Edison and Ford Winter Estates 46th annual Holiday Nights
Edison and Ford Winter Estates will kick off the 46th annual Holiday Nights celebration with a tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 26. Guests can participate in the countdown with Dave Elias from NBC-2 when the historic Mysore Fig on the Ford property will be lit with thousands of animated lights choreographed to holiday music. Female vocalists, The American Sirens, will perform shortly after the tree lighting. This year's theme is "Holidays Under the Stars" and will incorporate elements of nature and the outdoors. "Holiday Nights" will be open through Jan. 2. Thousands of lights, hundreds of historic decorations and one unique holiday experience await you nightly from 5:30-9 p.m. Enjoy exciting new lighting displays, visits with Santa, carolers and musicians, refreshments, family science shows, and more on select evenings. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers. To purchase tickets or view the nightly schedule, visit the website at www.edisonford.org.
Venice Holiday Parade
The Venice Holiday Parade will return to downtown Venice on Nov. 27. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and will start at the corner of Park Boulevard and West Venice Avenue. It will continue down West Venice Avenue, on the north side, after crossing over Harbor Drive. Then the parade will take a turn onto Nokomis Avenue and will go down to Turin Street. At Turin Street, the parade will turn right, making its way to the Venice Community Center where it will end. There will be no early set-up of chairs or blankets along the parade route or else will be removed by the city. However, chairs may be set up the afternoon of the parade only. http://veniceholidayparade.com. Boy Scout Troop 77 will collect food and donations on behalf of the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program.
Giant menorah at Venice Hanukkah Klezmer celebration
Chabad of Venice will be hosting their annual Hanukkah Klezmer Festival at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at Centennial Park, 200 W. Venice Ave., Venice. This year’s Hanukkah event features a live performance from the Freylekh Klezmer band, a presentation from Chabad’s Hebrew School students, a dreidel house and a giant 16-foot menorah. Traditional Hanukkah foods — latkes, donuts and chocolate coins will be served. For more information, call 941-493-2770.
5 p.m. Nov. 30 outside Warm Mineral Springs, 12200 San Servando Ave., North Port. For more information, call 941-493-2770.
Celebrate Chanukah in Englewood
The entire community is invited to celebrate Chanukah in Englewood on Dearborn Street corner Magnolia on the 5th night of Chanukah at 5 p.m. Dec. 2. Festivities will include Lighting of a 9-foot menorah, music, dancing, hot latkas, donuts, dreidels, crafts and more. For more information, call 941-493-2770.
Venice Christmas Walk
Annual Christmas Walk downtown Venice along the avenues. Live entertainment and light refreshments served in stores. 5-8 p.m. Dec 2. Historic Downtown Venice, 101 W. Venice Ave. 941-484-6722 or www.visitvenicefl.org.
The Ringling supports Toys for Tots with annual Holiday Splendor event
Holiday Splendor will be held on three evenings in December with free admission to the museum and Ca’d’Zan mansion for all who bring a new, unwrapped toy. The event is open 5-8 p.m. Dec. 2, 9, 16, and helps support the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual toy collection drive. The toys will benefit children in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Local schools will provide musical entertainment on the Bolger Campiello. All venues will be open for self-touring, including the Museum of Art, Ca' d'Zan and the Circus Museum. Admission is free with one unwrapped toy per person. Regular admission will apply without a toy donation. Guests should enter through the McKay Visitors Pavilion.The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. For more information, visit www.ringling.org/events/holiday-splendor.
Babcock Ranch hosts its three-day Winter Wonderland from Dec. 3-5. The weekend of activities include Santa Claus, a North Pole center for children along with holiday music, and town’s tree lighting. It will take place in Founder’s Square.The events open to the public and are free. Food and drinks will be available from food trucks along with nearby restaurants. The town’s annual tree lighting ceremony kicks off the event on Dec. 3. Opening night festivities include holiday music performed by students from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Bower School of Music & The Arts, the Punta Gorda Symphony and a children’s choir from the Babcock Neighborhood School. It will also feature a reading by Mrs. Claus, welcome remarks by Kitson, a light show choreographed to music at Innovation Tower, the town’s 67-foot-tall landmark over Lake Babcock, and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Babcock Ranch’s holiday tree will sparkle with light as guests sing carols across Founder’s Square. Those attending the night’s festivities need to register for a parking pass with $5 fee for nonresidents. Registration won’t be necessary on Dec. 4-5. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/babcockranch/events.
Light up the Night
Enjoy bounce houses, food trucks, Santa Claus, Christmas tree lighting at 7 p.m., Marker 5 Band, emcee NBC2 Anchor Stacy Deffenbaugh Meyer, plus a chance of snow. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Christmas tree lighting at 7 p.m. Downtown Punta Gorda at the corner of West Marion Avenue and Taylor Street. www.facebook.com/CityOfPuntaGorda.
Venice Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
The lights, the palm trees, the waterways. There is no better way to start the holiday season than watching or participating in the Venice Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Starting signal is 6 p.m. Dec. 4. www.venicechristmasboatparade.com.
Celebrate Hanukkah at Fishermen's Village
The lighting of the Menorah in front of the main entrance to Fishermen’s Village at 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Rabbi Jacobson of Chabad of Charlotte County will be among those who will light the candles. Children participating will receive treats and dreidels and music will be featured. For more information, contact Chabad of Charlotte County at 941-258-0177 or www.chabadofcharlottecounty.com. Fishermen’s Village is at 200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda. Visit www.fishermensvillage.com for full holiday event details.
Holiday drive thru event
The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County has partnered with Sonshine Baptist Church and Safe Kids Southwest Florida, to bring the community some holiday cheer. The event will include a food pantry, nativity scene and holiday goodie bags.There will be a bicycle helmet giveaway and fitting for each child. Santa will be on the scene for all the boys and girls to see and wave to on their way by. 10 a.m.- noon Dec. 4 at Sonshine Baptist Church, 23105 Veterans Blvd., Port Charlotte. There is no charge for the event, but space is limited. Reserve your spot by emailing Farrah.Fishman@flhealth.gov or calling 941-624-7200, ext. 7273. This is a drive thru event only.
Poinsettia Parade & Festival
The City of North Port will host it's annual Poinsettia Parade followed by the Poinsettia Festival at the City Center Front Green, 4970 City Hall Blvd., North Port. 4-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4. The festival will take place throughout the grounds of the City Center Campus, including on the Front Green and inside City Hall. This fun-filled holiday festival will feature a tree lighting ceremony, food vendors, entertainment, performances by local school choruses, attractions, vendors and much more. The Poinsettia Parade will march down Sumter Boulevard starting from Sylvania Avenue through the City Center Campus, ending at the Festival. The theme this year is "Retro Rockin' Holidays." Escorted by North Port Fire Rescue, St. Nick will make a special appearance in the parade. Admission and parking is free. 941-429-7275 or www.cityofnorthport.com.
Breakfast with Santa
Enjoy visiting with Santa, eating breakfast, playing games, making a Christmas ornament and shopping for a loved one in Santa's workshop on Dec. 4. Kids will be able to join Santa's Elves in his workshop shopping and wrapping gifts for their parent and siblings. Cost: $5 adult $3 children ages 1-13 and includes Santa visit, pancake breakfast, cookie decorating, craft and Santa's workshop. Families will register for a specific time. Space is limited. https://bit.ly/3EPVdZW. Franz Ross Park YMCA, 19333 Quesada Ave., Port Charlotte.
Annual Jingle Jam
This event will feature the Tomahawk 5K, Pet sweater parade, holiday market, golf cart parade, carriage rides, kids crafts and activities, holiday entertainment and appearances by Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Dec. 4-5. CoolToday Park, 18800 W. Villages Parkway, West Villages. https://bit.ly/2ZWlhTM.
Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade
The 43rd Annual Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade kicks off at noon Dec. 11 from the Charlotte Performing Arts Center, along Carmalita Street and goes down Taylor Road and disbands at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. For more information, visit charlottecountychamber.org.
Lights in Bloom
Lights in Bloom: An Open-Air Holiday Light Show will feature more than two million lights illuminating the gardens and walkways. Don’t miss a holiday photo opportunity, children’s arts and crafts, activities and entertainment. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11-23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1-2. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota. Tickets are on sale at selby.org.
4th Annual Paradise Christmas Fair
Vendors, crafts, food trucks and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 12. Selfies with Santa from noon-1 p.m.. Laishley Park, 100 Nesbit St, Punta Gorda. www.facebook.com/localladiessouthflorida.
Punta Gorda Boat Parade
Christmas Town runs daily with park-wide festive fun from Nov. 12-Jan. 2 at Busch Gardens. Tampa’s biggest and brightest holiday event opens with millions of twinkling holiday lights throughout the park’s 335 acres, spectacular fireworks, and a brand-new experience with Santa that will create merry memories for guests of all ages. The holiday event features Holiday in the Sky Fireworks Show — enjoy classic holiday tunes and watch festive bursts of Christmas colors as they cover the sky in a dazzling fireworks display on the festival field every Saturday and select event nights. Storytime with Mrs. Claus is located in the Coke Canopy near the Christmas Town Village,where Mrs. Claus will share traditional holiday tales and a joyful song. At Santa’s North Pole Experience, jolly elves guide guests to see Santa in his workshop as he prepares for the holiday season. Other fan favorites includes “Christmas on Ice,” an inspiring skating production transforms the stage with incredible feats of skating athleticism for a truly unmissable show set to holiday classic songs. Join Cookie Monster, Rosita, Grover and Zoe as they help Elmo find his Christmas wish. Three Kings Journey is the musical tale of the famed journey to Bethlehem is celebrated in the round at the Stanleyville Theater. Journey to Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland to find the most famous reindeer of all. Busch Gardens, 10165 McKinley Drive, Tampa. For more information, visit www.ChristmasTown.com.
See the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in a whole new light. The gardens decorated with thousands of lights makes the perfect family holiday outing. This is a walk-through holiday experience that is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Hallmarks of this event include breathtaking lights throughout our entire gardens, roast s'mores over a open fire, hot cocoa, sing Christmas carols to spread holiday cheer and explore the expanding garden and sculpture collection.6-9 p.m. Last admission is at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 10-12, Dec. 17-21 and Dec. 27-28. River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens, 5827 Riverside Drive, Punta Gorda. All tickets are pre-purchase through Eventbright. No tickets will be sold at the ticket booth during the event. 941-621-8299 or peacerivergardens.org.
Breakfast with Santa
Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources invites children ages 12 and under and their families to the free, Breakfast with Santa event, 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 18. Enjoy breakfast, holiday music, and a visit by Santa in person at Laurel Park, 509 Collins Road, Nokomis, or by drive-through at Newtown Estates Park, 2800 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota. Don't forget to drop off letters for Santa. For more information, visit scgov.net or call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000. Register children ages 12 and under online before Dec. 10 for a toy giveaway.
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