On The Town: 2016 Holiday Events

34 special holiday events and fundraisers happening in the month of December.




Santa and Mrs. Claus take a ride down Park Avenue in Winter Park’s “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade, Dec. 3.

City of Winter Park Communications Department

MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY
Through Dec. 22: Magic and good cheer for all ages fill the Magic Kingdom theme park on select nights from 7 p.m. to midnight. Party with your favorite characters and enjoy live music, glittering lights, a holiday-themed parade and life-like snow. A special event ticket is required for admission. disneyworld.disney.go.com

CANNONBALL CHRISTMAS EXPRESS STEAM TRAIN
Through Dec. 23: Santa boards the train at the North Pole but stops in Lake County for children of all ages, presenting each with a gift as they ride from Tavares to Mount Dora and back. Santa’s elves make it a special evening with cider, singing and stories. Train depot, 305 E. Ruby St., Tavares. 352-742-7200. mountdorachristmas.com

EPCOT CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL
Through Dec. 30: Hear the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator, with a 50-piece orchestra and large choir. Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Meredith Vieira and Cal Ripken Jr. are among the guest narrators scheduled for this nightly event, at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Included with theme park admission. disneyworld.disney.go.com

SEAWORLD CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Through Dec. 31: Carols fill the air, skaters glide across the ice, and sparkling trees light up SeaWorld Orlando on select nights. Seasonal events and shows include a feast with Santa, Shamu Christmas Miracles, Winter Wonderland on Ice and the Polar Express. Included with theme park admission; reservations required for some events. seaworldparks.com

NOW SNOWING 2016 
Through Dec. 31: Every December evening in Celebration’s town center, it “snows” on the hour between 6 and 9 p.m. There are strolling carolers and other performers, horse-drawn carriage rides, an ice rink (open 4-10 p.m.), photos with Santa and more. Free. Celebration Town Center, 851 Celebration Ave., Celebration. 407-566-4007. celebrationtowncenter.com

RUSTY ANCHOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON THE LAKE TOUR
Through Dec. 31: Enjoy this one-hour cruise from Mount Dora to view the holiday lights along the Lake Dora shoreline; with hot cider and cookies. Two tours nightly. mountdorachristmas.com

CHRISTMAS AT GAYLORD PALMS
Through Jan. 1, 2017: Catch the holiday spirit with more than 2 million twinkling lights and acres of larger-than-life decorations. Enjoy a visit with Santa, the Cirque Dreams UnWrapped Live Stage Show, ICE! sculptures featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, and story time with Mrs. Claus. Gaylord Palms, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee. christmasatgaylordpalms.com

CHRISTMAS AT THE LEU HOUSE
Through Jan. 2, 2017: See this historic, 11-room house decorated for Christmas by local interior designers. On Dec. 1, also catch the last day of a silent auction of one-of-a-kind wreaths made by some of Florida’s top artists, designers and horticulturalists. Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando. 407-246-2620. leugardens.org

LIGHT UP UCF
Through Jan. 7, 2017: This event—“Fifty Nights of Music, Lights and Ice”—celebrates the season with an outdoor ice rink, carnival rides, movies and light shows outside the CFE Arena on the University of Central Florida campus in east Orlando. lightupucf.com

CHRISTMAS AT BOK TOWER GARDENS
Through Jan. 7, 2017: Enjoy the holidays with festive events at Bok Tower Gardens, including the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, special carillon concerts with choir, winter garden tours, poinsettia displays and more. 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales. 863-676-1408. boktowergardens.org

WINTER IN THE PARK
Through Jan. 8, 2017: Ice skating returns to downtown Winter Park, with a covered rink, holiday music and more. Skate rental is included in the admission. Hours vary. West Meadow, Central Park, Morse Boulevard at New York Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3203. cityofwinterpark.org/witp

STETSON MANSION CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Through Jan. 15, 2017: World-class designers dress up the 1886 home of John B. Stetson, maker of the American cowboy hat. Now a private estate, this Volusia County home opens each year for special Christmas tours; the displays include 20 Christmas trees, a “frozen room” and a “cowboy Christmas” room. Reservations required. Stetson Mansion, 1031 Camphor Lane, DeLand. stetsonmansion.com

HOLIDAY ON THE DRIVE
Dec. 1: Edgewater Drive north of Smith Street in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood is closed to traffic and filled with live music, treats, gifts, food samples, vendors—and a visit from Santa. 5-9 p.m. collegeparkpartnership.com

CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK
Dec. 1: Central Park in downtown Winter Park lights up with Tiffany windows from the Morse Museum on outdoor display, and with holiday performances by the Bach Festival Choir. Free. 6:15-8 p.m. Park Avenue at Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org

DOWNTOWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS TREE-LIGHTING CELEBRATION
Dec. 2: Join Orlando’s mayor for the lighting of the city’s 72-foot-tall Christmas tree in Lake Eola Park. Holiday performances by Trinity Lutheran School and Encore! Cast Performing Arts, plus a holiday gift shopping “village” and food trucks. Performances start at 5 p.m., with the tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. 512 E. Washington St., Orlando. cityoforlando.net

HOLIDAY LIGHTS & SUGAR PLUM STROLL
Dec. 2: Santa lights the tree at DeLand City Hall, then heads to Pioneer Park by the fire truck for photos. Downtown merchants have a Sugar Plum Stroll along the main drive, with complimentary treats, holiday discounts and strolling carolers. Tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., stroll from 6-9 p.m. Woodland Boulevard at New York Avenue, DeLand. mainstreetdeland.org

LIGHT UP WINTER GARDEN AND CHRISTMAS PARADE
Dec. 2-3: Festive lights turn on in Winter Garden on Friday, with live entertainment, vendors and children’s’ activities from 6-9 p.m. on Plant Street. On Saturday, set out your blanket or chair before 10 a.m., when the annual Christmas Parade comes through downtown at South Dillard and Plant streets. cwgdn.com

A MOUNT DORA CHRISTMAS
Dec. 2-4: Start with a free, family-friendly “Christmas Walk” on downtown streets, with live entertainment and twinkling lights, Friday from 6-9 p.m. On Saturday, see the Christmas Parade downtown at 11 a.m. and an illuminated Boat Parade on Lake Dora from 7-9 p.m. A self-driving tour of homes decorated for the holidays is offered from 2 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. Sunday. 352-383-2165. mountdorachristmas.com

SANFORD’S HOLIDAY TOUR OF HOMES
Dec. 3: Enchanting homes and graceful churches are decorated for the holidays on this self-guided driving tour of Sanford. Carolers and other live music fill the air, with complimentary refreshments at some locations. Tour stops are clustered between Lake Monroe and 20th Street. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Ticket locations, starting point at sanfordhistorictrust.org

YE OLDE HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE
Dec. 3: Winter Park’s 64th annual “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade includes more than 100 bands, dance troupes, floats, local dignitaries and, of course, Santa Claus. Route extends along Park Avenue between Canton and Comstock avenues. Before the 9 a.m. start, Leadership Winter Park serves a pancake breakfast in Central Park as a fundraiser. 407-644-8281. cityofwinterpark.org

AVALON AGLOW
Dec. 3: Activities include a parade, storytelling by Mrs. Claus, hot apple cider, live music and amusement rides. Parade begins at 3 p.m.; fireworks end the evening at 9 p.m. Downtown Avalon Park. 407-658-6565. downtownavalonpark.com

CASSELBERRY HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING
Dec. 3: This tree lighting takes place at Lake Concord Park, with performances by Casselberry Elementary, South Seminole Middle School, and the Magic of Bronze bells group. Free. 6-8 p.m. 95 Triplet Lake Drive, Casselberry. 407-262-7700, ext. 1507. casselberry.org

DELAND CHRISTMAS PARADE
Dec. 3: With this, DeLand’s 68th annual Christmas Parade, the city’s three Rotary Clubs assume responsibility for the event, organized for decades by the DeLand Jaycees. The 5:30 p.m. parade usually attracts more than 100 marching units and 20,000 spectators. Woodland Boulevard in downtown DeLand, between Michigan and Hubbard avenues. delandchristmasparade.org

CRACKER CHRISTMAS AT FORT CHRISTMAS
Dec. 3-4: Pioneer demonstrations, barbecue, antique tractors, Civil War camp, craft vendors and more. Free. 10 a.m-4 p.m. Fort Christmas Historical Park, 1300 Fort Christmas Road, Christmas. 407-254-9312. orangecountyparks.net

CELEBRATION’S HOLIDAY HOME TOUR AND WINTER WONDERLAND 
Dec. 3-4: This self-guided tour showcases Celebration’s roots as a Disney-designed New Urbanist community. New this year: a hospitality stop at Celebration Town Hall, with admission to a “Winter Wonderland” of decorated Christmas trees and exquisite tablescapes for sale. Saturday 3-9 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m. Celebration Town Center, 851 Celebration Ave., Celebration. 407-566-1234. experiencekissimmee.com

HOLIDAYS AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT
Dec. 3-Jan. 1, 2017: The Macy’s Holiday Parade fills the streets of Universal Studios Florida with giant floats and more, while Grinchmas, in the Islands of Adventure theme park, rules the season with a Who-liday Spectacular. universalorlando.com

CHRISTMAS AT THE CASA
Dec. 6: A community open house to see one of Central Florida’s favorite historic homes decorated for Christmas. There will be music, crafts, free activities, cookies and lemonade, and visits with Santa in his workshop (plus photos with Santa, $15 each). 4-8 p.m. Casa Feliz, 656 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. casafeliz.us

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH WITH SANTA
Dec. 10: Enjoy some holiday cheer at the Central Florida Zoo, meet some animals up close, and share a meal with Santa. Breakfast from 9-10:30 a.m. or brunch from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Reservations required. 3755 N.W. Highway 17-92, Sanford. 407-323-4450. centralfloridazoo.org

LETTERS TO SANTA at Enzian
Dec. 11: See How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the live-action version of Dr. Seuss’ beloved book. But come an hour before the movie’s noon start for a letter-writing kit, so each child can craft a wish list for Santa, who will swing by the theater to retrieve the letters. Enzian, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland. 407-629-1088. enzian.org

KISSIMMEE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS PARADE
Dec. 10: This nighttime parade features marching bands, entertainers, carolers and the big man himself. 7 p.m. Main Street and Lakeview Drive, Kissimmee. kissimmee.org

SNOW FEST
Dec. 17: RDV Sportsplex kicks off the winter season with indoor ice skating and real snow. 2-6 p.m. RDV Sportsplex Ice Den, 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Maitland. 407-916-2550. rdvsportsplex.com

CHRISTMAS BRICKTACULAR 
Dec. 17-30: Legoland Florida offers holiday activities on selected days in December. See a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree built of 270,000 green Lego blocks, take part in a scavenger hunt, visit with Santa, see toy soldiers marching, and end the day with a Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve. One Legoland Way, Winter Haven. florida.legoland.com 

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL PARADE OF BANDS
Dec. 28: Before the big football game later in the day at Camping World Stadium, the two teams’ marching bands hold a “Bandtastic Game Day Preview” in Winter Park’s downtown Central Park. It starts with an 11 a.m. parade along Park Avenue from Lyman Avenue to the park. cityofwinterpark.org, fcsports.com

CITRUS BOWL PARADE
Dec. 29: This nationally known, televised parade features signature floats made of citrus, high school marching bands from across the nation, the bands of the two bowl-game colleges, and various specialty units. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Orange Avenue at Robinson Street, continues south on Orange and east on Anderson Street, then north on Rosalind Avenue to Robinson. floridacitrusparade.com

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