville gathered to witness this momentous moment of the year. From toddlers to teenagers to seniors, everyone impatiently waited for the announcement from Mayor Suzanne Welsh as the holidays and countdown to Christmas was commenced. While some people may label the event as “boring” and “predictable,” there were plenty of attractions to keep the public busy before the main event.

“They had something to do for everyone. There was a Christmas show with characters in it for little kids and then fun carnival rides for the older kids,” said sophomore Sydney Manno.

Although the weather threatened the tree lighting’s festivities, a slight drizzle didn’t deter visitors from enjoying this community event.  From Pharaoh’s Fury to Gravity Defyer, carnival rides astounded the public with their velocity. Pharaoh’s Fury was a rollercoaster that swung side to side, increasing its height with each swing. There was a classic swings merry-go-round that raised its passengers high off the ground. Santa Claus was slightly apart from the crowd for the parents anxious to get a Christmas card-worthy photo. Local food favorites were present like Tomassos, normally located on Palmetto Park Road, serving up their specialty pizza. However, barbecue, chicken tenders, and fries were also available for those craving a more substantial night snack.

“It’s great that it’s become a tradition to go [to the tree lighting] for so many people in Boca,” freshman Billy Pastronomi said.

Once the countdown was completed, the Christmas tree lit up the square and began its synchronized light show which consisted of an accompaniment of lights synced to well-known Christmas songs. “Carol of the Bells” and the “Sugar Plum Fairy” were modernized with guitar solos and altered to have a pop edge. Other classics played were “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” but Mizner Park showed its adaptability. In fact, they have added contemporary holiday tunes such as “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey and from Disney’s Frozen, “Do You Want To Build a Snowman.”

However, Boca’s holiday festivities didn’t end there. On Friday, December 18th, students kicked off their winter break with a snow day. Mizner Park Amphitheater offered free train rides starting at 5:30 p.m. to go along with the Polar Express showing at 6:30 p.m. on a projected screen in the main venue and the dress code was pajamas. Attendees were suggested to wear their coziest pair and bring a blanket to sit alongside their best friend, sipping on a cup of hot chocolate being sold at the concessions.

Another event being held in the area was Ballroom with a Twist-mas, a holiday spin off of the successful dance show Ballroom With a Twist. The show featured American Idol finalists singing favorite holiday classics alongside choreography performed by ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance dancers. It was choreographed by Jaymz Tuaileva who was a fomer contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. The permanent cast consisted of American Idol’s Von Smith and Vonzell Solomon, Nick Garcia from SYTYCD season 11 and Jonathan Perez from season 6 as well as Jonathan Platero. He is better known as Legacy and has appeared in Step Up 3D, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never movie and The LXD Hulu webseries. As for Dancing with the Stars’ lineup, it included Brent Borbon, Oksana Dmytrenko, Magda Fialek, Anya Fuchs, and Kiki Nyemchek. The rotating cast of pros was Lacey Schwimmer, Jonathan Roberts, Chelsie Hightower, Sabrina Bryan, Tristan MacManus, Gleb Savchenko, and Elena Samodavona. Ballroom with a Twist-mas ran from Dec. 10 through Dec. 27 at the Wick Theater. From Sway at Art Basel to Ballroom with a Twist-mas at the Wick Theater, South Florida was clearly the cultural scene of the holiday season.

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