The Best Things You Can Do This Weekend: Get into the holiday mood
Tree lightings, lighted boats, Christmas shows, city snows and lots more: Check out our list of holiday goings-on taking place today through Sunday.
11/30: Tampa Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6 p.m. Festivities begin in beautiful riverfront Curtis Hixon Park with a countdown to the tree lighting led by Mayor Buckhorn, followed by a free movie in the park. While you’re at Curtis Hixon, enjoy the outdoor ice rink, waterfront cafe, pop-up holiday shops and more at the Winter Village, which remains open through 1/5. And consider a River of Lights Christmas Cruise aboard the Pirate Water Taxi (Weekends, 11/30-12/30) for a unique view of the beautiful sights of the holiday season, passing beneath the lighted bridges over Hillsborough River. Entertaining narration and Christmas carolers, plus hot chocolate and a holiday cookie.
12/1, Dunedin Lighted Boat Parade, 7 p.m. Enjoy holiday music and s’mores while waiting for Santa to arrive by boat and lead the countdown in the lighting of the City’s Christmas tree in Dunedin Marina / Edgewater Park.
12/1: Clearwater’s Miracle on Cleveland Street, 5-10 p.m. Downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District will be transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with falling snow, an ice rink, horse-drawn carriage rides, tree lighting, pictures with that nice Claus couple — and, best of all, a free concert by New Orleans favorite the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Free, but VIP priority-seating packages available.
12/1: St. Petersburg Snowfest, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Activities in North Straub Park include a big and kiddie toboggan slide, art tent, karaoke, moonwalk, giant slide and a Kiddyland area designed especially for preschoolers with inflatable train and more. Wristbands are $5 and include all activities. Purchase in advance thru 11/30 at any St. Petersburg recreation center. And watch out for the man in the red suit: Santa will be in the park from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Thru 12/30: Largo’s Holiday Lights in the Garden, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Over 1 million LED lights shine throughout the Florida Botanical Gardens in nature- or holiday-themed light displays. $4 suggested donation.
HOLIDAY SHOWS & MOVIES
Opening 11/30: Every Christmas Story Ever Told @freeFall.When an actor cringes at the thought of doing yet another production of A Christmas Carol, he pairs up with two pals to create a mishmash of every Christmas story ever told, tapping into holiday traditions, seasonal icons, pop culture and every carol ever sung. freefalltheatre.com
12/2: A Christmas Story @ Tampa Theatre. Part of the Holiday Classics Series at Tampa’s iconic movie palace, screening at 3 p.m. tampatheatre.org.
12/2: Celtic Angels Christmas @ The Capitol. Feel like spending Christmas in Killarney? Capture the spirit with vocal and instrumental seasonal and Irish favorites along with championship Irish dancing. Capitol Theatre, rutheckerdhall.com.
Thru 12/30: Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley at American Stage. So what happened after Elizabeth Bennet married Mr. Darcy? What about her “bookish” sister Mary? And how do they celebrate Christmas at splendiferous country estates in 1815 England? This comic “sequel” to Pride and Prejudiceposes answers to these questions and more, bringing a contemporary comic twist to Jane Austen’s beloved novel. americanstage.com
12/1: Whiskers in Wonderland SPCA Tampa Bay, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pet photos with Santa, shop for holiday gifts, face painting, bouncy house and stations to make your own toys for shelter pets. 9099 130th Ave. N., Largo.
12/1-23: Victorian Christmas Stroll. Experience the extravagance of a Victorian Christmas at the Henry B. Plant Museum, the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel. Plant Museum, University of Tampa, Dec. 1-23, plantmuseum.com.
Select nights thru 12/30: Christmas in the Wild. ZooTampa comes alive with holiday lights, seasonal treats, enchanting entertainment and a 50-foot animated Christmas tree. Visit Santa in his Tree Top Lodge and marvel at the magic of wildlife at night. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Tampa, zootampa.org.
Thru 12/31: Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. The theme park is transformed into a holiday wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights! Santa will be available to take photos and the park will be open until 10 p.m. buschgardens.com.
Through December: The Mall (and the Money Machine) at Sundial. Downtown St. Pete’s multi-faceted shopping mecca is more intimate and certainly more elegant than your average mall, and this season it’s not only offering a plethora of good deals and great restaurants, it’s got holiday doings daily: snow every half hour from 6-9:30 p.m.; photo ops with Santa; holiday concerts by the likes of Black Honkeys and the Florida Orchestra; and — best of all — a Money Machine! Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sundial will select one person every hour (5-8 p.m. Fridays, 4-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) to get inside the Machine and grab as much cash as they can in 30 seconds. Once the 30 secs are up, Sundial will count the cash and issue a Sun Dollar gift card for the amount collected, valid at participating Sundial shops and restaurants. You have to be 18 or older and register during promotional hours to participate. Free money — how can you resist? Check out this video to see it in action.
12/1: Holizaar: Handmade Holiday Bazaar. The Studio@620 and St. Pete Craft Heroes present hand-made gifts by 26 fantastic local creators — jewelry, original art, cards, gift wrap, bath and body products, gifts for baby, holiday decorations, candles, pickles, and more. thestudioat620.org.
12/1: St. Pete Holiday Indie Market. Shop small this year at this open-air showcase of over 100 local and traveling makers, artists and creatives. Handmade goods, plants, upcyled furniture, indie home design, vintage clothing, organic body care, prints and greeting cards, leather, coffee and more. 6-9 p.m., Baum Aves, next to Green Bench Brewery, St. Petersburg.
12/1-2: ArtJones in Gulfport. An annual self-guided tour, show and sale of fine original art work in Gulfport. Studios are sprinkled through backyards and down alleys. Look for the colorful balloons! artjonesstudiotour.com.
Thru 12/23: Starry, Starry Delights @ DFAC. Artist-made sensations celebrating the season! Dunedin Fine Art Center’s annual national invitational of fine art, craft + design offers a fusion of gallery elegance with a marketplace of cool, affordable hand-made goods. dfac.org.
Thru 12/31: Florida CraftArt Holiday Boutique. Florida CraftArt in St. Pete converts its two gallery spaces into an artful shopping experience featuring fine jewelry, clay, glass, ornaments and more handcrafted by Florida’s most talented artists. floridacraftart.org.
NOT QUITE HOLIDAY FARE, BUT FUN
12/1: Brunched. The beloved weekend meal gets its culinary props as a variety of restaurants from Callaloo to The Peabody share their best brunch bites as guests build their own Bloody Marys, sip on mimosas and enjoy complimentary shuffleboard. 12-3 p.m., St. Pete Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Dr. N., St. Petersburg, brunchedtampabay.com
12/1, Florida Orchestra, Star Wars: A New Hope In Concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Fans will be able to experience the scope and grandeur of this beloved Star Wars film in a live symphonic concert experience.
12/1: One City Chorus at UUC of Clearwater, 7:30 p.m. St. Pete’s award-winning 140-voice community chorus sings songs of social justice, civil rights, diversity and equality under the leadership of charismatic conductor Jon Arterton. 2470 Nursery Rd., Clearwater, www.uuc.org
11/30 & 12/1: Raphael Xavier: Point of Interest. Crackling with bravado and high-energy physicality, Raphael Xavier distills the art of breakdancing to its purest form, sharing the stage with a multigenerational cast in a series of solos, duets and quintets to a soundscape of beats, spoken word poetry and musical rhythms. Historic Asolo Theater, Sarasota, ringling.org.
11/30 & 12/2: Opera Tampa’s Die Fledermaus @the Straz. The light-hearted, high-blood-alcohol-content revenge comedy that landed Johann “The Blue Danube” Strauss II his place in the operatic canon. strazcenter.org.