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It’s the most wondrous time of the year in Tampa Bay when the city comes to life with millions of twinkling lights and holiday décor. From the beaches to the magnificent homes that line Bayshore Boulevard, friends and neighbors are embracing the season in full color. Celebrate the holidays this year by visiting one of the many holiday events around our area. We’ve compiled a list of area events–whether you enjoy a lighted boat parade or relaxing to the sounds of the season choreographed to spectacular displays–to enjoy with friends, family, and your favorite treats.

Photo courtesy of Decorating Elves

Holiday Light Displays – Commercial

Decorating Elves, a landscape lighting service in St. Petersburg, has been decorating some of the area’s biggest and brightest commercial and residential outdoor landscape décor and light displays. You can see some of their illuminating displays at these locations this season.

● City of Seminole Rec Center, 9100 113th Street North, Seminole

● Homes along Brightwaters Blvd., St. Petersburg

● Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach

● Ibis Walk, 10400 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg

● Charles Rutenberg Realty, 1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater

● Multiple condos along Gulf Blvd. at Sand Key, Clearwater

● Sundial, 153 2nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg

Holiday Light Displays – Neighborhoods

November 25-January 3, from 6-10 p.m.

The Oakdale Christmas House, 2719 Oakdale Street South, St. Petersburg

For 40 years, the Oakdale Christmas House has welcomed locals and visitors to enjoy its holiday displays. This stunning display has been named among the top 3 Christmas Light Displays in the country and featured in numerous media outlets. The artfully decorated holiday layout features more than 500,000 lights over a half acre, with four Christmas trees adorning the roof, a manger scene, life-sized animated animals and an 18-car railroad display.

December 1-31, 6-10 p.m. daily

Lights of Lake Park, Largo

Over three miles of Christmas lights and decorations adorn the Lake Park Estates neighborhood. This annual event supports the Suncoast Hospice Cart with over $675,000 raised since the event began in 1993. Pack your favorite snacks and hot chocolate for this drive-thru event that draws crowds from all over Tampa Bay.

December 13, from 3-8 p.m.

Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, St. Petersburg

Enjoy a leisurely stroll (or trolley ride if you prefer) to view eight festively decorated homes along the brick-lined streets of the Historic Old Northeast. The tour starts at Westminster Palm View where visitors receive a map to tour the neighborhood.

December 25-30, from 6-10 p.m.

11048 Streamside Dr., Tampa

This drive-thru display showcases this North Tampa home’s love of the holidays. More than 55,000 LED Christmas lights are used in decorations and synchronized to holiday tunes playing on 88.3 FM radio. The dazzling displays include a 17-foot helicopter with Santa, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and other favorites.

Boat Parades

December 2 at 6 p.m.

Boat Parade and Winter Festival in the Park, St. Pete Beach

Celebrate the season with a view on the water. There will be holiday music, hot chocolate, art projects for children and a visit from Santa to enjoy before

the boat parade. The viewing party starts at 6 p.m. in Horan Park.

December 10 at 6 p.m.

30th Annual Illuminated Boat Parade, St. Petersburg

This event, organized by the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg, raises funds to benefit local charities. The Bruce Watters Jewelers Holiday Festival starts off the festivities at 5 p.m. with children’s activities, food, and live entertainment. The boat parade begins at 6 p.m. and travels from Bayboro along the Bayfront by the St. Petersburg Pier, the Vinoy Basin and back into Tampa Bay.

December 10 at 6 p.m.

Holiday Boat Parade & ROC Park Concert, Madeira Beach

This event begins with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony before dozens of brightly colored boats light up the waterways. The route runs from John’s Pass Village on Madeira Beach to ROC Park.

December 11 at 6 p.m.

Holiday Boat Parade, Redington Beach and Indian Shores

Bring a chair and blanket to watch the festively decorated boats float on the Intracoastal Waterway from the Tom Stuart Causeway to the “The Pub” restaurant in Indian Shores.

December 11 at 6:20 p.m.

Holiday Boat Parade, Treasure Island

Billed as “Las Vegas on the Water,” Treasure Island’s Lighted Boat Parade is a spectacle on the Gulf. The parade departs from The Club at Treasure Is-land and travels by the Causeway Bridge and John’s Pass.

December 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Holiday Boat Parade, Indian Rocks Beach

The boat parade cruises on the Intracoastal Waterway, beginning at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and winding through the “fingers” of Indian Rocks Beach.

December 18 at 6 p.m.

Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade, Tampa

This stunning display on the water features more than 150 paddlers and boaters! The parade begins at the Lowry Park boat ramp and runs along the river. Riverfront residents are encouraged to join in the festivi-ties by decorating their docks.

Photo courtesy of Christmas Town

Holiday Parades

December 3 at 10 a.m.

89th Annual Santa Parade, St. Petersburg

The jolly old elf rides travels to St. Petersburg for the annual parade that has delighted generations. Bands and floats will travel from Central Ave. and 5th St. and travels east to Bayshore Dr. then turns north ending at 5th Ave. NE.

December 3 from noon-4 p.m.

35th Annual Santa Fest and Christmas Parade, Tampa

One of Tampa’s biggest holiday events kicks off with a holiday parade through downtown Tampa at 11 a.m. The route begins at Morgan Street to Ashley Drive and then to Cass Street. Curtis Hixson Park is transformed into a winter wonderland display to enjoy holiday games, activities, arts and crafts, and photos with Santa.

December 17 at 1 p.m.

Holiday Parade, Safety Harbor

Main Street in Safety Harbor celebrates the season with a parade of floats, classic cars, bands, and a visit from Santa.

Special Holiday Events

November 18-20 from 9 a.m-5 p.m.

Festival of Trees, Clearwater

This signature holiday event features over 125 exquisitely adorned Christmas trees, wreaths, and decorations handcrafted by artists, businesses and community leaders. Visit Santa’s Children Village to make a holiday ornament and meet the Jolly Elf himself. Proceeds support The Arc Tampa Bay Foundation. Admission $5; free for children under 10.

Select nights from November 25-December 31 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens is transformed into Christmas Town with more than one million twinkling lights and holiday shows. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, along with special guests this year: Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon, Cornelius and Bumble. Included in park admission.

December 1-6 p.m.

Jingle Jangle Jam, Hilton St. Petersburg Carillion Parkway

Snow is in the air at this 9th annual fundraising event that benefits children and families in our area. The event includes a holiday feast, seasonal martinis, and a silent auction. $200.

December 2 from 6-9 p.m.

Jingle Bell Rock, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa

This rocking holiday party is fun for all ages! The evening event includes photos with Santa, festive craft stations and VIP views to the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony outside. $10 premium/super premium members; $12 general admission.

Learn more about the event by visiting the websites in each listing. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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