A Manatee holiday lights tour

December 12, 2010 

Christmas lights are all aglow in Manatee County. On nearly every corner, there are Santas on rooftops, lighted reindeer on lawns and homes that look like colorful gingerbread houses. For some residents, it’s as much of a tradition to tour the area seeing the lights as it is for those who display them. Thanks to our readers -- who submitted addresses for local homes decked out with Christmas cheer -- finding holiday lights will be easy. Just follow our guide.

Those who don’t feel like driving at night can take advantage of Manatee County’s tour of lights, which is open to all ages. The bus tours begin at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 16-19. There are two pick-up points: State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29, Bradenton, and the Manatee Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Residents are asked to be there between 6 and 6:30 p.m. so the tour can start promptly. Though the tour is free, guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item. For more information, call 747-8621.

Address: 3513 Sixth Ave. W., Palmetto

Details: Santa Claus on sleigh with three reindeer, Nativity, rotating snowman, carousel, Ferris wheel, lighted penguin, angels and the three kings, Rudolph and more. Take Eighth Avenue West to 33rd Street West to Sixth Avenue West (Bayou Estates North).

Address: 1028 Ellenton Gillette Road, Ellenton

Details: Candy cane tree, 10 to 12 blow-up displays house done in blue white lights, 10-foot Santa, many snowmen. It’s our 20th year. Take U.S. 301 heading east toward Ellenton, turn left on Ellenton Gillette Road or 36th Avenue East.

Address: 6326 Yellowtop Drive, Lakewood Ranch

Details: Rudolph the red-nosed pink flamingo leading Santa’s sleigh, lighted oak tree with ornaments, see-saw with characters, ski lift with characters riding it, lighted penguin, snowman, Santa, nutcracker, alligator, deer, and much more. Take State Road 70 E., right on to Lakewood Ranch Blvd., left at first light on Summerfield Parkway, first left on Fox Grape Lane, right on Winding Woods Way, first right on Yellowtop Drive.

Address: 4530 Ninth St. E.

Details: Twin Oaks. Fifty homes here, 45 decorated. The street is ablaze with lights. Many drive through, some in buses. A real gotta see! Between State Road 70 and 301 Boulevard on Ninth St. E.

Address: 8239 57th Ave. W., Bradenton

Details: A lot of 3-D characters. Mickey, Minny, Snoopy, Tigger, Whinny and more. Flying Santa and reinder, penquins, a lot of snow people, carolers and manger scene with the people and animals and much more. Going south on U.S. 41, turn right onto 57th Avenue about 10 blocks, house is on the right at corner of 25th Street. Display is on 57th Avenue and more on 25th Street.

Address: 3417 34th Ave. Drive W., Bradenton

Details: 80 lighted candy canes, arches with flashing lights. Off Southern Parkway

Address: 2708 Bay Drive, Bradenton

Details: This year we will feature 15,000 computer-controlled, cell phone activated lights. Drive up, call the posted number from your cell phone and watch the lights dance to a selection of holiday music. Take Florida Boulevard to Georgia Boulevard, south to Bay Drive, take left. House is on right!

Address: 4420 100th St. W. Bradenton

Details: 15 blow ups, seven reindeers and

sleigh. December bridge for Christmas and wedding and lots of lights and homemade crafts. West on Cortez Road to 100th Street. Left on 100th Street, fourth house on right.

9. Address: 6701 22nd Ave. W., Bradenton

Details: Animations, music, lights

Address: 6902 Pointe West Blvd., Bradenton

Details: This yard features a Santa Claus theme with eight lighted reinder and Santa in his sleigh. A curb-side life-size Santa sings and dances. Hundreds of lights adorn the house and lawn. Turn west off 59th Street West on to Point West Blvd.

Address: 12th Ave. Drive W., Bradenton

Details: “Christmas Street.” Whole neighborhood is lit up with fantastic lighting displays.

Address: 2720 12th Ave. W. Bradenton

Details: Merry go-round, carousel, snow globe, Santa Claus in his chair, Santa being pulled by flamingos and Santa on skis.

Address: 2104 12th Ave. W., Bradenton

Details: Many blow ups with Santa in the yard and tons of lights.

Address: 5504 1st Ave Dr. N.W., Bradenton

Details: Santa and Mrs. Clause are swinging as they watch over Rudolph and 17 of his friends. Frosty is playing with eight of his friends as one more is parachuting in. You can also see Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men. There are twinkling red bells and the house is being protected by soldiers. From Manatee Avenue, go north on 59th Street. Turn left on First Avenue Drive N.W. Go to the stop sign and keep going straight and look for the house on your left.

Address: 7511 First Ave. W., Bradenton

Details: Christmas carols singing under the stars with Mr. and Mrs. Clause watching close by. Twinkling red bells, surrounded by red, green and clear lights have provided a safe place for Rudolph and Santa to visit with a sleigh loaded with presents. From Manatee Avenue, go north on 75th street. Turn left on First Avenue West and you will see the house on your left.

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