From Tarpon Springs to Oldsmar to Indian Rocks Beach, several Pinellas County communities held holiday events last weekend, including tree lightings, street, and boat parades.

On Friday, Dec. 5, as Tarpon Springs held its annual There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon and boat parade and R.E. Olds Park played host to Oldsmar’s Winter Wonderland event, Mayor Cookie Kennedy led IRB’s Christmas tree lighting at 12th Avenue Park, and hundreds of residents and visitors drank hot cocoa and frolicked in the fake snow.

“Thank you all for coming out and making IRB such a special place to be during the holidays!” Kennedy said as she counted down from 10 before flipping the switch on the city’s majestic, towering tree.

Two days later, dozens of colorfully decorated people, pets and vehicles paraded through the streets as part of IRB’s annual holiday parade. The cavalcade of golf carts, bicycles, monster trucks and grinning Grinches snaked its way around the “finger” neighborhoods between East Gulf Boulevard and Kolb Park on Sunday, Dec. 5, while onlookers cheered and scrambled after tossed candy, beads, and treats. “This a great event to sit out here and enjoy,” IRB resident Dawn Erff said while sitting outside a home on 16th Avenue with her mom, Cheryl Faccinto, and friend, Charlene Rotondo.

“We just love doing this every year,” Faccinto added.

Also on Sunday, Dec. 5, the town of Belleair held its 11th annual holiday parade, a picturesque, patriotic procession led by the Clearwater chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution that featured all five Town Commission members, including Mayor Mike Wilkinson, floats from the Belleair Rotary Club, the Thorn Collection with Coldwell Banker Realty, the Belleair Community Foundation, and other organizations. The young parade “prince and princess” tossed candy from atop a convertible Porsche and resident crooner Mike Hugill sang Christmas carols from the back of a flatbed trailer.

Following the parade, which marched up and down Ponce de Leon Boulevard after making a loop around Hunter Memorial Park, the crowd gathered on the Dimmit Community Center field to drink hot chocolate and eat pizza, play games and sit on Santa’s lap and generally soak up the festive holiday atmosphere.

“Every year the event gets bigger and better, and it’s all thanks to our rec department and town staff, the police department, the float sponsors and the residents,” Mayor Wilkinson said. “It’s truly a team effort, and that’s what it’s all about at this time of year.”