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Kick off Christmas season with festive stroll through Dade City

DADE CITY — No matter what the latest cold front brings, one thing is certain. It will snow this weekend in Dade City.

The Dade City Country Christmas Stroll kicks off this afternoon. There will be carolers in Victorian costumes, hot chocolate and several machines sending billowing snowlike bubbles into the air.

"That was a big hit last year," said Crystal Davenport, executive director of Downtown Dade City Main Street, the group behind the stroll. "If you stand under it and take your picture, it looks like it's snowing."

Organizer have beefed up the snow. This year's stroll features five of the machines to last year's two.

The Country Christmas Stroll started in the mid '80s to mark the beginning of the holidays.

"The goal of the stroll back then was to introduce the Christmas season," said Phil Williams, a Main Street board member and owner of Williams Fashion Center and Lunch on Limoges. "Nowadays, we have Christmas goods that come in June and July. Back then, everything happened just in December."

The red and green lights might pop up earlier around town, but other traditions of the original strolls remain.

Organizers steer away from professional entertainment and opt instead for hometown church and children's choir groups.

Performers will do their thing on three stages set up throughout the town all evening.

Today's event is free, though individual vendors may charge for face painting or rounds in inflatable fun houses.

Pictures with Santa Claus and wagon rides through the city are free. Organizers also said they will pass out coupons for free hot chocolate and kettle corn.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Fast facts

If you go

What: Dade City Country Christmas Stroll

When: 5 to 9 p.m. today

Where: Downtown Dade City

Kick off Christmas season with festive stroll through Dade City 12/12/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 6:35pm]

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