The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation opens its 2013 Holiday Lights in the Gardens Nov. 29.
No snow is needed to celebrate the winter holidays in Pinellas County. Plenty of festive fun can be found throughout each and every town, including the following.
Holiday boat parades
• St Pete Beach and South Pasadena Holiday Lighted Boat Parade ST. PETE BEACH – The St. Pete Beach and South Pasadena holiday boat parade and tree lighting is Friday, Dec. 6. The boat parade starts at 6 p.m. at the Blind Pass Bridge and heads south to the Bayway Bridge. Free tree lighting festivities take place at Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. Enjoy crafts, music, lighting of the Christmas tree, a visit with Santa, music, food and refreshments. Visit www.spbrec.com for more information including the parade route and boater application, or call 727-363-9264.
• Lighted Boat Parade and Tree Lighting DUNEDIN - Lighted Boat Parade and Tree Lighting is Saturday, Dec. 7, 6 to 9 p.m., at Dunedin Marina/Edgewater Park, 51 Main St. Decorated, lighted boats will leave Marker 1 Marina at 6 p.m. and proceed south through the Intracoastal Waterway to Marker 2, turn around and arrive at the Dunedin Marina at about 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Dunedin Boat Club, Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department and Marker 1 Marina. Festivities also include Holiday music, s’mores and Santa arriving on the last boat and preside over the tree lighting ceremony. Free to attend. Bring lawn chairs. For boat registration, call 692-6440. For general information, call 812-4531.
• Boca Ciega Yacht Club's Lighted Christmas Boat Parade GULFPORT - The Boca Ciega Yacht Club, a not for profit organization of more than 200 family memberships, is holding its 28th Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday Dec.14. The parade starts from the Gulfport Municipal Marina at about 6 p.m. It will then travel past the William's Pier in Gulfport and into the canals of Town Shores Condominiums and Pasadena Yacht Club Estates. The parade will then cross the bay to Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club and pass by the club docks before returning to BCYC.
Members spend many hours planning and then decorating their boats in hopes of sharing the holiday spirit with the surrounding communities. There is an entry fee for boats of two unwrapped toys or a monetary donation can be made. Each year toys are collected for "Operation Santa" and presented to Gulfport's Police Department for distributing to needy
children. Both sail and power boats are welcome to join in the fun. Entry forms will be available the night of the parade.
Donated prizes are awarded to the participants during the post parade party. For information regarding participation or to sponsor this parade, call Capt Richard Walters at 727-235-9070 or visit sailbcyc.org.
• Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade CLEARWATER - The 2013 Memorial Holiday Boat Parade, organized by the Island Estates Yacht Club, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be a pre-parade captain’s meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 S. Bayway Blvd., Clearwater. Call 447-6000.
The decorated boats will assemble in Mandalay Channel located between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the lead boat will proceed northward through Mandalay Channel. Then the parade will weave in and out of many of the Island Estate canals before heading over to Coachman Park around 8 p.m. From there the boats will go under the new Memorial Causeway Bridge turning into the Clearwater Marina Channel before navigating to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Cash and gift certificate prizes, donated by many area businesses, will be awarded to the best decorated boats.
There is no parade entry fee. Anyone interested in participating can call IEYC Fleet Captain Paul Lightfoot at 744-1728 oremail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Island Estates Yacht Club Boat Parade is one of the largest and most popular marine events in the Clearwater area and will be celebrating its 39th year. The parade honors the memory of Island Estates Yacht Club members who have passed away during the year.
• Redington Beaches and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade REDINGTON BEACHES/INDIAN SHORES - The Redington Beaches/Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade Committee announced that the 2013 edition of the annual Holiday Boat Parade will be staged on Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6 p.m.. Participating boats are requested to rendezvous just north of the Tom Stuart (Madeira Beach) Causeway at approximately 5:45 p.m.
This year, the committee hopes to increase the value of the prizes distributed to the winning boats. Last year, the total prize value exceeded $4,000, shared among the almost 30 boats entered.
As in previous years, the boats will cover a route following the Intracoastal Waterway from just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge (Redington Beach) to “The Pub” restaurant in Indian Shores. The route meanders into the creeks and canals that branch off the ICW, passing along the shoreline of each of the participating communities.
The Captain’s meeting for participating boats is Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., at the Town Hall of North Redington Beach, 190 173rd Ave., North Redington Beach.
The awards ceremony will take place at “The Pub Restaurant,” the major sponsor of the parade, following the arrival of the last boat parade participant. Again this year, Steve Westphal, owner of “The Pub,” has graciously extended an invitation to all participants to dock their boats overnight in the restaurant’s marina.
Major prizes, consisting of gifts and cash, are given to the top three boats in each category. The three judging categories are based on the lengths of the participating boats; typically, the categories break at approximately “under 25 feet,” “25 to 35 feet,” and “over 35 feet.” The Committee tries to put equal numbers of boats in each category.
Prize donations were received last year from more 55 local businesses, such as the Salt Rock Grill Restaurant, Wilson Realty, Park Circle Bed & Breakfast and the Doubletree Beach Resort. Additionally, every boat that enters receives a gift, chosen by the Committee, as a remembrance of their participation.
Entry forms for the parade are available now at the Town Halls and Web sites of the participating towns. Entry forms will also be distributed to local marinas for boaters to pick up.
The Boat Parade Committee has also allocated up to $25 per boat for the rental of portable generators to operate the decorative lighting used by the boats. Boat captains should submit a copy of their rental receipt to claim reimbursement.
For more information about the Redington Beaches/Indian Shores Boat Parade, call Dave Will, Committee Chairman at 459-9710.
• Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade LARGO – The third annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade is Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 to 4 p.m., through Largo’s Old Northwest neighborhood. Last year, more than 2,000 people came out to watch more than 60 floats in the parade. The Largo High School marching band will participate this year.
Participation in the parade is $50 per decorated float. All proceeds go to the Suncoast Voices for Children Foundation. Sponsorship costs $250 and includes a business logo on the parade banner at the front of the parade. The parade is scheduled before the Holiday Stroll in Largo Central Park. For more information and to register, visit discoverlargo.com.
• Holiday Street Parade INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach is planning its annual holiday street parade and invites groups and citizens to participate. The parade lineup converges Dec. 8 at noon at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Second Street. At 1 p.m. it will begin to weave throughout each finger, ending at Kolb Park, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. The parade route is 23 miles. After the parade, the city will host its annual children’s holiday party in the civic auditorium, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. Entry forms must be completed via mail or fax by Dec. 5. To obtain a form visit www.indian-rocks-beach.com. Call Diane Erb at 595-2517.
• Holiday Illuminated Night Parade SEMINOLE – The ninth annual Holiday Illuminated Night Parade is Sunday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. on 113th Street North from the Seminole Mall to the Seminole Recreation complex. This event is co-sponsored by the Seminole Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seminole. For more information, call the Chamber at 392-3245.
• Palm Harbor Holiday Parade PALM HARBOR – The 31st annual Palm Harbor Community Holiday Parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, hosted by the Palm Harbor Rotary Club, the Greater Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the Palm Harbor Historical Society and CSA Palm Harbor. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. next to the Palm Harbor Presbyterian Church at 2021 Nebraska Ave. And of course, bringing up the rear will be good old Jolly Saint Nick, the Santa Claus float that ends the parade each year. Persons or groups interested in participating can register through Nov. 30. Businesses must pay $30 per parade unit and nonprofit organizations $20. More information and registration forms can be picked up at the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce office at 1151 Nebraska Ave.
• Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade DUNEDIN - Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, 4 to 9 p.m., in downtown Dunedin. Children of all ages can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, kids crafts and games, holiday music, live entertainment and photos with Santa. Free to attend. For more information, call 812-4530.
• St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade ST. PETE BEACH - St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. Parade route and application for entry is on the St Pete Beach Recreation Department’s website at www.spbrec.com. Category awards will be given out. For more information, call Mandy Edmunds at 727-363-9245 or email@example.com.
• Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade, sponsored by the city and presented by Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, is Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 10 a.m., on U.S. Alt. 19 (South Pinellas Ave.) and Morgan Street. Applications are available at the chamber office, call 937-6109, stop by the office at 111 E. Tarpon Ave., or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for entering the Christmas Parade is Friday, Dec. 6.
Children of all ages are invited to the Candy Cane Hunt at Craig Park, 5 Beekman Lane, immediately following the parade. They can visit with Santa and his elves and hunt for candy canes in the park. The event is sponsored by the city’s Recreation Department. Call 942-5628.
Holiday events and light displays
• Lights in the Gardens LARGO – The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation’s Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be open from Friday, Nov. 29, to Wednesday, Jan. 1, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Stroll through this year’s display of more than 750,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations. A donation of $2 per person (13 years and older) is recommended. Events scheduled during the Holiday Lights include a Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation gift and plant sale on Sunday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a dog parade on Sunday, Dec. 29, starting at 1 p.m.
The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. The gardens remain open from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours. For more information, visit www.flbg.org or call 582-2100.
• Oakdale Christmas Light display ST. PETERSBURG – The Oakdale Christmas Light display opens Friday, Nov. 29, and continues through Jan. 3, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at 2719 Oakdale St. S., St. Petersburg. The display includes about 500,000 lights on a half-acre lot. A walking yard tour includes an 18-train HO scale model railroad, moving and animated items, inflatables, lighted figures and displays. Enjoy hands-on games and bubble machines for the kids. Several trees tower over the display, including one rising to 70 feet.
The free Christmas display started in 1977 and was among the top three finalist on NBC's Today Show, “I'll Be Home for Christmas.” It also was featured on HGTV's All Out Christmas Special and in People Magazine. It takes 10 people about three months to install. About 10 trailer loads bring items from storage. The display is powered by three electrical meters.
To get to the display, take I-275 to exit 22 (old exit 9), which is 175 E. Turn right on Fourth Street, heading south. Go 1 mile, crossing over 22nd Avenue South. Next street on left is Oakdale. Go two blocks, park or look. For more information, visit ChristmasDisplay.org.
• Winter's Miracle on Cleveland Street CLEARWATER - Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc. and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium offer Winter’s Miracle On Cleveland Street Friday, Dec. 6, 5:30 to 10 p.m. The festivities kick-off with the official lighting of the all-new Capitol Theatre sign atop the nearly completed theatre by Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, city and business leaders and officials from Ruth Eckerd Hall. The first 250 children (age 12 and under) will receive an exclusive holiday Winter plush toy.
Presented by Bright House Networks, this free holiday festival returns for the sixth year when downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District is transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with Florida’s largest natural snow slide, holiday crafts, train rides, inflatable attractions and an outdoor ice skating rink. Entertainment will include the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts tap dancers and live music from Tampa Bay’s favorite party band, Late Night Brass. Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a founding member of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers Sha-Na-Na will be the Master of Ceremonies.
Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure located in the Harborview Center at the corner of Osceola and Cleveland Streets, will be open to the public with free admission. Children will be able to have their photograph taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the Hurricane Blizzard and the many educational exhibits inside.
Families can participate in a scavenger hunt along Cleveland Street to win great prizes including tickets to upcoming performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the all-new Capitol Theatre. Other prizes include a register-to-win for the opportunity to be an “extra” in the upcoming film Dolphin Tale 2, an exclusive behind the scenes Dolphin Tale 2 family experience and exclusive Dolphin Tale 2 prizes. The festival will feature a variety of vendors throughout Cleveland Street providing holiday-themed food and refreshments.
• Holiday in the Park PINELLAS PARK – The 11th annual Holiday in the Park event is set for Friday, Dec. 6, 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, noon to 9 p.m., at England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave. N. This community-wide family event will feature children’s games, entertainment, photos with Santa, hayrides, a children’s train ride and more. Call 541-0895 for more information.
• There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs TARPON SPRINGS – The annual There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs festival is Friday, Dec. 6, 4 to 9 p.m. The festival area will cover Tarpon Avenue from Spring Bayou to Ring Street and Safford Avenue from Tarpon Avenue to Orange Street. The event includes horse-drawn carriage rides, falling snow and real reindeer. Take a Christmas hayride, do some holiday shopping or stick around for music, food and spirits at the main area, or watch an illuminated boat parade at the Spring Bayou. Children’s activities also will be available for families, as well as Santa’s Mailbox for all of your holiday letters.
• Holiday concert BELLEAIR – The town of Belleair’s holiday concert is Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Call 518-3728.
• Christmas lighting ceremony ST. PETE BEACH – Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church will host a Christmas lighting ceremony Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., outside the church at 107 16th Ave. All residents are invited to attend and join in the singing of Christmas carols while enjoying hot cocoa and homemade cookies. For more information on this and other church activities, call the church office at 360-5508 or email email@example.com.
• Dunedin Youth Guild Tour of Homes DUNEDIN – The Dunedin Youth Guild is hosting the 44th annual Tour of Homes on Saturday, Dec. 7. The tour will begin with a tea served at Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church, 75 San Salvador Drive, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Guests can shop for holiday gifts at the guild boutique and with local vendors that will have a variety of merchandise for purchase.
Five homes will be on the tour this year. Tour prices are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets may be purchased from any guild member or by calling 734-0394 and leaving a message. The Dunedin Youth Guild fundraising proceeds are 100 percent donated to schools, college scholarships and other activities benefiting the children of our community.
• Trees and Traditions LARGO - Heritage Village will present Trees and Traditions, a Pinellas holiday celebration from 1850 through 1950, on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This special day of holiday-related activities include children’s activities and crafts, holiday music, tours, a special visit from Santa Claus and a Holiday Marketplace.
Guests may visit the Heritage Village’s historical houses, many of which will be decorated true to their period, locality and lifestyle, from an elaborately decorated Victorian home, to a simply adorned 1852 log cabin. Visitors can also find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Beach Cottage Gift Shop.
Even Santa will join in the fun, reading letters aloud that children wrote to the St. Petersburg Times in the early 1900s. Children of all ages can enjoy “G” Scale Model Train layout as well as displays from the Tampa Bay Miniature Enthusiasts.
Admission is free to children younger than 12; suggested minimum donation of $2 per adult. The event is sponsored by the Pinellas County Historical Society.
Free parking will be available at the Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road and the Heritage Village/Florida Botanical Gardens parking lot at 12211 Walsingham Road. Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo. For information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage or call 582-2123.
• Dunedin Chorus Holiday Concert DUNEDIN - Dunedin Chorus performs its holiday concert Sunday, Dec. 8, 3 p.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Donations accepted. For more information, call 812-4530.
• Holiday showcase LARGO – Enjoy an afternoon of dancing and singing Largo’s Holiday Showcase Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m., at the Largo Community Center. The Tutterow Dancers, The Mcmillans, The Bates, The Indian Rocks Christian School Student Choir and the Strolling Carolers all will perform in the grand ballroom. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road. Visit Largo CommunityCenter.com or call 518-3131.
• Safford House Victorian Christmas CLEARWATER - Annual Safford House Victorian Christmas, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 12-14, at Safford House Museum, 23 Parkin Court. Hours will be Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and $6 for members and children age 3 to 18. Attendees will have an opportunity to ring in the holidays and stroll through the 1883 Safford House beautifully decorated for the holidays in Victorian style. Guests may enjoy refreshments and the unique holiday gift shop and tour the house with “Governor Anson Safford” (Bruce Miller) as he describes Victorian holiday traditions and life. There also will be live performances of holiday music during the tour. Special Victorian games and activities will be scheduled for children on Saturday. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.
• Dunedin Concert Band DUNEDIN - Dunedin Concert Band plays for the holidays Friday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. Donations accepted. For more information, call 812-4530.
• Holiday Hoopla GULFPORT - The Gulfport Merchants association presents the annual Holiday Hoopla on Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Beach Boulevard South in Gulfport. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Operation Santa and Gulfport families in need.
Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights. Stroll the decorated streets filled with talented exhibitors and unique shops and galleries.
Visitors will be enchanted by a variety of festive and fun holiday-themed music, holiday carolers, dance performances, and roving street performers. Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands and Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers.
During the Holiday Hoopla event donations will be collected for Operation Santa. Requested donations include new Toys, gift cards and other items for children and families. The Gulfport Senior Center Foundation needs nonperishable food, toiletries and pet supplies. Collection boxes will be located at the Casino Stage at the intersection of Beach and Shore Boulevards during the event. Prior to the event, drop off locations include Gulfport Police Department and The Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit gulfportma.com or call 727-322-5217.
• Holiday Party of One CLEARWATER - “Holiday Party of One,” by Alison Burns with musical arrangements by Stan Collins; Dec. 5-20, at New Stage Theatre, inside Country Day World School, 11650 131st St. N., Largo. For performance times and ticket information, call 813-817-2585 or visit newstagelargo.org. This Tampa Bay holiday traditional finds a home at New Stage Theatre after its highly acclaimed run in 2012. Written by local talents Alison Burns and Karla Hartley, this hilarious holiday treat follows three overworked, out of touch, people as they, once again, get caught up in the mad rush of the holidays – that is until Lucky, a Christmas elf, comes to the rescue. The second half of the evening is a unique cabaret of holiday favorites. This production is fun for the whole family.
• Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Holiday Party CLEARWATER - Sixth annual Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Holiday Party hosted by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets start at $35. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. The show will feature Lesley Gore, Lou Christie, Lenny Welch, Joey Dee, Bowzer & The Stingrays and Rocky & The Rollers with special guests Johnny Contardo and Henry Gross, formerly of Sha Na Na. While attending Columbia University in New York in 1969, student Jon Bauman along with his fellow classmates combined their love for the classics of Rock & Roll with a dynamic theatrical approach to form Sha Na Na. The a’50s legends eighth professional gig was opening for Jimi Hendrix 44 years ago this summer at The Woodstock Festival. Bauman went on to become a VJ on the music channel VH-1 during its first two years. He’s appeared on several television series, such as “Miami Vice.” He also hosted the Hollywood Squares half of the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. Bauman has spoken on behalf of musicians and helped pass legislation, known as the Truth in Music Act, that compels any group using the name of a classic group have at least one of the original members.
• Christmas with the Baltimore Consort TARPON SPRINGS - Christmas with the Baltimore Consort, Sunday, Dec. 15, at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for members and students. The Baltimore Consort has delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and earned their CDs a place on the Billboard Magazine Top 10 list. The Baltimore Consort’s arrangements of early music from England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Spain speak to the heart as well as the mind, and their love for the early music of English/Scottish heritage has led them to delve into the rich trove of traditional balladry and dance tunes preserved in the Appalachian mountains and Nova Scotia. The group features Ronn Mcfarlane, lute; Mindy Rosenfeld, flutes, fifes, recorder, crumhorn; Larry Lipkis, viol, recorder, crumhorn, gemshorn; Mark Cudec, cittern, viol, recorder, crumhorn, guitars; Mary Anne Ballard, viols, rebec; Danielle Svonavec, soprano; and Jose Lemos, countertenor. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.
• Russian Christmas CLEARWATER - A Russian Christmas performed by the State Choir of Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets start at $29.50. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com. Celebrate the holiday season with this unique cultural experience. This company of 45 singers was founded from the merger of the USSR State Chamber Choir and State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR. Music critics have praised this spectacular group and rave of the flawless vocal technique and crystal-clear, precise intonation.
• Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits CLEARWATER - Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $82. Call 791-7400 or visit www.atthecap.com. With a career that encompasses five Grammy Awards, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. From ’70s-era Doobie Brothers classics such as “What A Fool Believes” and solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown covers albums and recent genre-busting guest spots with alternative buzz bands “Grizzly Bear” and “Holy Ghost,” McDonald is an artist whose work is both timeless and ever-evolving.
• Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour CLEARWATER - Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Adkins will release “The King’s Gift,” a Christmas album of Celtic carols, in October. He will be touring in support of the album, including a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The show will be a reverent theatrical and musical production for the whole family. The Christmas Show Tour begins a new Adkins holiday tradition for years to come. Envisioned as a theatrical production, Adkins will alternate between fireside storytelling of anecdotes (both personal and historical) and performances of classic carols with a 12-piece ensemble – a quartet string section, female vocalists, and a range of traditional instruments. The tour is inspired by Adkins’ annual hosting duties at Disney World’s Candlelight Processional, where his deep baritone narrates Christmas stories while a full choir and orchestra performs.
• Sleigh TARPON SPRINGS - “Sleigh,” written by PB&J Theatre Factory, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19-22, at Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S. Pinellas Ave. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for members and students. Directed by Rick Bronson, this G-rated comedy will have audiences laughing through the holidays and will do it without the spoken word. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.
• Rockapella's holiday show CLEARWATER - Rockapella, Friday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $30. Call 791-7400 or visit www.atthecap.com. The world’s most loved five-man contemporary pop vocal phenomenon is known for its astonishing live performances and Rockapella's holiday show is a “must see” event. With their completely original take on the holidays, Rockapella creates a light-hearted and unforgettable holiday experience as they travel the country spreading musical holiday cheer. From unique takes on classic favorites to brand new originals destined to become classics, audiences of all ages can expect to be charmed by a holiday performance like no other.
• Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet holiday concert TARPON SPRINGS - Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, Sunday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m., at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for members and students. Attendees will have an opportunity to ring in the holidays with the Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, who deliver Christmas cheer with virtuoso flair. The ensemble will perform Handel, Bach, and a glorious fanfare of Christmas favorites such as “Joy to the World” and “White Christmas.” Known for their great versatility, entertaining narratives, and musical skill, the quintet is made up of principal players from The Florida Orchestra, including Robert Smith, trumpet; Kenneth Brown, trumpet; Andrew Karr, French horn; Dwight Decker, trombone; and William Mickelsen, tuba. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.
• A Christmas Carol CLEARWATER - Nebraska Theatre Caravan presents “A Christmas Carol,” Monday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. Tickets start at $35. A cherished tradition, this is the longest-running production of “A Christmas Carol” in the United States. In this beloved Dickens classic, ghosts of Christmases past, present and future guide Scrooge on a journey of redemption as he discovers the spirit of Christmas and a new life filled with joy and love. This show is part of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Adults at Leisure Series.
Special community events
• South Pasadena Best of Lights contest SOUTH PASADENA – The city of South Pasadena is conducting a Best of Lights Contest for 2013. All businesses, homeowners and multi-family complexes (condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) are invited to display lights during the holidays for consideration. Lights can be placed on the store front or the exterior and need to be visible from the street. Holiday signs, window painting and twinkling lights are allowed.
There will be two winners in each category: first place and first runner-up. First place winners will receive a framed award certification and an official yard sign. Runners up will receive certificates. The first-place winners and runners up will be selected by the Beautification Committee on Dec. 12. Signs and certificates will be presented at the city’s regular commission meeting on Jan. 14. The city’s cable channel 615 will display winners’ names throughout the holiday season.
Deck the Doors Holiday Decorating Contest SAFETY HARBOR - The city of Safety Harbor is sponsoring a Deck the Doors Holiday Decorating Contest. Residents can snap a picture of their decorated door and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for residents is Sunday, Dec. 8. The residential winner will be announced at the holiday parade. Also, downtown merchants are also hosting a Holiday Stroll/Decorate-A-Door contest that kicks off right after the tree lighting at the Gazebo on Friday, Dec. 6 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. Shoppers can stroll from store to store and mark their ballots for their favorite door. One lucky shopper also will win a prize basket worth more than $250 of gift certificates and gifts from the participating merchants.
• Holiday Bargain Bazaar SAFETY HARBOR - The city of Safety Harbor is hosting the annual Holiday Bargain Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Community Center, 650 9th Ave. S. While giving vendors a chance to make an extra dollar for their own gift buying, the city of Safety Harbor will provide shoppers the opportunity to score some of the best bargains around.
This is the third year Safety Harbor has hosted the Holiday Bargain Bazaar event. Bargain hunters won’t want to miss this rain or shine event which has vendors set up inside and outside of the Safety Harbor Community Center. In previous years, the Bazaar has been a huge success, so this year, the city is spreading the word and offer more vendors a chance to sell items all for under $25. An outdoor space is $10, and an indoor space is $15. Rent for a 8 foot banquet table is $5.
Vendors can register at the Safety Harbor Community Center to reserve a spot. Vendors who have participated in city programs before, can register online at www.safetyharborrecreation.com. For more information, contact Autumn Lewis at 724-1530.
• Soccer with Santa SEMINOLE – The Seminole Youth Athletic Association hosts its seventh annual Soccer with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 12100 90th Ave., Seminole. The event includes a Seminole Elks Basketball Shootout, soccer games, pictures with Santa, craft fair, sports vendors, bounce houses, raffles, silent auctions, team photos and more. Lunch is $3 and includes pizza, ice cream and a drink. Free booths for vendors. For more information, email Sherri McCarthy at email@example.com or call 235-3378.
• Breakfast with Santa DUNEDIN - Breakfast with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 to 11 a.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Join Santa for a delicious pancake breakfast and let him know how good you’ve been and what you would like this year. Ages 8 and younger. Cost is $6 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information, call 812-4530.
• Santa’s Calling DUNEDIN - Santa’s Calling is Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Children, ages 7 and younger will receive a personal phone call from Santa or Mrs. Claus. Must preregister. Forms available at the Dunedin Library, 230 Moray Place, and the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. For more information, call 298-3299.
• Breakfast with Santa TREASURE ISLAND – The St. Petersburg Lions Club plans its annual Breakfast With Santa event Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Lions Club Beach House, 9300 W. Gulf Blvd. Admission is free but those attending are asked to bring a can or bag of pet food for Santa and his reindeer. The pet food will be donated to the PetPal Animal Shelter. Those planning to attend should register by Dec. 6. Call Sally at 813-965-2534 or email LionSally@gmail.com.
• Santa tours Tarpon Springs TARPON SPRINGS - Santa Claus will be touring tarpon springs again this year courtesy of Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue. Santa will depart from the main station at 444 S. Huey Ave. on December 4,5, 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18 for a tour of different sections of the city. On Dec. 19, Santa will greet children at the main station on Huey Avenue from 6 to 8 p.m. for refreshments and Christmas fun. Find maps of Santa’s routes at www.ctsfl.us/firerescue/santa.html.
• Santa Claus visits Oldsmar OLDSMAR – Oldsmar Fire Rescue is once again sponsoring a children’s holiday program that features a personal visit from Santa Claus for homes that are in the city of Oldsmar. Santa and his elves, riding a fire truck, will visit the children in the evenings from Dec. 17 through Dec. 21 and Santa will bring the child their present at that time. Dates will be set by a lottery system.
Families should mail a 3-inch by 5-inch card with their name, address and daytime phone number printed on the card. The card should be mailed to Oldsmar Fire Rescue, 225 Pine Ave. N., Oldsmar, FL 34677.
As each card is drawn, that household will be called and their appointment set. After setting an appointment, parents are to bring a small, gift-wrapped present for their child to the fire station Dec. 9 through Dec. 13. The gift should have their child’s name, address and the date and time of Santa’s visit written clearly on the outside of the package.
If there is a group of children, packages should be wrapped as above, put into a large plastic garbage bag, with the last name of the host family, address and date and time of Santa’s visit on the outside of the bag.
Events outside Pinellas
• Christmas Town TAMPA - Christmas Town transforms Busch Gardens Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas for 18 select nights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 23. Special Christmas entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling lights will fill the senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors to create a memorable new family tradition. Everyone’s favorite attraction, SnowWorld presented by Coca-Cola, returns with three times as much snow! Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special $10 advance tickets for their youngest members. Visit www.buschgardens.com.
• Nights of Shimmering Lights "Drive-thru" Light Park DOVER - Nights of Shimmering Lights "Drive-thru" Light Park is Nov. 30 through Dec. 29, 6 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 6 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, at 217 Sydney Washer Road, Dover, approximately 8 miles east of I-75 on State Road 60 at the County Fairgrounds. Cost is $15 Monday through Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday.
Nights of Shimmering Lights third season illuminates the night with a million twinkling lights this holiday season. Enjoy the 1-1/2 mile lighted trail with over 1,000 lighted elements. Ride the new Light Express ride thru the ""mini"" park in the Holiday Village. Watch the Rays and Sox slug it out in lights in our new baseball field. The children are sure to delight in the Story Book area with our new additions. Plan some extra time to spend in the Holiday Village and get your ""free"" digital picture with Santa. Watch a holiday movie under the stars. Call 813-389-6858 or visit www.nightsofshimmeringlights.com.
• Victorian Christmas Stroll TAMPA - Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 32nd annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, Dec. 1-23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There are 14 exhibit rooms, each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories. This year there will also be a special exhibit, Toys Then and Now, showcasing antique toys and toys from modern times. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 10 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths. Visit plantmuseum.com.
• Holidays at Lowry Park Zoo TAMPA - Meet Santa and his merry mammals – real reindeer – at Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats create a whimsical world of holiday magic from 6:30-10 p.m. on Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23 and 26-30. On Dec. 13, you can also celebrate the season with the Zoo’s primate family as the primates open special presents from Zoo staff and docents as part of their enrichment program. The Presents for Primates is included free-of-charge with Zoo admission. Visit lowryparkzoo.com.
• Holiday FantaSea TAMPA - The Florida Aquarium will host Holiday FantaSea, a family-friendly celebration featuring real snow, dazzling holiday lights and more. From Dec. 26-30, Santa and his swimming elves, as well as special holiday mermaids, will swim throughout the massive tanks alongside all the amazing aquatic creatures each night during Holiday FantaSea. In addition, the Florida Aquarium will host two dazzling light shows each night, a huge holiday model train display, and extended hours during the Holiday FantaSea event. Visit flaquarium.org.