Holiday excitement builds as communities and organizations throughout Pinellas County celebrate with a myriad of events designed to delight young and old alike. December calendars are filled with the unique and the traditional, including the following.
Holiday lights, rides in Largo Central Park
LARGO — The city of Largo will present holiday lights and rides in the park, running through Jan. 3, at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo.
This family-friendly annual tradition features spectacular holiday light displays, the whimsical flying elephant-themed Jumbo ride, and a seven-story Ferris wheel that offers a breathtaking aerial view of the 70-acre Largo Central Park and more than 2 million twinkling LED lights. Park admission is free. Rides are $5 each or five for $20. Food and beverage vendors will also be on site. The rides are open nightly from 5 to 11 p.m. through Jan. 3. The holiday light displays are on till 10 p.m.
Park visitors are encouraged to wear a holiday face covering and practice social distancing. For more information, call 866-666-3247.
Breakfast with Santa
LARGO — The sleigh has just pulled into town with the man in the big red suit, and he’s ready to have breakfast with children ages 8 and younger.
Breakfast with Santa will be presented Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. Two time slots are available, including 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 10 to 11:30 a.m. The event will include breakfast with Santa, crafts, games, a story from Mrs. Claus and a Santa selfie. The cost is $7 per person. Advanced ticket purchase is required by Dec. 14 due to limited capacity. Each time slot will be limited to 50 patrons.
For more information, visit LargoEvents.com or call 727-518-3131.
For more information on how Largo is playing smart and staying 6 feet apart, visit PlayLargo.com/PlaySmart or call 727-587-6720.
Holiday Strolling Market in Largo Central Park
LARGO — Keep it local this holiday season and purchase last-minute gifts from one of the small businesses at the Holiday Strolling Market. The market will be presented Saturday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo.
Admittance and parking are free.
Patrons are invited to stroll through the market. Attendees are encouraged to practice safe social distancing and to wear a mask when social distancing is not able to be maintained. For more information on how Largo is playing smart, visit PlayLargo.com/PlaySmart.
Visit LargoEvents.com for more information on all of our upcoming holiday events.
Belleair Bluffs tree lighting
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The city of Belleair Bluffs’ annual holiday tree lighting program and the arrival of Santa will take place at City Hall, 2747 Sunset Blvd., beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.
There will be plenty of treats and gifts for the kids. Guests are asked to bring canned goods, boxed food, baby formula, flour, sugar, peanut butter, rice, pasta, canned juice, or fruit to donate. Anyone who brings a food donation will receive the city’s annual tree ornament.
Pinellas Park Christmas tree lighting
PINELLAS PARK — The fifth annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place Friday, Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m., at Pinellas Park City Hall, 5141 78th Ave., Pinellas Park.
Mayor Sandra Bradbury, other council members, city officials, and residents will participate in the event. At the ceremony, there will be a holiday music performance prior to tree lighting. The public is welcome and admission is free.
Pinellas Park’s holiday hayride, Breakfast with Santa and the annual Pinellas Park Christmas Parade have been canceled due to the pandemic.
Safford House Museum decorations
TARPON SPRINGS — The “elves of Tarpon Arts” and volunteers have beautifully decorated the Safford House, and it is ready to welcome Tarpon Springs residents and visitors through Jan. 6 for docent-led tours.
The Safford House Museum is at 23 Parkin Court off of Grand Boulevard in Tarpon Springs. The museum is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with docent led tours. Tickets are $5 per person for ages 18 and older. As a special holiday gift for Tarpon Springs residents, the ticket price is only $3 per person for ages 18 and older. Tarpon Springs residents are asked to show a driver’s license or a form of identification to prove residency to receive the discount. Tarpon Arts members are free per their membership benefits. The final tour begins at 2:30 p.m. Masks are required and group size is limited.
For information, visit TarponArts.org or call 727-942-5605. The Safford House will be closed during city holidays, including Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1.
Creative Clay holiday market
ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas County Schools students that attend Creative Clay’s transition program will host a holiday market Friday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the courtyard at Creative Clay, 1846 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg.
Transition students will sell ceramic snowmen, holiday wine bags, hand-painted and printed holiday cards, one-of-a-kind ornaments, canvas paintings, wrapping paper, jewelry, and other ceramic pieces that make great gifts.
“This is our class’ favorite market of the year, and they have been working so hard to make it special,” said Amanda Drewes, ESE teacher/extended transition. “They are excited to interact with customers and share their passion with the community.”
Performing will be transition student Cory as well as Emily Turnage, Creative Clay community arts program manager. There will be a food truck available. Tables with Creative Thrift items are available as well. This is an outdoor event, but masks are required inside the market.
Creative Clay’s vision is to make the arts accessible to all. Its mission is to help people with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives through access to the arts by providing expressive, educational, and vocational experiences.
Creative Clay’s core program is its community arts program, which serves 50 to 60 adult artists with neuro-differences each week. For information, visit www.creativeclay.org.
Dunedin Passport to the North Pole
DUNEDIN — Dunedin Parks & Recreation will present Passport to the North Pole Saturday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The route will begin at the Dunedin Library, 223 Douglas Ave. There, participants will pick up a holiday stocking and passport to the North Pole. With passport and stocking in tow, children will receive a stamp and stocking goodie as parents drive to various city of Dunedin recreation facilities and parks decked out with spectacular displays and festive lights. Stops will include the Hale Senior Activity Center, John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park, MLK Jr. Recreation Center, Stirling Park & Driving Range, Dunedin Nature Center and Highlander Pool. The North Pole — temporarily relocated to the Dunedin Community Center — will be the last stop with Santa waving and wishing everyone happy holidays.
Participation is free but those taking part in the event must preregister by Dec. 8. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/passport-to-the-north-pole-tickets-129341667409. The event is recommended for preschool and elementary age families.
For information, call 727-812-4530 or visit www.DunedinGov.com/events.
‘A Christmas Carol’
DUNEDIN — Progressive Arts will present a musical version of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 4-6 at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Loudin Ave., in downtown Dunedin.
Performances will be Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. The Saturday evening performance is sold out. Tickets cost $10.
Progressive Arts is taking steps to make the show is COVID-19 safe for the performers and the audience. The family-friendly show is performed by award-winning talent in elementary, middle school and high school. All performers will be wearing masks and/or visors. Audience members must wear masks inside the hall. Social distancing will be followed.
The show is produced by Progressive Arts and its director, Kirsten Stiff-Walker.
“Support our community, support the arts and these kiddos while enjoying an immersive show experience,” Stiff-Walker said. “Seats are very limited for social distancing, but are still available.”
For information and to purchase tickets, text Renee Gresen at 727-424-1142 and she will provide a seating chart so tickets buyers can select from the available seats.
‘The Santa Clause’ screening at Centre Field
PALM HARBOR — A free family movie night will take place Friday, Dec. 18, at Centre Field at the Centre, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor.
The movie will be “The Santa Clause.” Gates will open at 5:15 p.m. Food sales will start at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be available for $5, which includes the choice of a hot dog, hamburger or cheeseburger with chips and dessert. The movie will begin at sunset. Guests will receive free popcorn with a donation of a new, unwrapped gift or giving tree donation.
Palm Harbor tree lighting
PALM HARBOR — The third annual Downtown Tree Lighting will be presented Friday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m., at Harbor Hall, 1190 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor.
Social distance will be practiced at the free public event. There will be a golf cart and pedestrian parade from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Vendors will be on hand.
For information, visit csapalmharbor.org/2020/11/downtown-tree-lighting-december-4-2020.
DUNEDIN — The Dunedin Express will return for its fifth run from Dec. 4-16, with modifications due to COVID-19. The Dunedin Express is presented at the Dunedin History Museum, 349 Main St., Dunedin.
Activities at the North Pole will be held indoors, and outside under tents and will include marshmallow toasting and arts and crafts and live holiday music. Admission times will be staggered to ensure each family has their own time at each activity. All participants, families, the conductor, the elves, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be required to wear face masks during this event. All events will have hand sanitizer available at each activity site.
Families will drive their own vehicles to the North Pole and can expect to spend the usual 45-50 minutes there. The conductor will punch tickets upon entering and exiting the North Pole. A selected elf will guide each family through holiday-themed activities during their visit. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with families and children may sit on a chair between the Clauses instead of on their laps.
The event will be presented Tuesdays through Fridays and will have three time choices from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and on Saturdays and Sundays, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., there will be four time choices to choose from. This is a first come, first serve event. Tickets are limited and required. Participants will choose the date and time to visit the North Pole and receive a code to print out their tickets. Families must print out their own tickets using that code. An elf will be contacting each family for information regarding the children who will be visiting Santa. If a child has visited the North Pole via the Dunedin Express each of the last four years, include that information.
Tickets are available now and can be paid with PayPal or credit cards. Tickets may be purchased for $20 a person by visiting the events page under the Dunedin Express at Dunedinmuseum.org. For further information, call the museum at 727-736-1176.
Celebration of Lights in Shady Hills
SHADY HILLS — The Celebration of Lights event will be presented through Dec. 20 at the Concourse, 11919 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills.
The event will be open Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $20 per carload. This year’s Celebration of Lights will be a safe and magical drive-thru event throughout the Concourse and Pasco Safety Town. Attendees will have a chance to wave to Santa as they pass Smokey’s Cabin in Pasco Safety Town. Tickets are available at the Train Depot for the Grand Concourse Railroad miniature Holiday Train for a festive ride on a brand-new section of track with seasonal decorations and lights. Attendees will receive 50% off a Holiday Train ride ticket when they enter the Celebration of Lights. The Grand Concourse Holiday Train will run on Friday and Saturday nights of the event only.
This community event was founded by Dave Parris, who passed away in 2014. He fashioned this holiday light show after the one in his hometown, with hopes young families would create memories and someday bring their grandchildren.
The Concourse is a private nonprofit unique park venue. The 2020 Celebration of Lights is produced by the Concourse in partnership with Pasco Safety Town, Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources, the Grand Concourse Railroad, West Pasco Sertoma and Friends of Dave Parris, for the enjoyment and benefit of the community.
Tickets are available at the gate only. Cash, debit and credit cards will be accepted.
For more information, visit www.CelebrationofLightsFL.org.