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Three Kings Day to bring bicycles, toys to children Jan. 5

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

News-Gazette photo/Andrew SullivanBy Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

While most people are planning gatherings for Christmas, the Hispanic Business Council of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce is planning the ninth installment of the first big holiday party of 2014.

The Three Kings Day (El Dia de los Reyes) celebration will be Jan. 5 at Kissimmee Lakefront Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free.

Aproximately 8,000 people, including many children and families, took in the event last year at Gateway High School, and with most of the same giveaways being offered, organizers expect even more attendees to flock to the city’s new park.

Three Kings Day is celebrated on the Epiphany, the day following the 12th Day of Christmas. It commemorates the visit by the Three Kings or Wise Men, who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh following the miracle of the birth of the Baby Jesus. The day is a traditional part of Latin culture and folklore.

Some 2,000 years later, Osceola County will celebrate at Lakefront Park with giveaways of toys and bicycles to some lucky children under 11 years old, and free hot dogs and juice for the first 1,000 participants. Magic and clown acts, musical groups and other family entertainment also will be featured, and attendees can have their picture taken with the Three Kings.

Thanks to the generosity of a litany of local corporate sponsors, the Hispanic Business Council hopes to give away more than 100 bicycles and 5,000 other toys at the event. A new bicycle will be raffled off every five minutes. The toy giveaways are possible through the sponsorship of groups and companies like Walt Disney World, the Orlando Magic, Kissimmee Utility Authority, the city of Kissimmee, Osceola County and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

At a pre-event press conference on Tuesday at Medieval Times, Kissimmee City Commissioner Jose Alvarez, State Rep. Ricardo Rangel, D-Kissimmee, and Toho Water Authority President Bruce Van Meter represented the Three Kings — in complete biblical garb — and joined with County Commissioner John Quiñones to announce the annual event’s new home this year.

Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan said the city is “overjoyed” to host the event at the new park.

“This could set a trend for the future of the city,” he said. “Another major phase of the park will be finished in the next two weeks.”

In an early Christmas gift, the Hispanic Business Council provided a scholarship donation of $1,000 to the Hispanic Heritage Fund of Metro Orlando.