Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snowfall in the Sunshine State

The most interesting thing about being in Florida in early December was examining the zeal with which the locals embrace Christmas imagery that this jaded Jerseyan associates with colder climes such as....well, such as New Jersey. Evergreens decorated for Christmas in an area where shorts and t-shirts abound? Priceless.

We were in central Florida - a mile or two from the various Disney properties, Sea World and Universal Studios - and during the week we were there we spent time at Universal and at Epcot Center, both of which were all dolled up for Christmas. Hearing Nat King Cole crooning about roasting chestnuts over a park's P.A. system is always welcome - irrespective of the weather - but seeing animated figures such as polar bears and penguins on the front lawns of homes and businesses alike in a region in which the average daytime temperature in December is north of the 70 degree pole was a tad jarring. For me at least.

The single most intriguing thing to me though was the nightly snowfall in the town of Celebration. Celebration, Florida is a town that very well may have served as the inspiration for the town in Jim Carrey's "The Truman Show". Not only is the town named Celebration but we counted at least four different thoroughfares that had Celebration in their names as well (Boulevard, Drive, Street and Way) although curiously when I asked for directions to Kool and the Gang Court, the man behind the counter at the Information Desk told me he had never heard of such a street. Odd, right? He turned out to be utterly useless for when I asked him what was the quickest way to get from Celebration to Stepford, he told me that he had never heard of my proffered destination.

Celebration simulates a snowfall every night - at least (according to the sign prominently displayed on Route 192) between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day (since having it snow nightly in central Florida in mid-April would be silly). While it sounds insane as an abstract concept, it was actually pretty cool to see:

I wish I had gotten a better picture of her for as Margaret, Joe and I were taking in the man-made snowstorm (talk about living 'NTSG), there was the tiniest little moppet of a girl standing in the middle of it all. She said nothing for the several minutes while we were there near her and her parents. She simply stood, eyes wide open, mouth fixed in a smile looking up at the flakes tumbling down out of the sky.

Proof once again perhaps that the answer to Virginia's question is now as it has always been, "Yes". Santa Claus is alive and well. Even in central Florida. And even in a town where December's nightly snowfalls are but memories by the following dawn in spite of the dearth of plow equipment or rock salt.


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