Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dade City's Church Street Christmas returns to its regular schedule

Organizers hoped an earlier date would draw more visitors to Church Street’s twinkling lights and help Dade City merchants.

Times (1998)

Organizers hoped an earlier date would draw more visitors to Church Street’s twinkling lights and help Dade City merchants.

DADE CITY — Nothing brings people together like a little controversy.

Organizers have changed the dates of Church Street Christmas, a decades-old Dade City tradition, back to the original dates of Dec. 21 to 23.

The event was briefly rescheduled for Dec. 18 to 20, which caused a stir on the historic avenue.

"It's tradition," Jim Ward told the Times in October. His family has lived on Church Avenue since 1896. "You don't change tradition."

Organizers thought the early dates, which coincided with the weekend before Christmas, would bring more visitors to witness the carolers, twinkling luminarias and hundreds of strands of Christmas lights. They hoped the free event, which typically sees up to 40,000 attendees, would draw an even bigger crowd to boost the bottom line of local merchants.

But in the end, tradition won.

At a meeting Monday evening at First Baptist Church, the event was changed back to the original dates — the three days before Christmas Eve.

"It was a good turnout," said organizer Steve Smith. "The fact is now we have everybody more united and we have more volunteers. That's always a good thing."

Attendance at organizational meetings earlier in the year was low, he said, and some residents hadn't heard about the changed dates.

When told of the new schedule, there were concerns over getting the houses decorated in time. Other residents worried that the new dates would mean family visitors who come for the holidays would miss the event.

"If you moved it up to the weekend before Christmas, your extended families, your mother-in-law and your grandparents who visit were going to miss it," said Church Avenue resident Natalie Brock.

Smith said his concerns over lower attendance on the later dates were overshadowed by the boost in help. He wouldn't give numbers, but Smith said that after Monday's meeting, he has a lot more volunteers.

"We've got everybody involved now," he said. "Sometimes a little controversy isn't a bad thing."

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at or (813) 435-7312.

Dade City's Church Street Christmas returns to its regular schedule 11/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 8:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)


    .1103< AP-EU-Russia-Syria,252

    Eds: Rewrites top.

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]
  2. EU announces record $2.7 billion antitrust fine on Google over search results


    BRUSSELS — The European Union's antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful company illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping website.

    The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. Forecast: Muggy, warm conditions across Tampa Bay as afternoon storms stay mostly east of I-75


    A muggy and slightly wet day is in on tap for Tampa Bay as most of the rain sticks east of Interstate 75 in the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.&#13;[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]&#13;
  5. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa


    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]