December is here, and despite the cold, the dark, and the snow, it is truly the warmest, brightest, and best time of the year when we celebrate what really matters. 

This past week, we hosted our 12th annual Lights On ceremony, but it was unlike any of the previous ones. For the first time, we moved the event into City Center Park and made it the biggest, brightest, and best holiday event EVER held by the City of Orem. We estimate that there were nearly 3,000 people to kick off the holiday season with us. Several people commented that it was like being in a Hallmark movie, which is noteworthy since that was one of our goals. 

While the sparkling lights and incredible decorations were undoubtedly remarkable, the true beauty of the night lay in witnessing Orem families come together to create memories and see the community join in a spirit of goodwill and harmony. 

The City Council and I see these types of events as more than mere entertainment but central to our purpose and mission of creating an environment where families can thrive… and making Orem the best place in America to raise a family. In every decision we make, every event that we host, and every investment we put into the city,  we are constantly striving to keep Orem –  Family City USA.

If you missed the Lights On event, you still have a chance to enjoy it. The holiday market will return every Saturday until Christmas from 4 to 8 pm with over 90 different vendors. The entire park will be lit up, and the incredibly popular Orem Express will be there to give kids free train rides through our fun, Winter Wonderland.

While I’d like to discuss the history of the Orem Express, let me just say, that this charming train pays tribute to Orem’s earliest city history.  It was a key factor in shaping the city into the vibrant economic hub it is today. You will see the Orem Express at many future city events, so hopefully, everyone will get to experience this fun connection to Orem’s past. 

As we begin to turn the page on 2023, it has been a fantastic year here in the city, with so many positive things happening. Together, we have made significant strides in making the city a better place to live.   I look forward to working with the City Council, our city staff, and you, the residents, to make great things happen in Orem in the new year. 

On behalf of everyone at the City of Orem, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope your holidays are full of family, friends, and many fond memories. Be safe, and we’ll see you in 2024. 

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