Lights in the Gardens continues nightly through Jan. 1 at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Dreaming of a white Christmas in Florida may be pointless, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Floridians can enjoy the winter holidays without worrying about freezing temperatures, blustery blizzards and mounds of snow.
Beneath daytime’s sunny skies, palm trees and night’s twilight tapestry of thousands of twinkling lights, Pinellas County residents and visitors enjoy seasonal plays and concerts, annual parades led by Santa himself and dazzling light shows happening all around Tampa Bay.
Following is a summary of holiday 2012 happenings.
• Plaza 100 Holiday Celebration, Thursday, Nov. 29, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Plaza 100, 100 Indian Rocks Road N., Belleair Bluffs. This complimentary musical holiday celebration will feature the Bayside String Quartet, principal players of the Florida Orchestra, with special guest Scott Behler, pianist, and strolling carolers from Indian Rocks Christian School. AAA Travel Agency will host a member appreciation night and Art at the Plaza will host an art show titled “Large Birds of Florida.” There will be refreshments and the shops will be open. Some seating will be provided. Guest may bring folding chairs. For information, call 421-4245.
• The annual Belleair Bluffs’ Holiday Event, Friday, Dec. 14, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Community Center, 2747 Sunset Blvd., Belleair Bluffs. The Salvation Army Band will be providing music. Following a welcome by Mayor Chris Arbutine, the tree will be lit heralding the arrival of Santa. There will be a hayride until 8 p.m. The Bluffs Business Association will donate refreshments. Residents are asked to bring canned goods, boxed food, baby formula, flour, sugar, peanut butter, rice, pasta, or canned juice or fruit to donate to RCS Food Bank. Anyone who brings a food donation will receive the city’s annual tree ornament.
• Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2012, starring David Benoit, Javier Colon, Sheila E. and introducing Margo Rey on Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall. This holiday tradition marking its 15th anniversary returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall with an uplifting, high-energy show the whole family will love. Get into the holiday spirit as some of music’s biggest and brightest names jam on fresh, lively arrangements of seasonal favorites. Reserved tickets priced at $85, $58 and $48 are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office located at 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater or by calling 727-791-7400 and online at www.rutheckerdhall.com.
• 10th annual Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, Nov. 24, 9 to 11:30 a.m., in the Margarete Heye Great Room at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Sponsored by the Leading Ladies of Ruth Eckerd Hall, this child-friendly breakfast buffet will feature a face painting, crafts with Santa’s elves, a sing-along and an opportunity to win a bike. Every participating child will take home a gift and a keepsake photo with Santa. An adult must accompany children. Parking is free. Cost is $20 a person. Proceeds will benefit the arts education programs at the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Free parking will be available. For information, call Anne Lauder at 595-6180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizers are seeking sponsors, donations and participants.
• The 20th annual Winter Wonderland event kicks off with its grand opening Friday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m. and continues through Sunday, Dec. 23, at the northwest corner of Fort Harrison Avenue and Drew Street, Thursday through Sunday, 6 to 9 p.m. View the holiday display with thousands of lights, decorated alpine cottages, pose for photos with Santa and enjoy cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. Other activities include a petting zoo with pony rides, train rides, bounce houses, entertainment, and a hot chocolate shop. Visitors are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or canned goods to donate to the needy.
• A joyful medieval Christmas celebration, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6-7, 7 p.m., at Clearwater Christian College, 3400 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Together with the drama department, the college choirs and orchestra will present an evening of medieval music and festivities featuring jugglers and jesters, lords and ladies, and humorous sketches reminiscent of the "merry old medieval days." The evening will conclude with a Christmas pageant and a carol sing-a-long. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, students, alumni and military. Call 726-1153, ext. 0.
• Simply Sinatra Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $18 and $25. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. Part of the 2012-13 Adults at Leisure Series, Steve Lippia returns to re-create Ol’ Blue Eyes just in time for Christmas. The show will blend holiday cheer, memories and jazz/swing standards with the energetic flair that only a big band can provide.
• Free photos with Santa, Friday, Dec. 7, 5 to 8 p.m., at Engel & Volkers Clearwater Realty, 432 Cleveland St., Suite B, Clearwater. Attendees will have an opportunity to have their child’s photo take with Santa for free.
• Bowzer’s Holiday Rock ’n’ Roll Party, Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. For the fourth consecutive year, Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of Sha Na Na fame returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall. This year his show will feature Little Anthony and the Imperials, Jay Siegel and the Tokens, The Crystals, Joey Dee and Johnny Contardo from the “Sha Na Na” television show and original lead singer of that group. Tickets start at $35. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
• Flavor of Jazz VII: A Peter White Christmas comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall with Mindi Abair and Rick Braun on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m. The Ruth Eckerd Hall/Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Band opens the show.
This popular trio, ambassadors of jazzy Christmas cheer, returns to Clearwater just in time to get you in the mood for the holidays. Guitarist Peter White returns to Clearwater and brings St. Pete’s own saxophonist Mindi Abair and trumpeter Rick Braun along to add to the holiday spirit smooth-jazz style.
Before the concert, local eateries will offer a wide variety of delicious food from fresh seafood to decadent desserts and everything in between, as well as a wine tasting for one to enjoy from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Proceeds benefit of The Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall and Clearwater Jazz Holiday Jazz Educational Programs.
Reserved tickets priced at $55 are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office located at 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater, by calling 727-791-7400 and online at www.rutheckerdhall.com 24/7. In addition, VIP tickets priced at $93 are available that include premium seating, early admission at 5 p.m., complimentary beer and wine during the tasting, and a post-show meet and greet.
• A Christmas Carol, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $25 and $35. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. Part of the 2012-13 Adults at Leisure Series and a cherished tradition, this longest-running production of the beloved Dickens classic is the story about ghosts of Christmases past, present and future who guide Scrooge on a journey of redemption as he discovers the spirit of Christmas and a new life filled with joy and love.
• The Nutcracker comes alive anew Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21-22, at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Show times are 7 p.m. both dates with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Clara and her Nutcracker family come to life in the all-new production by the Sarasota Ballet accompanied by the full Sarasota Orchestra. Reserved tickets priced at $75, $50 and $35 are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office, 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater, by calling 727-791-7400 and online at www.rutheckerdhall.com 24/7.
• The Dunedin Youth Guild presents the 43rd annual Holiday Tour of Homes, “Santa’s Helpers,” including a boutique and tea, Saturday, Dec. 1. These homes are exquisitely decorated in a variety of motifs. Each home has a personality of its own. This year the homes range from traditional Florida architecture to Florida Cottage style,” said a news release form the Dunedin Youth Guild Inc., which sponsors an event. The boutiqueis open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. Tour tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. For reservations or ticket information please call the Dunedin Youth Guild at 734-0394.
• “My Old Home Town Christmas,” presented by Dunedin Concert Band, Friday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 p.m., in the Edinburgh Hall at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. The Dunedin Concert Band, under the direction of music director and conductor Louis Alan Zagar, will mark the beginning of its 31st concert season with two performances of the annual Christmas spectacular “My Old Home Town Christmas.”
A Boston Pops-styled concert, it will present some of the holiday season’s most exciting and unique musical selections from hometowns across the country and around the world. The DCB will introduce local soprano and superb jazz stylist, Erica DiCeglie, in a delightful tune called “Snow Day Celebration.” Zagar wrote special lyrics just for this concert presentation. There will be some musical shenanigans too, first with a performance of “Cowboy Christmas.” The concert will be presented free to the public with a free-will donation at the concert’s conclusion. A pre-concert performance by the newly-formed DCB Brass Quintet will begin approximately 30 minutes before each Dunedin Concert Band performance. For information, call 812-4530.
• Holiday Lights in the Gardens, Nov. 23 through Jan. 1, nightly, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. With more than 500,000 lights adorning the thousands of plants and trees, visitors will once again get in that holiday spirit. Visitors will enjoy a new laser light show as well as lights decorating the new vinery garden and fountains at McKay Creek. A donation of $2 is requested for adults and children 12 years and older. Admission is free for children younger than 12. Refreshments will be available for purchase. For information, visit www.flbg.org.
• Holiday Traditions at Heritage Village, Nov. 24 through Dec. 30, at Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N., Largo. The Pinellas County Historical Society will sponsor its annual Holiday Traditions. Visitors to this 21-acre living history museum will find the enchanting historical houses decorated true to their time period, locality and lifestyle, from an elaborately decorated Victorian home to a simply adorned 1852 log cabin. Heritage Village is open open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. For information, call 582-2123 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage.
• Saturday, Dec. 1, is the popular Trees and Traditions at Heritage Village. Enjoy an open house with refreshments, children’s activities and crafts, holiday music, tours and a special visit from Santa Claus. This event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is free to children younger than 12; suggested minimum donation of $2 for adults. Heritage Village is located at 11909 125 St. N. in Largo. For more information, call 727-582-2123 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage.
• Santa's Holiday Revue, Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive. Santa's Holiday Revue is a fast-paced rollicking musical that takes a joyous round the world tour of the dances, songs and stories from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and many more. Students will sing, clap and tap along as they learn new and old traditions, customs and folklore that instill the magic of the season. This wonderful jubilee creates a memorable and heart-warming experience that celebrates the true spirit of cultural diversity. Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for children. Call 587-6793 or visit LargoArts.com.
• Holiday Tree Lighting and Stroll, Saturday, Dec. 1, 5 to 9 p.m., at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. Largo Central Park will host an extravagant light display featuring a million LED lights depicting playful scenes. Activities will include holiday crafts, a visit from Santa and a toboggan snow slide. A variety of delicious festival foods and desserts will be available for purchase. There will be live performances on the mobile stage and other special places around the park. Entertainment will feature aerial acrobatics, dancing, singing and puppets. Visit LargoEvents.com. Admission is free. On-site parking costs $5.
• Very Merry Christmas Party, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. Attendees will get into the holiday spirit with the eighth annual Very Merry Christmas Party. Eileen and friends will cook up a delicious meal. After dinner, attendees will enjoy a lively holiday show. During the show, organizers will be loading up the golf carts for a tour of the lights in Largo Central Park. Cost is $15. Call 518-3131 or visit largocommunitycenter.com.
• The Lowe Family Christmas, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2 and 7 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive. Tickets are $22.50. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com. By popular demand, the Lowe Family will be back this year with an all-new Christmas show. The multi-talented Lowe Family weaves the magic of Christmas through show-stopping instrumental, spectacular dance and lush harmonies. Attendees will experience the sights and sounds of the holidays with this phenomenal power-packed show, exquisitely costumed and packaged.
• Winter Wonderland, Friday, Dec. 7 at 6 to 8 p.m., at McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St. N., Largo. Cost is $5 a person; children 2 and younger admitted free. Make holiday memories throwing snowballs with real ice shavings, making winter crafts, going on night hikes and roasting s'mores by the campfire. Preregistration is required. Call 518-3047.
• Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Saturday, Dec. 8, 9:30 to 11 a.m., at Southwest Recreation Complex, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. Cost is $5 for residents, $6.25 for nonresidents and $9.25 for guests. Registration is required by Dec. 3. Call 518-3125. The sleigh has just pulled into town. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the man in the red suit, listen to a classic holiday story, get creative with crafts, get active with games and enjoy a holiday snack. Attendees should bring a camera, as time will be set-aside for little ones to have their picture taken with Santa.
• A Big Band Christmas featuring The 10 O'Clock Swing Band, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m., at The Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets are $24.50 (add $5 at the door). This show will feature cabaret seating. Call 587-6793. Attendees will experience one of the best 18-piece big bands in the area performing a special holiday show in swinging style. Toes will tap and hands will clap as this band plays swinging holiday music for dancing and listening enjoyment. Visit LargoArts.com.
• Pinellas Paws Cause Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 8, is a great opportunity to share the holiday spirit with the whole family at Pinellas County Animal Services. Meet Captain Barky, the new star ambassador for Animal Services. Enjoy music by Radio Disney, food trucks, K-9 demonstrations, obedience dog training and free drawings. Photos with Santa Paws are available for a $5 donation. Dogs and cats will be ready and waiting to go home to new adopted families with $20 adoption and $5 rabies shot specials. About 30 animal rescue groups, the SPCA Tampa Bay and the Humane Society will be on hand. Vendors will offer crafts and specialty pet-themed items, pet services and animal-related products, and Florida Blood Services will be site. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free to pets and families. All proceeds will benefit the Animal Welfare Trust Fund. All dogs must be leashed. Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. For more information, call 727-582-2600 or www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices.
• Holiday Show, part of the Sunday Matinee Music Series Dinner and Show, Sunday, Dec. 9, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. Cost is $13 in advance or $15 at the door. Call 518-3131. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon filled with a wonderful show and incredible dinner. Some of the area's best performers will light up the stage for this once-a-month production. The Suncoast Barbershop Harmony Society will perform the holiday show.
• Cool Yule Holiday Show, presented by The Hot Club of San Francisco, Sunday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets are $26.50 in advance or $31.50 at the door. The show will feature cabaret seating. Call 587-6793. Attendees will fire up the holidays with a swinging gypsy wagon trip to the North Pole featuring many favorites and some rare seasonal gems. This dazzling holiday offering has something for everyone as the performers make this season bright with the flames of gypsy jazz. Visit LargoArts.com.
• 21st Annual Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 to 11 a.m., at St. Jerome Early Childhood Center, 10895 Hamlin Blvd., Largo. Advanced tickets are $6 each or $30 for a family of five or more. At the door, cost is $7 or $35 for a family of five or more. Cost includes breakfast, face painting, kiddie-crafts and a visit with Santa. Children of all ages will enjoy the variety of activities offered. This event is open to the entire community. Raffle tickets also will be available. Call 596-9491 or visit stjeromeearlychildhoodcenter.org.
• The Nutcracker, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, 1 and 6 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets are $22.50 in advance or $25.50 at the door for adults; and $20.50 for students age 12 and younger. Call 587-6793. Audience members will join Clara on her journey to save her beloved Nutcracker from the giant mice who battle toy soldiers. Then, it’s on to the palace of the Sugarplum Fairy with dancing candies and waltzing flowers. Visit LargoArts.com.
• Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, Dec. 15, 9 a.m., at Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave., Largo. Cost is $8 a child and $3 for adults. Call 518-3016. Santa is making his list and checking it twice to see if area children will join him for breakfast. Santa's helpers will be serving breakfast, helping with crafts and taking pictures. Preregistration is required by Dec. 12.
• 12th annual Tutterow Stars of Tomorrow Holiday Spectacular, Saturday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., at Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. Tickets are $12. Call 518-3131. The evening will be filled with dancing, singing and much more. The Tutterow Stars of Tomorrow will be accompanied by the Indian Rocks Christian School High School Ensemble, St. Jerome’s Bell Ringers and Largo's Barbershop Quartet.
• Palm Harbor’s 30th annual Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m. The parade kicks off at Nebraska Avenue and Westlake Boulevard and heads west toward downtown Palm Harbor. Santa will visit with the children at Jones Plaza on Florida Avenue immediately following the parade.
• Holiday in the Park, 10th annual Winterfest, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave. N., Pinellas Park. Event hours will be Friday, 6 to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Come celebrate the holidays as the Pinellas Park Police Explorer Post 912 and the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association present Holiday In the Park. This community-wide family event will feature children's games, entertainment, photos with Santa or Mrs. Claus on Friday night and children’s train rides until 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 488-6321.
• Pinellas Park Recreation presents the 2012 Holiday Hayride Thursday, Dec. 6, 6:30 to 10 p.m., at Forbes Recreation Center, located at 6401 94th Ave. N. Watch holiday movies while you wait for your ride. Refreshments will be served afterwards. Advanced registration and tickets are required. Riders should arrive 30 minutes prior to their ride time. Children 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Call 541-0882 for more information.
• “Cool Yule at the City,” Dec. 7-16, at St. Petersburg City Theatre, 4025 31st St. S., St. Petersburg. Performances are Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students and children. Call 866-1973 or visit www.spcitytheatre.org. Santa's on a skateboard and Frosty is doing the "hand jive." The Chipmunks are having a fruitcake throw-down with jazzy holiday tunes and sentimental favorites. It all makes up City Theatre's offering of "Cool Yule at the City." This two-hour holiday musical treat is the brainchild of David Middleton and Thom Guthrie. The cast of 25 singers includes 9-year-olds to seniors. Many of the soloists have been seen on the City Theatre stage as well as throughout the community.
• Pinellas Park 40th Annual Holiday Parade, Saturday, Dec. 8, 6 p.m. The parade will begin on Park Boulevard between 58th Street and 43rd Street. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to come early and dive into a spot along Park Boulevard to catch this year's parade. The theme this year is Christmas. The event will feature bands, floats, soldiers, dancers and equestrian groups. Call 831-3916 or visit www.celebratepinellaspark.com.
• Redington Beach Property Owner's Association sponsors the annual Holiday Tree Lighting on Saturday Dec. 1, at 4:45 p.m. Wait for the arrival of Santa, courtesy of the Madeira Beach Fire Department. The park lights up at Dusk. The Redington Beach Garden club will provide cookies and Pizza will be provided by Jet’s Pizza, Bay Pines. Town Park is located at Gulf Boulevard and 164th Avenue. Fun for all ages. Come out and kick off the holidays with your neighbors and friends. For more information, call Anna Wiggers, 727-510-8957
St. Pete Beach
• St Pete Beach and South Pasadena Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is Friday, Dec. 7, with a start time of 6 p.m. at the Blind Pass Bridge and heading south ending at the Bayway Bridge. Those interested in having their boat in the parade can contact the St Pete Beach Recreation Department at 727-363-9245. There are cash prizes available and entry is free.
St Pete Beach’s Holiday Festival and boat parade viewing party in Horan Park and Community Center also begins at 6 p.m. Join us as we light up the city holiday tree, enjoy live music, crafts, visit from Santa, see the MADD festival of trees and more holiday fun for all ages. Boats can be seen from the event as they pass south towards the Bayway Bridge. For more information, visit spbrec.com or call 727-363-9245.
• Third annual MADD Festival of Trees & Wreaths is Friday, Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m., at Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive in St. Pete Beach. View a display of beautifully decorated trees and wreaths sponsored by local businesses. Vote for your favorite tree or wreath by $1 donation that will benefit the Pinellas County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. For more information, call Amber Saltzman, MADD state development officer, at 813-935-2675, Ext. 5 or email email@example.com.
• Studio@620 and The Palladium present Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity with Sharon Scott, A Musical African-American Holiday Tradition, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-25. The show is free and open to the public. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Seating is limited. Call the box office at 727-822-3590 for complimentary tickets. The Palladium is located at 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg.
• 36th annual Oakdale Christmas Light Display will shine Friday, Nov. 23 through Jan. 3, 2013. Enjoy “hundreds of thousands of lights,” a walking yard tour that includes a 18-train HO scale model railroad, many moving and animated objects, inflatable and lighted figures and displays, hands-on games for the kids and more. Several Christmas trees tower over the display rising to 70 feet. The display covers about ½ acre. Location is 2719 Oakdale St. S. in St. Petersburg. Lights are on from 6 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.ChristmasDisplay.org.
• Second annual Richard Nader Rock and Roll Concert to benefit Toys for Tots, Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m., at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N. Tickets start at $30. Call 822-3590 or visit www.spcollege.edu/palladium. This year’s lineup will include Tommy Mara and The Crests, The Mystics, Johnny Thunder and special guest artist The Impacts. The show will feature holiday favorites. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Toys For Tots. Those in attendance at the concert will be entered in the drawing for a holiday gift basket valued at $500. A Toys for Tots volunteer will be available to collect new unwrapped toy donations at the concert.
• Holizaar 5, the fifth annual handmade holiday bazaar sponsored by the Studio@620 and St. Pete Craft Heroes, is Saturday Nov. 24, from 3 to 8 p.m. Twenty-one unique artisans will offer their handmade creations, including origami to original artwork, ceramics to quilts. Admission is $3 at the door which supports The Studio@620. The Studio@620 is a nonprofit arts venue located at 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg. Visit www.studio620.org.
• St. Petersburg Ballet Company presents Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m., at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $20. Call 727-822-3590 or visit www.spcollege.edu/palladium. Year in and year out, Academy of Ballet Arts production of The Nutcracker showcases future dancers/students of such world-renowned schools/companies as Julliard, Boston Conservatory, Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, Cirque du Soleil, Lord of the Dance, etc. Come watch tomorrow's superstars of dance on the stage of St. Petersburg's very own historic Palladium Theater. Suzanne Pomerantzeff is director and chief choreographer for this timeless classic.
• The Palladium Side Door presents Celtic Christmas with Harry O’Donoghue Thursday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 day of show. Harry O’Donoghue is a storyteller, songwriter and ambassador of contemporary and traditional Irish folk music. Carroll Brown is also a much-loved artists on the Celtic music circuit. Together, their Celtic Christmas show is a mix of popular carols, along with some original compositions and Irish holiday songs. The Palladium is at 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Call 727-822-3590 or visit www.spcollege.edu/palladium.
• WMNF and Studio@620 present It’s a Wonderful Life, Radio Theatre Project… and more holiday favorites Sunday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Be part of a live studio audience and participate in authentic radio theatre, complete with sound effects. This benefit show for the Radio Theatre Project will foster the holiday spirit with music, gifts and the magic of radio. Plus a special episode of The Continuing Adventures of Noel Berlin, Cabaret Detective written just for the occasion. Call 727-822-3590 or visit www.spcollege.edu/palladium.
• “A Christmas Carol,” by Keith Ferguson and Bruce Greer, Dec. 13-30, at freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Call 498-5205 or visit www.freefalltheatre.com. Performances are Thursday, 7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $37 for adults and $34 for students, seniors and military members. There is a $7 surcharge for premium seating.
• Nate Najar’s Jazz Holiday in Hough Hall Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m., at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $35 and $25. Call 727-822-3590 or visit www.spcollege.edu/palladium. Leading an all-star band, consummate guitarist Nate Najar returns with an all-new holiday music show. This year’s band features national jazz artists – Ken Peplowski (clarinet and saxophone) and Chuck Redd (vibes) – plus the legendary John Lamb (bass), local favorite Stephen Bucholtz (drums), and a special guest vocalist. Nate and the band will be doing a portion of Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker along with holidays favorites. This determined music raconteur with an old soul is singlehandedly reintroducing the finger-style nylon string classical guitar technique to a new generation of music lovers. Channeling the essence of Charlie Byrd, Najar’s expressive blend of phrasing, groove and rhythmic refrain delivers compositions informed with his passion for all music, from traditional jazz, to blues, gospel, and sizzling Brazilian beats.
• A Christmas Cantata by The Island Singers joined by the Second Winds, Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 and 7 p.m., at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Featured at this free concert will be the Island Singers, an offshoot of the renowned Second Time Arounders Marching Band. The group enters its ninth year of bringing together 80-plus singers from across the Tampa Bay area that have sung in choirs in years past and want to do it again. For more information, email Info@TheIslandChapel.org.
• St. Petersburg Opera presents Seasonal Sparkle with Mark Sforzini as artistic director, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 18-19, 7:30 p.m., in Hough Hall at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $21.50, $34.50, $49.50, $64.50. Call St. Petersburg Opera at 727-823-2040. Seasonal Sparkle returns for another glorious salute to the holidays. The acclaimed St. Petersburg Opera chorus and orchestra will be joined by soloists for a dazzling performance. A treat for the whole family, highlights of the evening will include a portion of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, excerpts from the Nutcracker ballet, some of opera's most beautiful arias and a sneak preview of next season's most exciting music. In addition, the orchestra will play favorite carols and songs to instill the holiday spirit.
• Wynonna Judd, presenting “Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas,” Friday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m., at The Mahaffey, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. Tickets start at $39. Call 892-5767 or visit www.themahaffey.com. Judd – a five-time Grammy Award winner – combines her smoky vocals and powerful stage presence to bring “Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas” to The Mahaffey. Joined on stage with her longtime band, The Big Noise, the fiery redhead blends a mix of classic Christmas favorites and some of her biggest hits. “Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas” will infuse Judd’s signature style into traditional holiday classics like “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” for a completely different holiday performance for the entire family.
• Moscow Ballet, presenting the Great Russian Nutcracker, Friday, Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 29, 2 p.m., at The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. Tickets start at $32.50. Call 893-7832 or visit www.themahaffey.com. The Moscow Ballet will perform a unique 20th Anniversary production of the acclaimed Great Russian Nutcracker for a two-day engagement at The Mahaffey. The production will include new Stanislov Vlasov choreography called “Dove of Peace,” in which two dancers become one soaring bird. Vlasov, a former dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet was the choreographer/ballet master of Moscow Ballet’s inaugural 1993 Great Russian Nutcracker.
• The city of Safety Harbor is hosting its annual Holiday Bargain Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Community Center, 650 Ninth Ave. S.. Vendors will sell their handcrafted items inside and outside the Community Center. This rain or shine event will have everything from hand-crafted jewelry to hand-knitted clothing for your four-legged friend. All items priced at $25 or less. For information, email Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727-724-1530. For other holiday events in Safety Harbor, visit www.safetyharborevents.com.
• Come out to Main Street Safety Harbor on Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m., to celebrate 95 years of history at the 32nd annual Holiday Parade. Traditionally, the parade draws more than 100 entries including the Shriners, car clubs, antique fire engines, Pinellas County Sheriff's vehicles, clowns, local girl and boy scouts, local dignitaries, local high school band, and much more. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a trip down from the North Pole for this festive event. Parade entry applications are online at www.safetyharborevents.com, or call the Safety Harbor Community Center at 727-724-1530. Application deadline is Dec. 1.
• Bright Before Your Eyes Holiday Parade, Sunday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m. Parade begins at the Seminole Mall on 113th St. and ends at the Recreation Center. Call 727-392-3245.
• Holiday Winter Fest & Tree Lighting, Friday, Dec. 14, 5:30 to 9 p.m., at the Seminole Recreation Center, 9100 113th St. N. Activities include a snow slide, carolers, crafts, hayrides and more. Call 727-391-8345 or visit www.myseminole.com.
• Annual Lights of Love, Thursday, Dec. 6, 5:30 to 8 p.m., at Florida Hospital North Pinellas, 1395 S. Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs. Presented by the Florida Hospital North Pinellas Auxiliary Volunteers, the ceremony will combine the holiday traditions of celebrating and giving. The Christmas tree will be decorated with ornaments that have been donated by the community, and special this year – a commemorative ornament to honor veterans and those serving in the Armed Forces. Attendees will gather on the front lawn to celebrate the holidays with sounds of the season and the illumination of the Lights of Love Christmas Tree. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with complimentary seasonal refreshments provided in the hospital’s Allspice Café, followed by the ceremony from 6:30 to 8 p.m., which will include live musical entertainment, a dedication to veterans and a visit from Santa and his elves. Call 942-2558.
• “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some)” will be presented at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center Friday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 2, and Friday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 9. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 and $14 for members and students. Opening night tickets are $10.
Rather than performing Charles Dickens’ holiday classic again, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told with holiday traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop culture, and every carol ever sung.
According to organizers, it is a romp through the holiday season starring Rick Bronson, Rick Hite and Drew Lundquist.
• “T’is the Season,” presented by the South Pasadena Community Band, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., at the Treasure Island Community Center, 1 Park Place and 106th Avenue, Treasure Island. The free concert will include the South Pasadena Community Church’s Pasadena Camerata, under the direction of Bob Dricks. Selections will include “A Vaughn Williams Christmas,” “The Nutcracker Suite,” “March of the Toys,” “Still, Still, Still” and other seasonal pieces.
• World Vision presents The Story Tour A Christmas Celebration Monday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m., at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. Tickets range from $25 to $77.50 and are available through Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. The Tour features favorite Christmas carols as well as The Story, a musical journey from Genesis to Revelation. The show is accompanied by a full choir and orchestra with stars Mark Hall, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah, Rawsrvnt and renowned author and pastor, Randy Frazee. For more information, visit www.SunDomeArena.com.
• Wild Wonderland at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is Dec. 8, 14-23, 26-30, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Meet Santa and his merry mammals, including real reindeer. Chill out on the new Artic Blast Ice Slide, 100 feet of frozen fun in the Reindeer Games area. The penguins are dressed in their black and white best, and for the first time, African animals will be on exhibit under the starry night sky. More merriment awaits with charming animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats. General admission is $13 for adults and $11 for children (ages 3-11). Annual Zoo Pass holders receive discounted admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit visit LowryParkZoo.com. The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48).
• Presents for Primates at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Friday, Dec. 14, 11 a.m. Watch the primates open special presents from Zoo staff and docents as part of their enrichment program. Presents for Primates is included free-of-charge with Zoo admission. Zoo daytime admission prices are: adult - $24.95, seniors (60-plus) - $22.95, children ages 3-11 - $19.95, and children 2 and under admitted free. Daytime admission includes amusement rides. Parking is free. For more information, visit LowryParkZoo.com.
• Noon Year’s Eve at Lowry Park Zoo, Monday, Dec. 31, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ring in the New Year family style at the annual “Noon” Year’s Eve daytime celebration hosted by the Zoo and Radio Disney AM 1380. The party begins when the Zoo opens with games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational displays and more. Families can ring in the New Year with noisemakers, hats and a juice toast as they watch the clock strike noon. Activities are included with Zoo admission. Zoo daytime admission prices are: adult - $24.95, seniors (60+) - $22.95, children ages 3-11 - $19.95, and children 2 and under admitted free. Daytime admission includes amusement rides. Parking is free. For more information, visit LowryParkZoo.com.