Orange Holiday Festival…Gingerbread, Ice Sculpture and Olivia, Oh My!

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Dec 052021

Even with the new Omicron variant emerging in the US, nothing it seems, could stop Orange residents from coming out to enjoy a bit of traditional fun on Sunday afternoon.

The annual Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting, highlighted by the Lighted Tractor Parade drew a huge record crowd to the town center from 3 to 6 p.m.

Everyone honored the mask mandates for any indoor activities — Library, OVNA, Stone-Otis House, Academy Building and Model Railroad display and everyone gathered around the green for the spectacular Lighted Tractor Parade.

Santa arrived on a fire truck and the jolly old elf joined a young lady named Olivia in lighting the Christmas Tree!

We will let you know who won the Gingerbread House Contest and Candy guessing contest when we get the results.

In the meantime, stay safe, and have a wonderful holiday season!

(Check out Brian Smith’s guest column and our video of the parade)

Guest Columnist Brian Smith Sheds Some Light On The Orange Tractor Parade

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Dec 052021

This is a rare guest column by the ever delightful Brian Smith who rode in the “Lighted Tractor Parade” during the “Orange Holiday Festival” — although his name for the event is much more fun!


When my friend, TERRI MILES (she runs this news site) asked me to check out the “Orange Connecticut Electrical Christmas and Holiday Lights Extravaganza Big Fancy Tractor Parade” (name approximate)… I thought it sounded like a great idea.  Then when my friend, DAVE EISENMAN (tractor-driver) invited me to be in the same parade, as he has asked for the past many years, I said yes.  Great Idea.

So…  Sunday night, I hitched a ride on a corn trailer with a giant illuminated inflatable penguin wearing a Santa hat, and I was proud of it.  Orange Center Road never looked better than it did with more than fifty lit up John Deeres and Kubotas and International Harvesters.

I became an embedded reporter where the tractor parade assembled… over in the parking lot for the Fred Wolfe Park soccer fields.  When I got there, I was surprised by the sustained thunder of dozens of tractors with full-throated, some perhaps faulty, exhaust systems.  It sounded terrific.  All those lit up tractors and trailers were dazzling…  I felt like I was at the Big E… or Disney World… or sitting on the curb outside that house with the Christmas lights on Lincoln Road that can be seen from space (probably).

And, I mean this… everyone was in a tremendously good mood as they were getting ready to roll.  Eleven on a scale of 1 to 5 mood.  No one is ever unhappy at a parade… unless you are standing next to a kid whose parents just got him a horn from the souvenir guy.

Sculpting Rudolph

At around 5 o’clock, the procession of blinking and flashing farm equipment made its way from Fred Wolfe Park  through the dark roads over to the Orange Center Historic District… where the ice sculpture and the singing carolers and model train builders and SANTA CLAUS HIMSELF had entertained the crowd until the tractors appeared out of the shadows…

And… because of the relatively humane weather (45º F and clear on December 5 is not bad at all), the crowd… of hundreds, maybe a thousand… holiday-fun-loving grownups and kids at The Town Green and along Orange Center Road and over at The Fairgrounds…was a bit larger than usual.

From start to finish it was a sensational and well done “Orange Connecticut Electrical Christmas and Holiday Lights Extravaganza Big Fancy Tractor Parade” (name approximate)… the Macy’s parade people in New York City should be jealous.  I already have an idea for next year… if I can just get to a ski mountain and “borrow” one of their snow-making machines.  Oh, I WILL win first place.
And a big thanks to KEN CIOLA (tractor-driver) for letting me have a place on that corn trailer next to Opus (inflatable penguin)… Tow Mater (inflatable tow truck) and Olaf (huge inflatable snow man)…thanks, Ken, for giving me the chance to be a reporter inside the parade… and  for driving so well… and safely… that I was able to wave to the crowd… shout to the kids… and.. the best news of my day, I didn’t fall off the trailer.

Lighted Tractor Parade Steals The Show On Festival Night

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Dec 052021

The very creative “hay” Rudolph really wowed the crowd.

The lighted tractor parade stole the show at the Orange CT Holiday Festival on Dec. 5, 2021.

Once again, this year’s parade was a real crowd pleaser, with all of the participants giving everything they’ve got into creating amazing eye candy for the enthusiastic spectators.

Here is an unedited video of the first 7 minutes of the parade.

See if you can spot surprise guest “celebrity” Brian Smith** on one of the floats.

Bravo, Everyone! Thanks for the show!


**Hint: Brian is nearly as tall as his Frozen companion

An Unconventional Holiday Event This Sunday

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Dec 022020

(internet photo)

One of the town of Orange’s newer holiday traditions, an altered version of the lighted tractor parade, will take place this coming Sunday, Dec. 6, on the grounds of the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road, for just one hour, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Founded in 2017 by resident Denise Fantarella, the lighted tractor parade was an instant hit and became a welcome addition to the annual Holiday Festival, with brightly lit tractors, golf carts, and superbly decorated trailers making their way down Orange Center Road to the town green leading up to the Christmas Tree lighting.

Fears that following through with the normal Holiday Festivities would make it a COVID Super Spreader event, putting Orange on the map for all the wrong reasons, made any community gatherings questionable. So after involving the Orange Police Department, Health Department, and Parade organizers, a compromise was made.

Donny Foyer Sr., who you know from the Orange Highway Department, said residents can enjoy the parade this year as a drive-through event. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., you can drive in through the grounds on the power line side, and follow the roadway to the Orange Fairgrounds side of the building, and then exit onto Orange Center Road.

The participants put a lot of work into decorating their vehicles, so come on down to High Plains on Sunday afternoon and enjoy the show from the comfort of your car.



Dress For The Cold, Come For The Displays. Tractor Parade Dec. 8

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Dec 082019

As we announced last Monday, an Orange Holiday Festival fan-favorite event, The Lighted Tractor Parade, now in its third year, will take place after all.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli notified Orange Live of the new, complete event details.

He said, “There is a makeup event this Sunday at the fairgrounds. The park and Rec Dept will have hotdogs and drinks. They will be holding an outdoor movie night for the kids with a couple of Disney movies.”

“At 4:30 p.m., the lighted tractors will parade up Orange Center Road to the Green, wait for the police to open the road, clear traffic, then close again so the tractors will return to the fairgrounds,” he said. “A new event is being born!”

 Tractor Participants will line up on the Basketball Ball Court Side of Community Center at 4:00 p.m.

The Parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by drive-in holiday movies beginning at 6:00 PM at High Plains.  Hot dogs, chili, hot chocolate, and popcorn will be available.
This morning the temperature was in the teens, but luckily, by the time this event begins, it will be closer to 40, or at least the upper 30s. But you really need to be prepared. Dress appropriately for the activities you’re planning to enjoy.
If your kids choose to be outside, bring waterproof blankets to cover the ground on which to put warm blankets for the movie viewing. Dress the kids in snowsuits and snow boots so they’ll be toasty warm during the movies.
Come, enjoy and spread the word!

Orange Holiday Festival On December 1

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Nov 102019

The Town of Orange invites you to attend the Annual Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting on Sunday, December 1, 2019.  Festivities on and around the Orange Town Green will begin at 3:00 p.m.    

Visitors may tour the Stone-Otis House to learn what a Victorian Christmas was like.

The Academy Building and the antique shop will be open and invites you to view the Historical Society’s antique collections and Emily Prudden Watercolors, as well as the New Haven to Derby line model railroad in the lower level from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The Orange Congregational Church will hold a cookie sale, handbell concert, and carol sing in the church sanctuary from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m featuring the Amity Chamber Singers.

The Case Memorial Library will be splendidly decorated, and will host a performance from Al deCant of Half Moon Music who will perform a children’s musical program in the library meeting room from 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Guess how many candies in the jar at the library and win a prize, write a letter to Santa Claus and make a craft in the craft room. The Library will be open from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Annual Gingerbread Contest will be featured in the Clark Building.  Friends of all ages are invited to enter a gingerbread creation.  Entries must be dropped off at the Clark Building from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. on December 1st and must be picked up between 5:30 – 6:00 p.m.  Prizes will be given to the winner of the contest.

An ice carving demonstration will take place in front of the LIBRARY from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Hot chocolate will be available compliments of Starbucks in Orange.


The Lighted Tractor Parade has been canceled, as has the Tree Lighting.

Santa Claus will greet children at the LIBRARY instead of the town green.

The Holiday Festival will end at 6:00 p.m.