Compiled by Jenny Bennett
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
The holidays come alive at Busch Gardens Christmas Town, the park’s award-winning holiday event. Celebrate the year with holiday cheer and create happy memories for the whole family at this seasonal event included with park admission. Guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist, from millions of twinkling lights throughout the park to holiday shows and tours with Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town operates daily through January 2, 2023. Visit their website, www.buschgardens.comfor more information.
Church Street Christmas
Come celebrate the Christmas spirit and enjoy the sights and sounds of this magical season. All are invited to experience this free annual event along Dade City’s historic Church Avenue, where singers, choirs, dancers and musicians perform along illuminated sidewalks and brightly decorated homes.
The street is closed to automobile traffic from Wednesday to Friday, December 21 to 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit his website at www.churchstreetchristmas.org.
The Ultimate Gift presented by Love First Christian Center
What do snowstorms, time travel and a stubborn donkey have in common? They are all necessary to tell the true meaning of Christmas. The Ultimate Gift is a fantastic journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. It will bring the family together as it caters to all ages, from the youngest to the oldest.
Bring your friends and family to see The Ultimate Gift on Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. at the Love First Christian Center, located at 12847 Balm Riverview Rd. in Riverview. Tickets are available from www.ultimategiftmovie.com.
Christmas in the Wild at the Tampa Zoo
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ZooTampa with Christmas back in the wild, featuring one of Tampa Bay’s greatest light shows, delicious holiday treats, incredible wildlife and new adventures. festive. This year is bigger, better and brighter than ever with entertainment the whole family can enjoy, including festive kingdoms, holiday shows and a visit with Santa.
Christmas in the Wild takes place on select nights from November to December. Visit www.zootampa.org for more information.
A Victorian Christmas Walk
Tampa’s Henry B. Plant Museum celebrates the warmth and spirit of the old-fashioned holiday with its Victorian Christmas Walk. Allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the magic of Christmas past, this holiday experience is a wonderful way to celebrate all that the season has to offer with a variety of delightful themes and exhibits in each exhibit hall. Decorations include visitor favorites from years past as well as new wonders that are sure to amaze.
The Victorian Christmas Walk will be available at the Henry B. Plant Museum, located at 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, Thursday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Dec. 23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Its website, www.plantmuseum.comhas more information.
Santa’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting
Be part of Tampa’s holiday tradition when Santa Fest returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park again this year. It will open on Sunday, December 4, after the popular parade through downtown Tampa. The parade route leaves at 1:30 p.m. and begins at Morgan Street, heads west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. After the parade, enjoy activities and entertainment at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and stay for the 6 p.m. tree lighting, followed by a screening of The Grinch movie to end the day.
Lakeland Christmas Parade
Organized by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland and the Town of Lakeland, the Lakeland Christmas Parade will take place on Thursday, December 1 starting at 7 p.m. Participants descend from the RP Funding Center to begin the 1.25-mile course that winds through city streets. , around Mirror Lake and back down Lemon Street. The floats are decorated to reflect this year’s theme of “Christmas Past, Present and Future”. The best, of course, is saved for last, as the parade ends with a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
Illuminated Holiday Boat Parades in the Tampa area
Tampa’s largest illuminated boat parade will take place on the Saturday before Christmas, December 17, along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Island, crosses the basin of the convention center and climbs to the heights, where the boats will turn around and head for Sparkman Wharf. Public viewing locations include Armature Works, Water Works Park and Channel Drive.
The annual Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade takes place on Sunday, December 11. She will leave the South Channel at 6 p.m. and head towards Lands End Marina before rounding the Lake Sunrise Basin, returning around Bal Harbour, then ascending the Flamingo Channel before returning and rounding Dolphin House at end of Grand Kaymen Drive, then up the canal to Symphony Isles.
Come meet members of the Tampa Sailing Squadron before the parade at their clubhouse, located at 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd. at Apollo Beach.
Alafia’s parade of lighted boats is always very popular with local residents. It will run along the Alafia River from the Riverview Civic Center to the River’s Edge Bar and Grill on Saturday, December 3, departing at 5 p.m.