Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Christmas Lane's new location yields results

Christmas Lane twinkles at its new location inside the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Expo Hall in Plant City.

LUIS SANTANA | Times

Christmas Lane twinkles at its new location inside the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Expo Hall in Plant City.

PLANT CITY — One of East Hillsborough's most popular annual winter traditions took on a new look this year as Christmas Lane has moved from a 1.5-acre farm in Dover to the Florida Strawberry Festival's indoor Expo Hall.

But the face of the event, Lane Wetherington, who has hosted about 40,000 visitors annually for more than 30 years, likes the changes.

"It has been a fantastic move," said Wetherington, who continues to operate the event and stays on-site in a travel trailer. "The crowds have been good."

Two of the biggest changes: moving to an indoor arena and adding ticketing for an event that previously relied on donations. Wetherington said both have yielded positive results.

The roof cover prevents muddy parking lots and wet displays, like Christmas Lane experienced last year and in years past. Charging $5 for visitors 13 and older and $2 for children 4 to 12 actually increased attendance to date, though he didn't offer specific numbers.

Admission covers the costs of renting the property, transporting the display and staffing.

Other changes to Christmas Lane include lighted sculptures outside the Expo Hall leading to the entrance, a synchronized light show that beats to the accompanying music, a new scene procured from a Florida mall and a new 16-foot LED Christmas tree.

Visitors also can purchase extras from the new gift shop and an extended menu that includes fries, nachos and pulled pork sandwiches.

Christmas Lane is open from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 3. Children 3 and younger are free, as is parking. Santa and Mrs. Claus are on site daily.

One family can win free tickets and a $100 Publix gift card if they email their hardship story to Plant City Times & Observer managing editor Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plant cityobserver.com by the end of today. Winners will be notified before Dec. 25.

Contact Eric Vician at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Christmas Lane's new location yields results 12/15/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  2. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal

    College

    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  3. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  4. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  5. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]