Jack Kazanzas Star installed in Downtown Orlando, continuing holiday tradition

It just isn't the holidays in Orlando, without the Kazanzas Star hanging proudly across Orange Ave.

The star was raised 50 feet over the intersection of Orange Ave. and Pine St. on Sunday.

The more than 50-year tradition of raising the 600-pound golden star started in the 1950s when two competing department stores, Ivey’s on the east and Dickson & Ives on the west of Orange Avenue, joined together in 1955 to hang the Christmas star between the two.  


In 1984, after the department stores had closed. Jack Kazanzas, a lifelong resident of Orlando, helped to raise money to replace the original Christmas Star that had fallen into disrepair. In 2010, the city rewired the star which is now made up of more than 4,000 LED lights.

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The star has come to symbolize the start of the holiday season in downtown Orlando.  

For Betty Reed Kendall, it's more meaningful for her than most. She is the daughter of Wilson Reed, who owned one of the two department stores that had stood on opposite corners of Orange Ave. decades ago. 

"[He] had the idea to have the star connect the two competing stores for unity," she explained. "My sister and I try to come down every year to watch the raising."

Work crews from the city and OUC closed a block of Orange Ave. while they did the work, fitting the frame around the star and raising it between the buildings.

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Cecily Carcamo is engaged to one of the workers and said that it's her first time watching the installation, telling FOX 35, "every year I come here downtown… but I've never actually seen it put up, so I think it's pretty interesting."

City officials said that the star should remain shining brightly above Orange Ave. until sometime in January.

Carcamo said that it's not the holidays in Orlando without the Kazanzas Star.

"I think it's really beautiful, I always see how they have decorations here, so I think it does give it a more family feel," she added.

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