Here's a look at some of the fun Christmas stuff that's coming up in the weeks ahead. To add an event to the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas on Main Street: Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
Celebrate the Christmas season with the sights and sounds of the season 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18 featuring carriage rides, carolers, lighting displays and Santa strolling the street. The event is free and open to the public. Information: lakewoodranch.com/mainstreet.
Ho! Ho! Ho! North Pole Express: Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish
Sing along with carolers on the North Pole Express on your way to the North Pole where you can pay a visit to Santa and enjoy a toy activity tent, a model railroad display, listen to storytelling, make reindeer food, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies around a cozy bonfire with a multitude of lighted displays. North Pole departure times are 5:30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 4-7, 11-14, and 18-22. Tickets: $24-$59 adults, $20-$52 children ages 1-11, children younger than 1 are admitted free. Private caboose is available for up to 16 travelers. Information: 941-776-0906 or frrm.org.
"Home for the Holidays": State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton
SCF will host a "Home for the Holidays" art sale fundraiser to help the homeless in our community 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 5 in the Student Building, featuring artistic gifts that explore "home" as a theme. Proceeds form the sales of the artwork will be split between the artists and Harvest House Transitional Centers, with each receiving 50 percent. The event is open to the public. Information: Joe Loccisano at 941-752-5225 or scf.edu.
Fifth annual Olde-Fashioned Village Christmas: Village of the Arts art walks: Village of the Arts, 1113 12th St. W., Bradenton
Enjoy an art walk through Bradenton's acclaimed artist colony 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6. This month highlights the holiday season featuring a special display of gingerbread houses, a Village Artists Christmas tree, carols by the famous Manatee Players English Dickens Carolers and a visit from Santa. Then take a stroll in the cool of the evening among 30 galleries and three restaurants all nestled in colorful 1920 cottages. Information: villageofthearts.com.
Palmetto's Christmas in the Park: Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum, 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto
Start your holiday festivities with an old-fashioned Florida Christmas, 5-9 p.m. Dec. 5-6 featuring decorated buildings, kids' crafts, reindeer games, entertainment and Santa Claus arriving by truck at 6 p.m. Activities include letters to soldiers, an "Honor Tree" in the Military Museum, old-time Florida recipes to collect in each of the park buildings, contests for prizes, model trains, petting corral and letters to Santa. The Early Learning Coalition and the North River Fire Department will be conducting a book give-away and car seat education and the Palmetto Fire Department will be providing bike helmets for children who need them. Admission is free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-721-2034.
"A Night Before Christmas": G.T. Bray park, 5502 33rd Ave Drive W., Bradenton
Manatee County welcomes Santa Claus, arriving by helicopter at 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at "A Night Before Christmas." The event will feature family activities including face painting, bounce houses, inflatable slide, trampoline power jump, cookie crafts and hayrides, plus 10 tons of snow. Admission is free. Information: 941-742-5923.
Annual Alternative Christmas Market: Kirkwood Church, 6101 Cortez Road, Bradenton
The Kirkwood, Palma Sola and Westminster Presbyterian Churches will co-host the 19th annual Alternative Christmas Market 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring holiday and everyday items. The event features nonprofit organizations with local, national and international ministries. All profits will benefit each participating organization. Information: 941-794-6229.
18th annual Toys for Tots car show: Bealls parking lot, S.R. 70, Bradenton
Bring your "cool ride" down to the Gulf Coast Corvette Club's 18th annual car show to benefit Toys for Tots 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 6. There will be cars, prize drawings and auctions. Registration for car owners is $20 or a new unwrapped toy. Proceeds will benefit the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. Information: 941-704-8856 or gulfcoastcorvettteclub.com.
Toys for Tots car show: Slicks Garage, 912 Fourth St. W., Palmetto
Slicks Garage will host a Toys for Tots car show beginning at 2 p.m. Dec. 6. Bring a new unwrapped toy greater in value than $5 to enter your car. Trophies at 5:30 p.m. There will be a prize for Best Christmas decorated vehicle. The Hamiltones will play live on stage. T shirts and other Christmas gifts will be available for sale. Information: facebook.com/slicks.garage.
Golf Lakes Christmas Bazaar: Golf Lakes, 5050 Fifth St. E., Bradenton
Golf Lakes will host its annual Christmas bazaar noon-3 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring jewelry, cards, quilting items, ceramics, many specialty items, Christmas and craft items. Information: 941-401-439-8097.
Horseshoe Cove Craft Sale: 5100 60th St. E., Bradenton
Horseshoe Cove will hold its annual Christmas Craft Sale 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 6 featuring fine hand paintings, lighted Christmas wreaths, knitted and crocheted items, casserole carriers, jewelry, afghans, wood carvings, scrubbies, purses, sweatshirts, kitchen towels, candy woven baskets, handmade gnomes, decorated pine cone ornaments and much more. Coffee and home baked goods will be available for purchase. Information: email@example.com.
"Daddy's Fund Christmas Party": Fisherman's Cove, 100 Palmview Road, Palmetto
The public is invited to "Daddy's Fund Christmas Party," 6-10 p.m. Dec. 6, a tribute to the late James R. Koch, featuring a night filled with dancing, music by Bob K the Rockin' DJ, prize drawings, door prizes and good food. Proceeds will benefit the trust fund set up for Jim Koch's two young daughters. Information: 941-729-3685.
Winter carnival: Manatee Elementary School, 1609 Sixth St. E., Bradenton
Shop for Christmas at Manatee Elementary School's Winter Carnival 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring arts, crafts, games and food. Information: 941-741-3319.
Nutcracker Tea Party: Riverhouse, Regatta Point Marina, 1001 Riverside Drive, Palmetto
The Dance Theatre of Bradenton will host its eighth annual Nutcracker Tea Party "Land of Sweets," noon-2 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring finger foods, tea service, a variety of desserts and sweets, and a performance of excerpts from "The Nutcracker" Ballet. Children will be able to join a ballet class and get to meet some of the "Nutcracker" cast members in full costume. There will be prize drawings. Tickets: $30-$35. Information: 941-345-9715 or bradentonnutcracker.com.
Entre Nous 2014 Holiday Tour of Homes: various locations in Bradenton
The 37th annual Holiday Tour of Homes will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 6-7 featuring five holiday-themed decorated homes and includes a Sweet Shoppe for baked goods and The Shoppes at Elf Alley for holiday inspired purchases. Many of the decorations and accessories in the homes are for sale. Tickets: $15-$20 donation. Maps of the tour may be obtained at any of the homes. Information: 941-748-8579 or entrenousmanatee.org.
Fifth annual "Holly Faire": Heritage Village West, 4100 66th St. Circle W., Bradenton
The fifth annual "Holly Faire," featuring unique arts, crafts and gifts made by local artists, will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7 with lunch served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both days. Information: 941-795-1006.
"Miracle in the Maze": Dakin Dairy, 30771 Betts Road, Myakka City
Follow the star and let the shepherds help you find the new born Jesus and a special message from Joseph and Mary to the "Miracle in the Maze" 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Visitors can experience a taste of Bethlehem at the Inn serving a biblical dinner for $8 or order from the Farm Market Café, or shop for unique gifts in the Bethlehem market. The market and nativity scene can also be visited 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays through Dec. 20. Admission: $15, free to children ages 1 and younger. A part of the proceeds will benefit Harvest House Centers. Information: 941-322-2802 or dakindairyfarms.com.
"Tinks for Tots": Tink's Lounge, 3102 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton
Support the kids this holiday season by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to Tink's Lounge for "Tinks for Tots," the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation fund-raising event, noon-6 p.m. Dec. 7. There will be a poker run, live entertainment, prize drawings, and a barbecue cookout. Information: 941-756-6481.
"A Victorian Christmas" at The Crosley: Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Enjoy an evening of festive holiday carols and tales at the Crosley's "A Victorian Christmas," featuring interactive theater including "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens in the Great Room, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry in the Bayfront room, "The Little Matchstick Girl" by Hans Christian Anderson and other holiday stories in the library and a children's story "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter and other holiday delights in Gwendolyn's room. Performances will be on select dates Dec. 9-21. Tickets: $15-$25. Information: 941-722-3244.
Artful Holiday party and sale: ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St., Bradenton
ArtCenter Manatee will host an Artful Holiday party and sale 5-7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12-13 featuring hand-crafted art and holiday items. Information: 941-746-2862.
Holidays Around The Ranch: Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
Watch the lighting of the tree, work on crafts in Santa's workshop, ice skate on an acrylic ice rink with skates provided, watch children's dance and music groups and welcome Santa's arrival along with other festive activities 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free. Information: lakewoodranch.com/mainstreet.
Bradenton Jingle Bell Run/Walk: 408 12th St. W., Bradenton
Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk, beginning with registration at 5 p.m. Dec. 12. The 5K starts at 7 p.m., the 1-mile at 7:10 p.m. The event will feature entertainment, many kid's activities, a holiday-themed costume contest, a silent auction and much more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. All participants will receive an official long-sleeve Jingle Bell T-shirt, goodie bag and jingle bells. Information: 941-708-3901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade: Bayfront Park to Bradenton Beach
The Anna Maria Island Privateers' Christmas Parade will kick off 10 a.m. Dec. 13 at the north end of the island and will travel down the length of the island to Coquina Beach Park where, in keeping with tradition, Santa will be on the Pirate's ship to hear each child's "wish list." Each child will receive a handful of fun pirate goodies and free hotdogs and sodas for all. Information: amiprivateers.org.
Annual Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade: various locations, Bradenton Beach
The 11th annual Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade will be Dec. 13 beginning with a lights on countdown between 6:15-6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Moore's Stone Crab restaurant after which the boats will sail the intercoastal water to finish at the Seafood Shack Marina. The event featuring multiple boats decorated with Christmas lights and other decorations. A mandatory skippers' meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Bridge Tender Inn, 135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach. There will be prizes for the best decorated boat in each category. Registration fee is a toy or a donation to Toys for Tots. Information on start time and registration: thecortezyachtclub.org.
Annual Christmas on Bridge Street: Historic Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Bridge Street will change into a Winter Wonderland 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 13 featuring live holiday music, special performances, kids activities and children's craft and cookies bazaar, lighted boat parade, Christmas crafts and baked goods, hot chocolate bar, live music by Russ and Brandi, Savannah Brady and Friends, and much more. Children interested in having a booth at the craft and cookies bazaar will be charged a nominal fee based on their grade level, but will be allowed to keep all the money they earn. Space is limited. Information: 941-713-3105.
Annual Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade: Manatee River, Bradenton
Boats of all sizes will be lit up with Christmas lights and other holiday decorations at the 17th annual Bradenton Yacht Club's Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade starting with "Lights On" 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and a judging at the Bradenton Yacht Club, then sailing the Manatee River, passing the downtown Bradenton area, returning to the BYC for the awards ceremony. Public viewing is free from many areas, including Pier 22 and alongside the Green Bridge in Bradenton, and the Regatta Point Marina and Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto. There will be a mandatory boat captain meeting for participating boats 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill, 995 Riverside Drive, Palmetto. Information: bradentonyachtclub.com.
"Sounds of the Season": Old Main Street, Bradenton
Join the City of Bradenton and the Del Couch Music Education Foundation as they present the "Sounds of the Season," 5-10 p.m. Dec. 13, an old-fashioned family friendly, community-wide event celebrating the holiday season. There will be carolers, performances by local musicians, real snow and a showing of the movie "Frozen" at 6 p.m. Bring chairs or blankets. The event is free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: cityofbradenton.com.
Holmes Beach annual Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts: City Hall Field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach
Anna Maria Island Art League's 27th Annual Winterfest Festival of fine Arts and Fine Crafts will be 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 featuring local, regional, national and international artists and crafters offering a wide variety of media. There will be "A Young at Art" exhibit with submissions from Elementary and Middle School students, live music, face painting and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-778-2099 or islandartleague.com.
Ballet "The Nutcracker": Manatee High School, Davis Center for the Performing Arts, 902 33rd St. Ct. W., Bradenton
The Bradenton Ballet Repertory, Dance Theatre of Bradenton, will perform the full "Nutcracker" ballet at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets: $18-$25. Information: 941-840-0863 or dancetheatreofbradenton.org.
"Plantation Christmas": Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, 3708 Patten Ave., Ellenton
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida Division, and the Florida Park Service will host the Plantation Christmas Open House 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14 featuring lifestyle demonstrations with volunteers wearing costumes reminiscent of the 1840-1870 era and the 4th Florida Volunteer Infantry dressed in military uniforms re-enacting a Confederate encampment. The mansion will be lavishly decorated and there will be music, crafts and fun for everyone. Admission is free. Information: 941-723-4536.
A "1914 Florida Cracker Christmas": Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton
Experience the charm of a holiday festival at "A 1914 Florida Cracker Christmas," 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14 featuring family-friendly entertainment, heritage artisans, performing arts groups and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission: $5 adults, free to children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-741-4076 or manateeclerk.com/historical/manateevillage.
"Star of Bethlehem": South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Palmetto
The "Star of Bethlehem" planetarium presentation will be 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17-18. Tickets: $5 members, $8 nonmembers. Information: 941-746-4131.
Santa Jaws at Mote Aquarium: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota
Bring your camera and take photos with Santa's helper shark "Santa Jaws" noon-2 p.m. Dec. 6, 13 and 20, featuring Mote Mascot Gilly the shark dressed up for the holidays. Visiting Santa Jaws is included with admission. Tickets: $19.75 adults, $18.75 seniors ages 65 and older, $14.75 children ages 4-12, free to children ages 0-3, free to Mote members. Information: 941-388-4441 or mote.org.
Holiday Nights at Ca'd'Zan: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Explore Ca'd'Zan during Holiday Nights at Ca'd'Zan 5-8 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18. Dressed for the holidays, the Ca'd'Zan will feature festooning fireplace mantels, balconies, doors and a 10-foot tall Christmas tree in the Grand Court. The event is included with Art After 5 admission, free to museum members. Information: 941-359-5700 or ringling.org.
Holiday Splendor at the Ringling: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
It's an evening of Holiday Splendor at The Ringling in the Museum of Art, Circus Museum and Ca'd'Zan, where you can celebrate the holiday season and help support the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for Sarasota and Manatee Counties 5-9 p.m. Dec. 4, featuring holiday music and performances by local elementary, middle and high schools. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free with one unwrapped toy per guest. Without a toy, admission is the regular Art After 5 admission: $10 adults, $5 children ages 6-17, free to children ages 5 and younger. Toys are also available for purchase at the Museum Store. Information: 941-359-5700 or ringling.org.
Holiday Nights of Lights: St. Armands Circle, Sarasota
A performance by the Cuban Ballet School will start off the celebration at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5 followed by the annual Christmas carol sing-a-long, the Santa Parade with the arrival of Santa in his sleigh and the tree lighting ceremony. Visitors can enjoy holiday entertainment throughout the evening. Information; starmandscircleassoc.com.
Jungle Gardens Holiday Lights Spectacular Celebration: Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Get into the spirit of the season 6-9 p.m. Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-24, 26-28 for fun family friendly holiday activities, a visit by Santa Claus, a "Candy Cane Lane," and one million lights decorating the pathways and surroundings of the gardens. Enjoy music and live entertainment, roast marshmallows, s'mores and hot dogs. A special holiday menu is available for $7.95 a person, child size meals are $5.95. Admission: $11 adults, $6 children ages 3-12, free for children ages 2 and younger. Information: 941-355-1112 or sarasotajunglegardens.com.
Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade: along Main Street, Sarasota
Enjoy the sounds and magic of the holiday season at the Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring decorated floats, live marching bands and the guest of honor, Santa Claus. Information: escape-to-sarasota.com/sarasota-holiday-parade.
Atomic Holiday Bazaar: Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
The seventh annual Atomic Holiday Bazaar, Florida's original indie arts and craft show, will be noon-5 p.m. Dec. 6-7 featuring more than 30 independent crafters. Admission: $5. Information: 941-954-4165.
Fourth annual Jingle Paws Jubilee: Payne Park, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota
The fourth annual Jingle Paws Jubilee will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 7 featuring festival fare, local vendors, holiday gifts, live music and adoptable pets. The Cat Depot will be on site and will host a Pawpurrs Walk to raise funds for kittens and cats in need. Registration for the walk: $20. Admission to the event: unopened dog or cat food. Information: jinglepawsjubilee.com.
"HD at the Opera House: White Christmas": Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
The Sarasota Opera will host "HD at the Opera House" featuring the Christmas movie classic "White Christmas" 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Information; 941-366-8450 or sarasotaopera.org.
Annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: Bayfront, Sarasota
The 29th annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade will be 6 p.m. Dec. 13 starting at City Island. Best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park.
Winterfest at the Mansion and the Sarasota Arts, Craft and Unique Gifts Show: Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
The annual Winterfest at the Mansion and the Sarasota Arts, Craft and Unique Gifts Show will be 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 featuring unique holiday arts and crafts by local, regional and national artists. Admission and parking are free. Information: sunsetboulevard promotions.com.
Live Nativity Scene at Big Cat Habitat: 7107 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota
Enjoy the spirit of Christmas at the Big Cat Habitat hosting a full live nativity scene 12:30-4 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 20-21. See animals in a close encounter of the exotic kind and browse the facility to learn about our exotic and endangered Siberian tigers, Royal Bengal tigers, African lions and rare white tigers. Admission: $15 adults, $7 children ages 3-12. Information: 941-371-6377 or bigcathabitat.org.
"Once Upon A Starry Christmas Night" annual Christmas concert: First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
Enjoy the music of the season and the 23rd annual Christmas concert and community carol sing 7-9 p.m. Dec. 14. Admission: free will donation. Information: 941-955-0935.
Fourth annual "Snow Fest Sarasota": Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 Tamiami Trail S., Sarasota
"Snow Fest Sarasota" will be noon-10 p.m. Dec. 19-23 featuring giant snow slides, reindeer rides, skating rink, pictures with Santa, snowman building, giant snow globe, Live Santa's extravaganza shows, caroling, carnival, petting zoo, bounce house, pony rides, snow mountain with 100 tons of snow falling at the "Winter Wonderland" and music by DJ Grinch. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free. Parking: $5.
"Lights in Bloom": Marie Selby Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Sip on hot chocolate while enjoying life-size garden-themed holiday light displays, transforming Marie Selby Gardens into a tropical wonderland 6-9 p.m. nightly Dec. 19-23 and continues Dec. 26-29. Kids and kids-at-heart can harken back simpler times with the vintage-style wooden toys and games and other festive family-friendly activities. Admission: $17 adults, $6 children ages 6-11, free to members. Information: 941-366-5731 or selby.org.
"Greet the Light Winter Solstice Celebration:" The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Enjoy live entertainment and dancing during "Greet the Light Winter Solstice Celebration" in the fabulous courtyard at the Ringling Art Museum 7-11 p.m. Dec. 20. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets: $10 members, $15 nonmembers. Information: 941-359-5700 or ringling.org.
Variety show "Tis The Magic Season": Sarasota Classic Car Museum, 5500 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Gypsy Allure, the Mistress of Magic, will present a unique Vegas style show "Tis The Magic Season" 8 p.m. Dec. 20, sprinkled with laughter, audience participation, illusions that will blow you away, and rare variety acts just in time for the Holidays. There will be a special vocal performance by Miss Mayven and a carnival executed by the most dangerous man in show business, Will Rotten. Tickets: $15-$25. Information: 941-351-2548 or gypsyallure.com.
Sailor Circus Holiday Spectacular: Sailor Circus, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota
Be transported as the world's longest running youth circus unleashes the power of The Enchanted Wand and leads a spectacular journey of circus arts entertainment guaranteed to captivate the entire family 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 27-28 and 30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 29. Travel through mystical lands and encounter magical creatures as the talented Sailor Circus Academy students perform amazing aerial acts, skilled unicycle stunts, incredible juggling feats, and so much more. The one-of-a-kind performance weaves an inspiring holiday story overflowing with all the magic of the season. Tickets: $18 adults, $12 children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-366-0156 or circusarts.org.
St. Petersburg Holidays of the Arts: South Straub Park, 198 Bayshore Dr. NE., St. Petersburg
Enjoy purchasing art at The St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 20-21 featuring exquisite handmade and original artwork from local, regional and national artisans offering a variety of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking and more. Admission is free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: paragonartevents.com/stpete.
First Night St. Petersburg: various locations downtown, St. Petersburg
First Night is a family oriented New Year's Eve Celebration of the Arts bringing music, art and entertainment 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 31. Participants can walk from venue to venue along St. Petersburg's busy, charming sidewalks, shops and over a hundred restaurants and bars for patrons to enjoy throughout the evening. Festivities include a FirstKids 4-7 p.m. with hat and mask making, the Second Time Arounders Musical Petting Zoo and Chihuly Noisemakers with the Morean Arts Center, the St. Pete Makers will host a LED light making station, puppet shows, fire and ice shows, science fun station, street performers and live music by various bands, a dragon procession at 11 p.m. and fireworks at midnight and much more. Admission buttons are available online at various sites of the event. Admission buttons are $10-$15 adults, $5-$10 children ages 6-12, admission for children ages 5 and younger is free. Information: 727-823-8906 or firstnightstpete.com.
Busch Gardens "Christmas Town": Christmas Town, the ultimate Christmastime experience for families will be open through Dec. 31 featuring special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and over a million twinkling lights. Guest can experience the event throughout the day, and park closing times will range from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the event. Christmas Town is included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission. For dates, times and special events information, call 888-800-5447 or visit buschgardens.com. The park is at 10165 N. Malcolm McKinley Drive, Tampa.
Lowry Park Zoo "Wild Wonderland": Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo will transform into a world of wintry wonder for Wild Wonderland, Dec. 6, 12-14, 18-23 and 26-30 as for 15 delightful nights, the forecast calls for 100 percent chance of snowfall with "Florida flurries" and more than a million twinkling lights. Guests can enjoy animated displays, enchanting light shows choreographed to joyful tunes, and dazzling decorations and radiant lights throughout the Zoo's pathways. Santa and his merry real reindeer will join their best-dressed friends, a charismatic colony of African penguins, and will stay up late along with spectacular African animals like elephants and giraffes under the starry night sky. There will be family favorites like free Zoo rides, reindeer games, fun inflatables, tasty holiday treats, festive music and wild gifts at the holiday shop. Other activities are "drop and shop" offered on Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21 as parent can enroll their children ages 3-12 in this fun day program 9:30-3 p.m. Camp is $30 for one child and $10 for each additional child, per date. The Zoo School offers holiday camps for students in grades K-8 Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 29-31. Special birthday parties are available for those born in December on select event nights and include a private birthday party room. Admission: $15 adults, $13 children ages 3-11, admission is free for children ages 2 and younger. For more details and information: 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.com. The park is at 1101 W. Sligh Ave, Tampa.
"Holiday Movie Classics": Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa
Come with family and friends and enjoy beloved holiday favorites on the big screen, including "Holiday Inn" Dec. 7, "White Christmas" Dec. 14, "It's a Wonderful Life" 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21.D "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Dec. 28. Unless otherwise noted, all movie times are 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $8 children and members. Information: 813-274-8981 or tampatheatre.org.
"ICE!" Christmas at Gaylord Palms: The magic of the Christmas season "ICE!" will be at Gaylord Palms Resort through Jan. 4 where guests can indulge in holiday merriment where the Dreams of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King will come to life in a full-on frozen wonderland and scenes from everyone's favorite ballet, The Nutcracker, will be reimagined in nearly two million pounds of hand-carved vibrant ice sculptures. The event will feature four slippery ice slides and live carving stations inside the Artisans in Action Frostbite Factory and Alpine Rush Snow Tubing on a giant snow hill created with 1.5 million pounds of real Florida snow. For ticket prices, opening hours and information visit christmasatgaylordpalms.com. The park is at 6000 W. Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee.
"Tis Is The Season" at Universal Orlando: Families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando's Holiday celebrations Dec. 6-Jan. 3 featuring the Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios with larger-than-life balloons, holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa himself Dec. 6, followed by acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, guests will smile during the heartwarming live show "Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular," and on select dates a special breakfast with the characters. All theme park holiday entertainment, including Mannheim Steamroller concerts, is included as part of park-to-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. A separate ticketed event is "EVE 2014," the New Year's Eve at Universal City Walk Dec. 31, featuring Orlando's largest dance floor, six unique party zones, access to CityWalk's high-energy nightclubs, live music, and more. For detailed information, location, opening hours and ticket prices visit UniversalOrlando.com/holidays.