Please check individual websites for complete details; be aware that dates can change and cancellations may occur.

 THE NIGHT GARDEN – Here is a chance to see one of Miami’s most beautiful gardens brought to life at night with stunning illuminations, amazing special effects and lots of surprises for the entire family.

Florida Events for November and December 2022

Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events scheduled in the Sunshine State.  Please check individual websites for more details.

South Florida

Central Florida

North Florida

 ANCESTRAL GROUNDS – Miami’s own Peter London Global Dance Company returns to the stage for its 11th season with a performance featuring a spectacular array of multiethnic choreographers.


ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD BACKDROP: CINEMA’S CREATIVE LEGACY – This exhibition of original, historic backdrops from the MGM studio - long guarded as special effect secrets - transports viewers into cinematic history and reveals the technical painting and drawing virtuosity of artists created specifically for the camera's eye. Featuring original backdrops from iconic films such as "The Sound of Music," "Singin' in The Rain," "Ben-Hur," and "North by Northwest," take a step behind the curtain for an American art experience.
When: through Jan. 22
Where: Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton

THE DINNER DETECTIVE – Enjoy a yummy dinner and being a part of the show. Throughout the night, a “murder” will occur, hidden clues will be revealed and everyone present will try to crack the case. A prize package will be awarded to the Top Sleuth who gives the best answer before the killer is unmasked. But beware – the criminal is lurking somewhere in the room and you just might wind up being a prime suspect. Notes: Prop guns, loud simulated gunshots and short lighting blackouts are used as part of the performance. You must beat least 15 years old to attend.
When: Select Saturday nights through Dec. 17
Where: The Hilton Garden Inn, Fort Myers

KEYWEST BICENTENNIAL EXHIBIT – Key West turned 200 years old this year and this exhibit highlights its people, history and culture, beginning with the settlers and government officials who arrived at the then remote island in early 1822. The exhibit is divided by decades and emphasizes many of the significant events and people that helped make the island what it is today. Visitors to the exhibit will learn how Key West grew during its history through development and changes in migration patterns, advances in transportation and commerce, and historical milestones like the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II.  Centerpiece artifacts include sponging equipment; cigar roller tables and tools; 19th century home wares, clothing, journals and photographs; Overseas Railway memorabilia; Ernest Hemingway’s boxing gloves; Native American tools; Key West Hand Print dresses, and artwork created by Cuban-American folk artist Mario Sanchez.
When: through Dec. 11
Where: The Custom House Museum, Key West

SMUGGLING IN THE FLORIDA KEYS – This lecture series explores the dangerous, but sometimes lucrative and always colorful activities of smugglers who plied their trade in the Florida Keys.  In addition to the lectures, there is also a one-night fun-filled event called “A Smuggler’s Night at the Museum,” with wine tastings, an elegant dinner and dancing, all outdoors and under the stars.
When: The lecture is Dec. 7. The one-night special event is Nov. 12.
Where: Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, Islamorada

SCARECROWS IN THE FOREST ART EXHIBIT AND CONTEST – These scarecrows are made from natural and recycled materials. Cash prizes will be awarded in each of three categories: school-age individuals or groups, not-for-profit groups and businesses, amateur individuals and creative professionals.
When: Sept. 15-Nov. 30
Where: Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

MIAMI BOOK FAIR – Year after year, the Miami Book Fair folks keep topping themselves. This year is no exception. The city will again be transformed into a literary wonderland, hosting critically acclaimed authors in three languages. All the usual genres will be included: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, illustration and graphic novels.  It’s an all-ages affair, with plenty of activities for kids, too, in the Children’s Alley.  In addition to more than 100 of some of the top authors in the country, the fair also includes the amazing Street Fair and the newly named Shelf (it used to be the Porch), which features great scheduled and pop-up live music. An eclectic field of authors includes Harvey Fierstein, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Fanone, Patti Smith, Russell Banks, Scott Turow, Angie Cruz and Ellis Close.
When: Nov. 13-20
Where: Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, Miami

EDISON AND FORD WINTER ESTATES FALL GARDEN FESTIVAL – Some 40 garden vendors from around the state will have tropical and native plants and trees for sale. The festival will also feature food trucks and live music.
When: Nov. 19-20
Where: Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers

URGE MIAMI THANKSGIVING FESTIVAL – It’s part of the “circuit parties” culture which are very popular within the LGBTQ+ community. A circuit party is loosely defined as having themed dance events with curated music, state-of-the-art installations and performers, usually in large venues. Musically, they have evolved to incorporate elements of house, dance and techno music. The Miami event fits the bill, with three massive evening events, the Sunday beach party and a Monday morning after-hours gathering.
When: Nov. 25-28
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach and Miami, with the Royal Palm South Beach, serving as the host hotel

TASTE OF THE ISLANDS – Now in its 41st year, this month-long foodie extravaganza gives you the chance to eat at some of Sanibel & Captiva’s best restaurants. You can get a Taste Passport and make your way along both islands to sample the food. Actually, you can do this without the Passport, too, but having one will get you entered into a drawing for some cool prizes.
When: Nov. 1-30
Where: Many various restaurants on Sanibel & Captiva

ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVALS – When the weather starts to cool down even just a little, the South Florida arts & crafts fairs scene starts to heat up. Here are some of the offerings in November:

  • Bonita Springs Invitational Art Festival: Nov. 18-20 at the Promenade at Bonita Bay, Bonita Springs.
  • Downtown West Palm Beach Art Festival: Nov. 19-20 at Rosemary Square, West Palm Beach.
  • Sanibel Masters Art : Nov. 25-26, along Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.
  • Big Pine & Lower Keys Island Art Festival: Nov. 26, on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, Mile Marke 31, Oceanside.
  • Art in the Park Art & Fine Craft Show: Nov. 26-27. Memorial Park, Stuart.
  • Punta Gorda Thanksgiving Weekend Sullivan Street Craft Festival: Nov. 26-27.

ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH AND MIAMI ART WEEK – Art Basel Miami Beach has become one of the most comprehensive art fairs in the country. Some 260 galleries from 35 countries will showcase works by about 4,000 artists. It draws thousands of art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados every year. Art Basel refers to the one big fair, but its spirit has spread to art venues big and small throughout Miami-Dade County, with a host of eclectic satellite fairs, parties and events. Put it all together and you have an extravaganza that has become known as Miami Art Week.
When: Dec. 1-3 for Art Basel. The satellite fairs tend to start a few days earlier and run a few days later.
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center for Art Basel and various locations throughout Miami-Dade County for the satellite fairs.
Web: for Art Basel and for the satellite fairs.

PALM BEACH FOOD & WINE FEST – You might want to skip the pre-holiday calorie-counting and head for this four-day gastronomic happening. Residents and visitors alike will savor the many culinary creations as master chefs mix and blend to create their magic. It features everything from Food Network stars chillin’ and grillin’ poolside to comfort food to five-course dinners with premium wine pairings.
When: Dec. 8-11
Where: Various locations in Palm Beach County

ULTIMATE DINOSAURS: MEET A NEW BREED OF BEAST – With the help of cutting-edge technology, some of the most significant dinosaur discoveries from South America, Africa and Madagascar in the last two decades are brought to life. The dinos range from the tiny Eoraptor to the Giganotosaurus (known as T. Rex’s bigger and badder cousin). You’ll wander among 13 life-size casts, in addition to authentic dinosaur fossils and touchable fossilized dinosaur specimens.
When: Nov. 30-April 23
Where: Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami

HOLIDAY IN PARADISE – It’s also called Sandi Land, named after Sandi, the world’s only 35-foot, 700-ton tree sculptured out of sand. And this year, you will be able to view Sandi from atop this year’s new addition, Ferris the Ferris Wheel. Hosting nightly music and light shows, Sandi is the centerpiece of this month-long event, but there will be plenty more to marvel at, including 100 tons worth of other sand sculptures. Families are welcome to gather at the foot of Sandi and listen to her tell stories and join in as she sings songs. (There is no charge for the story-telling and the sing-alongs, but reservations are required for both). Don’t miss the synchronized light show with the Centennial Square Fountain that will have water dancing along with holiday music. Santa will be there as always, but he will be perched on a six-foot-chair and families can gather for photo ops at the bottom. Surprise entertainment elements will pop up throughout Sandi’s visit.
When: Dec. 1-Dec. 31
Where: On the waterfront in West Palm Beach

FESTIVAL OF TREES – The highlight of this four-day event is the beautifully-decorated Christmas trees (by local businesses) adorned with presents that are raffled off for charity. But there is more, too: The fun-for-the-whole-family Santa Block Party and lots of good, diverse live music, including the Memphis Motown Soul Experience and The Nowhere Band.
When: Nov. 30-Dec. 4
Where: Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers

KEY WEST HOLIDAY FEST – A fun-filled array of celebrations includes the Harbor Walk of Lights, holiday historic inn tours, a boat parade, an on-land parade, island lights tours via the Conch Tour Train and Old Town Trolley, artisan markets and bazaars, The grand finale includes three New Year’s Eve “drops” that spoof New York City’s event: a descending 6-foot-high red high-shoe carrying drag queen Sushi, a conch-shell drop and a pirate-wench drop.
When: Dec.-Jan. 1
Where: Various locations in Key West

LET THERE BE LIGHTS -- Here are just some of the dazzling lighting displays throughout SoFla in the holiday season:

  • ZOO LIGHTS – There will be more than one million bright and dazzling tree lights and a 26-foot-tall LED holiday tree. Also: animal appearances, arts & crafts, Santa appearances, Snowman’s river boat rides, themed dress-up nights, letters to Santa and hot chocolate and cookies.
    When: Select nights from Nov. 25-Dec. 30
    Where: Zoo Miami, Miami
  • MAGIC OF LIGHTS -- Already a hit at Daytona International Speedway, this family-friendly light show has finally made its way to SoFla. Using the latest LED technology and digital animations, it features themed displays such as a prehistoric Christmas, Big Foot Monster Trucks and some 40 others. There is also a 200-foot light tunnel for cars to drive through.
    When: Nov. 18 through Jan. 1
    Where: Homestead Miami Speedway, Homestead
  • HOLIDAY FANTASY OF LIGHTS – This drive-thru event has a three-and-a half mile-long path with winding, snow-covered walkways to look at, all from the safety of your car. The walkways will be animated by millions of twinkling lights, which take the form of Santa and his reindeer, carousels, houses, palm trees and giraffes.
    When: Nov. 23-Jan. 1
    Where: Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek
  • JOHNSONVILLE NIGHT LIGHTS IN THE NAPLES BOTANICAL GARDEN – Discover (or rediscover) the natural beauty of plants from the tropics and subtropics as millions of lights will illuminate the gardens. There will be live music on the Water Garden stage. At the Fogg Café, you can enjoy goodies from the full menu as well as seasonal specials and holiday cocktails.
    When: Nov. 25-Dec. 23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1    
    Where: Naples Botanical Garden, Naples
  • EDISON & FORD HOLIDAY NIGHTS – This Southwest Florida tradition will once again feature a display of thousands of Christmas lights and decorations covering the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Favorite traditions from past years will return on select nights, including guided inside-the-homes tours, carolers, strolling musicians, visits with Santa and family science shows.
    When: Nov. 25-Jan. 1, but closed on Dec. 24-25
    Where: Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
  • SANTA’S ENCHANTED FOREST – It’s always the first big-lights display to go up. Enjoy one of SoFla’s tallest Christmas tree light shows, millions of dazzling lights, hundreds of themed displays, delicious food, live music and carnival rides. 
    When: Now through Jan. 8
    Where: Hialeah Park, Miami
  • THE NIGHT GARDEN – Here is a chance to see one of Miami’s most beautiful gardens brought to life at night with stunning illuminations, amazing special effects and lots of surprises for the entire family. You can talk to the Tree of Wisdom and see fairies flying before your eyes and dandelions that are taller than you. Some of Miami’s favorite food trucks will be on hand to spice up your evening.
    When: Now through Jan. 8 on Thursdays through Sundays
    Where: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami

BEDECKED & BEDAZZLED BOATS – Land is not the only place to see dazzling light displays during the holiday season. They’ll be on the water, too, via the many annual boat parades. What follows below is only a partial list: 

  • SEMINOLE HARD ROCK WINTERFEST BOAT PARADE – Considering that Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America,” it is understandable why this one is called “The Greatest Show on H2O.” Private boats to giant showboats and corporate mega yachts will be adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights, music, entertainment, decorations, celebrities and beauty queens. It starts in downtown Fort Lauderdale, goes east along the New River and then north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. There are also several other Winterfest holiday events, such as Family Fun Day and the Black Tie Ball.
    When: Dec. 10
    Where: Various locations in Fort Lauderdale
  • PALM BEACH HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE – The parade will be led by a Zambelli traveling fireworks show and there will be plenty of locations from which to view the festivities. You can see it from Juno Park, Bert Winters Park, Waterway Park, Sawfish Bay Park, Jupiter Riverwalk, Lighthouse Park and Harbourside Place. Or watch from restaurants and bars such as 1000 North, U-Tiki, Waterway Café, Jetty’s and Square Grouper Tiki Bar.
    When: Dec. 3
    Where: The Intracoastal Waterway from North Palm Beach to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
  • ISLAND STYLE CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE – Watch the boats sail by, decked out with holiday lights and decorations. Some of the recommended viewing spots are Esplanade on Smokehouse Bay and Snook Inn on the Marco River.
    When: Dec. 17
    Where: Marco Island
  • CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE ON NAPLES BAY – Pick your spot along the bay to enjoy the colorful and sparkly parade. Viewing spot are Landings Park, Bayview Park, Naples City Dock and restaurants Pinchers, Kelly’s Fish House and the Boat House.
    When: Dec. 10
    Where: Naples Bay, Naples
  • POMPANO BEACH HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE – It’s the oldest holiday boat parade in Florida and this year it is celebrating its 59th anniversary. It goes from Lake Santa Barbara all the way to the Hillsboro Bridge along the Intracoastal Waterway. Between 50 and 75 boats are expected to participate.
    When: Dec. 9
    Where: Pompano Beach
  • KEY LARGO HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE – Blackwater Sound will shimmer as the decorated boats go along the shoreline. This year’s theme is Naughty-cal and Nice! You’ll see everything from 55-foot yachts to single-person kayaks. The best viewing and libations can be found at the parade’s host location, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, and other waterfront venues between MM 103-104.
    When: Dec. 10
    Where: Key Largo

QBE SHOOTOUT & LIVE FEST– Hall of Fame golfer and host Greg Norman will no doubt garner another outstanding 24-person field (12 teams of two, to be announced soon) for the 23rd  version of this tournament. The QBE Shootout will once again feature a scramble format in the first round, a modified alternate shot format in the second round a better-ball format for the final round. The headliner for the Live Fest will be country music superstar Brad Paisley.
When: Dec. 7-11
Where: Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples

MUSIC FESTS – There are two good ones scheduled in December:

  • COAST IS CLEAR MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL – Headliners this year are Shakey Graves, Hiss Golden Messenger, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Fruit Bats and Langhorne Slim. Check out the VIP pass package, which gets you closer to the stage and access to a VIP bar. The Local Arts Market part of the festival is free.
    When: Dec. 1-4
    Where: Fort East Martello and other locations, Key West
  • NORTH BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL – The lineup will feature some of the best-known jam bands, funk bands and improvisational rock bands, including headliners Moe, Lotus, Lettuce, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dopapod, Antibalas, Trouble No More, Keller Williams, Doom Flamingo and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. Lots of good local food will be available.
    When: Dec. 10-11
    Where: North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach

TURN THE BEAT AROUND – Afro-Cuban rhythms flourished in the United States between the 1930s and the 1960s, including rumba, conga, jazz, the mambo, cha-cha-cha and salsa. Likewise, American Jazz and big band swing influenced music in Cuba. This exhibit replays this artistic exchange, illustrating musicians of both nations produced new musical forms by riffing off their neighbors. Posters, record and sheet music covers, film clips and audio from the era help bring to life the explosion of collaborative creativity driven by Hollywood musicals, American dance studios and Cuban performers.
When: Now through April 30
Where: The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami

ANCESTRAL GROUNDS – Miami’s own Peter London Global Dance Company returns to the stage for its 11th season with a performance featuring a spectacular array of multiethnic choreographers. Inspired by Miami’s rich multicultural heritage, the program features virtuosic performances accompanied by commissioned scores.
When: Dec. 28-31
Where: Adrienne Arsht Center For the Performing Arts, Miami

MICCOSUKEE INDIAN ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL – Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American culture during this three-day gathering of music, arts and entertainment in the heart of the Florida Everglades. It will feature crafts, authentic cuisine, alligator handling demonstrations, live music and dance.
When: Dec. 29-31
Where: Miccosukee Indian Village

CHONO THLEE – SPARKING A NEW ERA IN SEMINOLE ART – This art exhibit is being presented through a partnership of History Fort Lauderdale and the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and was launched during Native American Heritage Month in November. It highlights new contemporary works by indigenous artists that analyze elemental relationships for the future based on the foundations of trust, truth, dignity and integrity. The 13 artists are Tia Blais-Billi , Durante Blais-Billie, Nick DiCarlo, Jacob Osceola, Leroy Osceola, Daniel Tommie, Samuel Tommie, Shonayeh Tommie, Gordon Wareham, Krystle Young, Brian Zepeda, Corinne Zepeda and the late Jimmy Osceola.
When: Now through Jan. 10
Where: Art History Fort Lauderdale

TANGERINE AIRFEST – This one-of-a-kind remote control model aircraft show is a hobbyist’s dream, spotlighting all types of model flying, ranging from simple gliders to small jets powered by real turbines.


EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – One of EPCOT’s biggest draws, the Food & Wine Festival kicks off in July for a four-month celebration of gourmet dishes and desserts from around the worlds, as well as every type of libation from French wine to Belgian beer to hot Japanese sake. Visit the park for the rides and attractions, and linger for the around-the-world flavors and aromas that highlight various customs and cultures to suit each palate.
When: through Nov. 19
Where: EPCOT, Lake Buena Vista

DRIVE-IN MOVIES – Drive-in movie theaters are enjoying a renaissance, catering to those who like to enjoy the group film-watching experience while also keeping a car’s length distance. The Central Florida region has a number of old fashioned drive-ins showing movies old and new, and patrons wearing masks can buy popcorn, soda and Twizzlers at the snack bars. Load up the family – some venues even allow pets – and check out some of the classics under the stars.
When: Five days a week to daily; check hours online
Where: Dade City, Ruskin, Lakeland, Ocala
Web: and and and

LAKE APOPKA WILDLIFE DRIVE AUDIO TOUR – Go on your own mini-safari through the restored former farm fields of Lake Apopka North Shore, where you’ll find lots of native birds, turtles, alligators, bobcats, snakes and other wildlife, as well as spotting rare Florida plant species. The St. Johns River Water Management District created a cool audio tour, which you can access with your mobile device, as you drive along the 11-mile stretch and soak in the scenery and solitude.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from sunrise to sunset
Where: Lake Apopka North Shore farmlands, Orange County

LUKAS NURSERY BUTTERFLY ENCOUNTER – This year-round butterfly and bird conservatory is a fun and memorable experience for kids and adults alike, offering up-close encounters with stunningly graceful butterflies, chirping finches, Chinese button quail and lots and lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Learn about butterfly gardening and life cycles from the on-site experts and feed these fluttering friends right from your fingertips before peak season ends in late September. Can’t make the trip? The nursery offers virtual tours via its YouTube channel:  
When: Daily 
Where: Lukas Nursery, Oviedo

BOTTOMS UP BLOCK PARTY ON CLEVELAND STREET – Meet local craft breweries serving up refreshing samples of their fall creations and newest flavors while meeting local brewers and picking up some limited swag. All ages are welcome and the 21-and-up guests can purchase a craft beer sampling wristband for $10, allowing them to taste dozens of craft beer flavors along with purchasing food samples from local restaurants and enjoying live music only steps from Clearwater’s beautiful coastline.
When: Nov. 19
Where: Station Square Park, Clearwater

DINO RESCUE AT THE CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM – From now until the spring, anyone visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – home of the late Winter the Dolphin – can get up-close and personal with life-size dinosaurs, some as tall as 35 feet and 65 feet long. As guests walk throughout CMA, they will encounter the dinosaurs, which move and roar, as they rehabilitate from various ailments today’s animals face, such as habitat loss and entanglement. The visiting exhibit will help guests of all ages learn about the intricate work of saving creatures on the brink of extinction.
When: Oct. 15-April 15
Where: Clearwater

SHOPAPALOOZA – This free, fast-growing, post-Thanksgiving shopping tradition continues, allowing guests to support small, local businesses while enjoying live music, food trucks and family-friendly fun. Check out more than 350 booths, tents, stages and tables showcasing local shops, artists, musicians, food vendors and service providers. Pick up some holiday gifts, try some locally made treats and spend time in one of St. Pete’s most scenic waterside parks.
When: Nov. 26-27
Where: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg

SANDING OVATIONS MASTERS CUP – Master sculptors from all over the world bring their best stuff to Treasure Island for this must-see sand sculpting competition held on one of Pinellas County’s most beautiful beaches. This year’s theme is “Once Upon a Time” and, like last year, guests can enjoy these intricate works of art made from Florida west coast sugar sand for two weekends instead of one. Vendors will also be selling food and sweet treats while live bands entertain the crowds, who will have plenty of room to space out along the beach. If you’re there on Saturday the 19th, stick around until after sunset for a special fireworks show.
When: Nov. 17-20 & Nov. 26-27
Where: Treasure Island

ENCHANT – Bringing a wintery wonderland to the west coast of Florida, Enchant will open its doors right after Thanksgiving, allowing visitors to stroll through a story-themed light maze, skate on a real ice rink, shop for gifts or holiday décor at a village of tiny boutiques and vendors, sip a merry mocktail or spiked hot chocolate, visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and more. Take advantage of the many photo ops throughout the course and enjoy live music and pop-up performances by entertainers.
When: Nov. 25-Jan. 1
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

HUNSADER FARMS COUNTRY CHRISTMAS – Adorned with more than 300,000 lights that glow among the fields after sunset, this real Florida farm transforms into a holiday wonderland of train rides, snow tubing, movies on a big screen, hayrides, campfires, a Christmas village with Santa, pony rides, a petty zoo and live bands. Stay for dinner by stopping at any of the food vendors selling turkey legs, pizza, burgers, warm pretzels, hot chocolate, s’mores and other festival fare, or shop at the antique and crafts store for some unique gifts to take home.
When: Dec. 10-11, Dec. 16-18, Dec. 22-23
Where: Hunsader Farms, Bradenton

TANGERINE AIRFEST – This one-of-a-kind remote control model aircraft show is a hobbyist’s dream, spotlighting all types of model flying, ranging from simple gliders to small jets powered by real turbines. Held at the end of each year by the Remote Control Association of Central Florida, the event features multiple weekends of racing, stunt flying and general showboating, ending with a dazzling air show on New Year’s Eve. Food trucks and snack vendors will also be there to feed hungry flyers and onlookers.
When: Dec. 3-4, Dec. 9-11, Dec. 17-18 & Dec. 31
Where: Don Lowe Field, Apopka

PIONEER CHRISTMAS AND VINTAGE MARKET & DADE CITY PARADE – Experience a piece of Florida history while getting into the Christmas spirit at this Pioneer Florida Museum market and festival, which will feature model train displays, a gnome hut, blacksmith demonstrations and more. Meet Santa, get free family photos, decorate cookies, ride ponies and enjoy live music and entertainment. The small town of Dade City have an evening night parade, keeping many of its shops and restaurants open late for patrons.
When: Dec. 4 & Dec. 9
Where: Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, Dade City

STETSON MANSION CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR TOURS – Get a glimpse of the opulent life of the Gilded Age by touring this historic mansion, the largest and most modern home ever built in Florida before 1900. From November through most of January, several rooms in this state gem will be adorned with elaborate designer decorations and 24 nativities from around the world, and visitors can also see original School House featuring a soaring 15-foot Polynesian ceiling. Both guided and self-guided tours are offered, and parking is free.
When: Nov. 1-Jan. 21
Where: Stetson Mansion, DeLand

WEKIVA ISLAND WINTER WONDERLAND – Known for its natural springs and rich Florida wildlife, Wekiva Island is located just north of Orlando and offers its own family-friendly spin on Christmas throughout the month. Wander through the Christmas Tree Forest and its 30-foot tree, take a sleigh ride down the Wekiva River, visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus, meet he Grinch and The Whoville Elves, watch a holiday movie outdoors and enjoy memorable “snow” flurries, stilt walkers, live music and other entertainment nightly.
When: Dec. 2-Dec. 25
Where: Wekiva Island

THE VERNARDOS CIRCUS – Created by a former Ringling Brothers ringmaster, this traveling, humans-only show is part circus and part musical, featuring jugglers on stilts, acrobats, trapeze artists, singing, dancing and other dazzling perfomances, all under an intimate red-striped tent. Settle in with some popcorn, cotton candy and lemonade and watch some jaw-dropping acts on stage that mix classic Americana nostalgia with colorful talent and tricks.
When: Nov. 23-Dec 11
Where: Hamlin Plaza, Winter Garden

APOPKA ARTS IN THE PARK – Located just outside of Orlando, the city of Apopka celebrates all things arts, crafts and music at this all-day fest, held in and around its dome-shaped amphitheater and featuring more than 100 artist and vendors. Shop for hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, clothing and accessories, or check out the paintings, photography, woodwork, sculptures and other original work for sale. Parking and attendance is free and there will be plenty of food, ice cream and drink vendors on hand to keep the refreshments flowing.
When: Dec. 3-4
Where: Apopka Amphitheater, Apopka

COTTOM FARM’S CHRISTMAS VILLAGE – Visit this tiny town near Ocala, where Cottom Farm is open nightly (except on Christmas Day) for tours of the village and Santa’s house, a Christmas light maze and hayrides. The farm also holds special events, such as Pancakes with Santa on Dec. 10 and a craft and vendor fair that features tasty holiday treats, home décor and handmade gifts. See Santa and Mrs. Clause’s kitchen, master bedroom and other cool areas of their intricately decorated home, sample some Christmas cookies and stroll the lakeside property stung with sparkling lights.
When: Nov. 25 through end of December
Where: Weirsdale, Marion County

NORTH POLE EXPRESS – Hop aboard a historically preserved train and take a 35-minute ride to the North Pole station, where Santa awaits, along with cookies and cocoa and other fair-style snacks, some craft-making stations, a model train, a reindeer food-making station and other holiday fun before returning to the Florida Railroad Museum. Guests can also purchase s’mores kits and roast their own s’mores at one of the open campfires at the station.
When: Dec. 1-4, Dec. 7-11, Dec. 14-18, Dec. 19-21
Where: Florida Railroad Museum, Parrish

HOLIDAY LIGHTED BOAT PARADE – An annual tradition of twinkling lights and elaborate displays floating in the night, this spectacular boat parade along Tampa’s Hillsborough River and downtown’s parks features booming music, Santas, elves, trees, stars and other dazzling holiday cheer. Sailboats and motorboats each compete for a winning prize, so be sure to cheer loudly for your favorite. Before or after the parade, hop on a water taxi or free streetcar ride to check out some other sights downtown or at Sparkman Wharf.
When: Dec. 17
Where: Hillsborough River, Downtown Tampa

DOWNTOWN ST. PETE HOLIDAY EVENTS – The Sunshine City offers several opportunities for holiday joy, bringing Santa, snow, ice skating and gorgeous lights to some of St. Petersburg’s prettiest parks. The popular, one-day Snowfest features a toboggan slide down crunchy white snow, and kids can visit Santa and take photos on several dates in North Straub Park. Decorate gingerbread cookies at Pioneer Park, or watch a movie near Crescent Lake. For those just looking to stroll among the holiday beauty, St. Pete’s parks will be decorated with thousands of lights and decorations every night from Nov. 26 through Jan. 1.
When: Nov. 26-Jan. 1
Where: South Straub Park, North Straub Park, Pioneer Park, Vinoy Park & St. Pete Pier

A TASTE OF CHANUKAH – Returning for its 12th year, the Taste of Chanukah music and food festival celebrates Jewish culture and holiday revelry with a huge snow slide, a balloon menorah, face painting, a live DJ and a helicopter in the air that rains Hanukkah gelt onto the crowd. But the real star of the day may be the delicious kosher food prepared by some of the area’s top caterers, as well as other snacks such as shaved ice and baked goods. Parking is free and if you’re tired of walking around, hop aboard the trackless train for a tour.
When: Dec. 18
Where: Phillippi Estate Park, Sarasota

TAMPA THEATRE’S HOLIDAY CLASSICS – Get into the spirit while nestled in the historic and dramatically lit Tampa Theatre, munching popcorn, sipping wine and enjoying timeless classic movies such as “Miracle on 24th Street,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and “Eight Crazy Nights.” Catch a Sunday sing-along with “White Christmas” and “Frozen,” or croon along to some pre-show Christmas carols on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, a longtime favorite among the theatre’s patrons.
When: Nov. 27 and various showings throughout December
Where: Tampa Theatre, downtown Tampa

 BLACK CREEK PADDLING FESTIVAL — Join Paddle Florida for two days of paddling, fellowship, live entertainment and educational environmental presentations on preserving North Florida’s rivers, springs and watersheds.



GHOSTS, MURDERS AND MAYHEM SEGWAY TOUR  Learn a little more about Pensacola’s dark side and the ghosts who wander the city’s old Red Light District once the moon rises. Guests will zip along the city’s streets visiting the site of a street car bombing or the first drive-through funeral home. They’ll also learn about Seville Quarter’s bartending ghost. Tours must be booked in advance and are limited to only 6 guests. Stories told on the tour vary nightly.
When: Daily
Where: Pensacola

ANIMATIONLAND — Inspire your future “Walt Disney” with a visit to the Cade Museum for this interactive, immersive exhibit on the art of storytelling. Guests are encouraged to use their imagination as they develop their own animated production by learning the step-by-step processes for storyboarding, sketching, stop-motion filming and more. The special exhibit from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will be at the Cade through Jan. 1.
When: through Jan. 1
Where: Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, Gainesville

SHRIMPLY THE BEST — There’s seafood; and then there’s fresh-off-the-boat Florida seafood that’s caught and cooked on the same day. To celebrate the state’s bounty, many coastal communities host a festival. Which one are you headed to?

  • Yankeetown Arts, Crafts & Seafood Festival (Yankeetown, Nov. 19-20): Head to this tiny, “Real Florida” coastal village (pop. about 600) on the banks of the Lower Withlacoochee for the 41st annual event “where art meets nature”. Includes fresh seafood eats, arts and crafts vendors and live music on two stages. 

CHIPLEY SCOTTISH FESTIVAL & HIGHLAND GAMES — Break out your clan’s kilt, perfect your caber toss stance and dance a jig while celebrating your — or someone else’s — Scottish heritage at Chipley’s 19th annual fest. If throwing large logs seems like a hefty challenge, contestants can also try sheaf tossing or stone throwing. Includes live music by Panama City Pipes and Drums and Jig to a Milestone, a performance by Tallahassee’s Timberland Arts & Dance Academy, plus clans from Florida and Alabama.
When: Nov. 19
Where: Chipley

OLD TYME FARM DAYS AND SWAP MEET — You won’t need a time machine to drop your family into the 19th century during this Thanksgiving weekend celebration of American rural life that includes exhibitions on syrup making, cane grinding and blacksmithing. Kids will get to explore their creative side at the Suwannee Spirit Kid’s Music Camp Expo where they’ll be able to get hands-on lessons for guitar, fiddle, banjo, harmonic, ukulele, drums and vocals. Also includes sled pulls, a tractor and historic engine show, swap meet and arts and crafts vendors.
When: Nov. 25-26
Where: Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground, Live Oak

JACKSONVILLE LIGHT BOAT PARADE — Here’s your chance to enjoy one of the best holiday parades on the water in North Florida. Boats decked out in holiday finery from hundreds of twinkling lights to inflatables will cruise the St. Johns River between downtown Jacksonville’s north and south banks. The key is to score one of the coveted spots along either bank’s river walk between the Acosta and Main Street Bridges for the city’s biggest annual fireworks display at the parade’s conclusion. Don’t forget to have your smartphone ready. This is the city's only fireworks display each year when sparkling waterfalls of light rain down from the city’s bridges. It’s always the “wow” moment of the evening. 
When: Nov. 26
Where: Jacksonville

CHRISTMAS IN ST. AUGUSTINE — Thanks to Night of Lights (Nov. 19 - Jan. 31), St. Augustine’s nationally-renowned extravaganza featuring millions of twinkling fairy lights hung throughout the historic center, the city celebrates all things Christmas. Here’s a quick lineup of some of the other iconic events.

  • Night of Pints (Nov. 18 - Jan. 31): To celebrate Night of Lights, the city’s craft breweries have created a commemorative T-shirt. Purchase of each t-shirt includes one free pint at these three craft breweries: Dog Rose Brewing Company, Ancient City Brewing and Bootlegger Beach Brewing. Limited quantities available.
  • Villa Zorayda Candlelight Christmas Tour (Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 9, 17, 21, 27, 29, 30): Explore the gilded age masterpiece decked out for the holidays during one the Christmas candlelight tours. Built by Franklin W. Smith in 1883 as a winter residence, its Moorish revival architecture was inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The museum is decorated in its signature colors — red and gold — and features a two-story Christmas tree in the center of the “Court of Lions”.
  • Christmas Parade (Dec. 3): The city’s annual Christmas Parade includes floats, marching bands, classic cars and concludes with Santa’s arrival at Plaza de la Constitucion for pictures. The parade route starts at the Mission Nombre de Dios off San Marco Avenue and winds through the downtown streets of the historic quarter.
  • Lighthouse Illuminations (select dates from Nov. 23 - Jan. 14): Before undertaking your nighttime climb up the xxx stairs of St. Augustine’s lighthouse, explore the Keeper’s house and grounds decorated with 20 trees and illuminated by holiday lights and garland. Advance reservations are required as dates will fill up quickly. 
  • Regatta of Lights (Dec. 10): The holiday season wouldn’t be complete in St. Augustine without a lighted boat parade. This one takes place along the Matanzas River near the Bridge of Lions.
  • St. Augustine Community Chorus Christmas Concert (Dec. 10, 11): For 74 years the St. Augustine Community Chorus has helped ring in the season during its annual concert. This year, they will bring voice to the first part of Handel’s Messiah, which includes the story of the nativity and its prophecy. The concert also includes familiar carols and takes place at St. Augustine’s historic Cathedral Basilica.
  • Nutcracker (Dec. 17-18): Transport yourself back in time during the St. Augustine Ballet Company’s 14th annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s classic two-act ballet featuring Clara, the Mouse King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker. 

PENSACOLA WINTERFEST — All aboard! The engine is already warming up because it’s nearly go-time for Pensacola’s annual live action tours featuring beloved Christmas tales. This year’s Winterfest celebration features three tour options: Polar Express, Grinch and Scrooge. Polar Express tour guests are treated to a pre-tour performance on the courthouse steps before boarding an open air tram. Guests on the Scrooge and Grinch tours will journey around town in one of the special trolleys designed specifically for each tour. Each adventure includes special guests — Jacob Marley, Thing 1 & Thing 2 — along with musical performances, live readings and other entertainment. Guest photos with Santa feature a new set with plenty of space for the whole family.
When: Nov. 20, 25-27, Dec. 2-3, 9, 11, 16-18, 20-24
Where: Pensacola

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT — St. Augustine isn’t the only city that comes alive in December. Add one — or more! — of these to your to-do list for the holidays.

  • First City Lights Festival (Pensacola, Nov. 9 - Jan. 15): Downtown Pensacola threw the switch on its holiday light display during Foo Foo Festival, setting a half million twinkling lights aglow throughout its shopping, gallery and restaurant district along Palafox Avenue. Includes live pop-up performances, caroling and surprise visits from Santa.
  • 12 Nights of Lights (Miramar Beach, Dec. 2-3, 7, 9-10, 14, 16-17, 21, 23): The Village at Baytowne Wharf present a special holiday edition of their Wednesday night concert series with three nightly holiday-themed light shows on the village tree at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on select dates leading up to Christmas.
  • Suwannee Lights (Live Oak, Nov. 22 - Dec. 31): This magical, nightly drive thru experience at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park features more than 12 million lights, caroling, walk-thru light displays, photo ops, campfires, winter treats and appearances by Santa and his elves.
  • Polar Bear Express (Bristol, Dec. 2-3, 9-11, 15-17, 19-21, 28-29): This 20-minute train ride at Veteran’s Memorial Park departs from the Tom Keenan Depot and takes riders on a journey that includes thousands of lights and life-size scenes including Santa’s Village, Polar Bear Mountain and Frozen.
  • Deck the Chairs (Jacksonville Beach, Nov. 23 - Jan. 1): Jacksonville Beach boasts one of North Florida’s more unusual light displays as local businesses and nonprofit organizations transform standard beach lifeguard chairs into magical, themed holiday displays. The annual event, which celebrates ten years, also includes live entertainment on the nearby Seawalk Pavilion Stage featuring local and international dance studios, concerts by the First Coast Wind Symphony and Tuba Christmas as well as the SeaSongs Musical Light Show that runs hourly on Fridays through Sundays.

CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD — The “Most Haunted Small Town in the U.S.” leaves its spooky past in October to roll out the red carpet for human guests each December. Monticello’s annual fest welcomes visitors to enjoy its small-town ambiance — it is the only city in Jefferson County — while ringing in the spirit of the season. The daylong festivities include the Christmas Light Parade, tree lighting, visit with Santa, live entertainment, vendor marketplace and kids village.
When: Dec. 2
Where: Monticello

USDAA PALS & PAWS DOG AGILITY TRIAL — When you need a break from all things holiday-related, treat yourself to a day watching dogs run through tunnels, jump through tires, weave through poles and balance on seesaws. Seriously, how can a person not be happy watching a dog cruising through an obstacle course, especially when things go awry? The competition starts daily at 8 a.m., but the end times vary based on the number of dogs entered each day.
When: Dec. 2-4
Where: Jacksonville Equestrian Center

GULLAH GEECHEE HERITAGE FESTIVAL — The ninth annual fest celebrates St. Augustine’s multicultural history by honoring the city’s first black settlers on the southern tip of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. Festival goers will get to experience a Ring Shout, one of North America’s surviving African American musical traditions, as well as watch Andrea Cayetano-Jefferson of Gullah Sweetgrass Baskets demonstrate the coiled basket weaving art. Musicians Doug Carn and Amy Alissa & The Soul Operation will be performing live and Chef Matthew Raiford will hold cooking demonstrations using local ingredients plentiful in the southeastern barrier islands like rice, shrimp and field peas.
When: Dec. 3
Where: Armstrong Park, Elkton

WINTER FESTIVAL — The 36th annual holiday spectacular brings more than 100,000 revelers to the state capitol to make merry, get healthy and jam to live music on four stages. Festival highlights include a family stroll through Candy Cane Lane in McCarty Plaza, a kids arts and crafts zone in Kleman Plaza, the lighting ceremony to illuminate the Chain of Parks for the month and Capital Health Jingle Bell Run, which is only 1.53 miles and perfect for families. The Nighttime Holiday Parade closes the fest with more than 65 entries. Grab your seat along Monroe Street early.
When: Dec. 3
Where: Tallahassee

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Get decorating inspiration plus a history lesson on one of these tours.

  • Holiday Home Tour (Fernandina Beach, Dec. 2-3): The Amelia Island Museum of History has chosen five historic family homes in Fernandina Beach for their 16th annual tour. “Elves”, aka local florists and interior designers will deck the halls in lavish fashion. Meanwhile docents will provide visitors with the homes’ history, highlight architectural elements and serve as tour guides.
  • History & Holidays Guided Tour (Gainesville, Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 31): Constructed in 1854, the 6,200-square-foot Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation was built by 56 enslaved laborers. Its unique history includes 12,500 words written on the home’s interior walls, including the closets, by the Haile family. Each year, December visitors to the homestead get to travel back in time learning the history of the family and slaves who lived onsite and worked the land, while exploring the home decorated for the holidays. This year’s theme is angels.

BLACK CREEK PADDLING FESTIVAL — Join Paddle Florida for two days of paddling, fellowship, live entertainment and educational environmental presentations on preserving North Florida’s rivers, springs and watersheds. Paddlers will explore Clay County by paddling 12 miles on Black Creek and 8 miles on Peter’s Creek. Attendees are responsible for bringing their own kayaks or canoes; the trip fee includes camping, meals, river maps, evening entertainment and a commemorative t-shirt. 
When: Dec. 7-9
Where: Camp Chowenwaw Park, Green Cove Springs

HOLIDAY ON THE HARBOR — The Christmas season in Carrabelle kicks off with this event by land and sea. The Harbor Street Festival brings the spirit of the season to downtown Carrabelle and features holiday shopping at local stores and galleries, kids activities, arts and crafts, live entertainment and local seafood, home-style cooking and a craft beer garden. This year, the fest is adding a Children's Petting Zoo with sheep, goats, bunnies, pig and a mini cow, horse and donkey. Once the lights go down, festival goers can grab a waterfront seat for the Boat Parade of Lights which concludes with a fireworks display.
When: Dec. 10
Where: Carrabelle

TOTALLY LIT! A HANUKKAH CELEBRATION! — Join the Jacksonville Jewish Center for its annual Hanukkah celebration in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. The evening event includes traditional Hanukkah baked treats like sufganiyot (yummy powdered, jelly-filled donuts), live music, storytelling, crafts, dreidel games and the lighting of the Menorah. Beer and kosher wine will also be available for adults.
When: Dec. 20
Where: James Weldon Johnson Park, Jacksonville

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