Family holiday fun abounds this weekend with events from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs gearing up for that special time of the year. Whether it's the white stuff that makes the holidays come alive, the hot chocolate and listening to holiday tunes or sliding down a snow slope, it's happening this weekend.
This is the fifth year for Miracle on Cleveland Street, downtown Clearwater's free holiday festival. The street fair opens at 5:30 tonight, with entertainment outside until 10 p.m.
Fun and festivities run along several blocks of Cleveland Street.
"In addition to presenting the holiday favorite movie Elf at the Capitol Theatre for free, we will have live music, snow, toboggan slides and a visit from Santa for the kids," said Ruth Eckerd Hall spokesman Eric Blankenship. "This is always a very popular event for the entire family."
Free showings of Elf begin at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. at the theater, 405 Cleveland St.
Live music will sound through the streets. The Coo Coo Ca Choo band will perform. Tappers from the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall will entertain, and there will be games and a play area for little ones.
Santa will be around, and snow will fall in front of the Capitol Theatre every 30 minutes.
When: 5:30 to 10 tonight
Where: Cleveland Street, downtown Clearwater
Cost: Free admission, varied prices for food and drink
For anyone looking for an old-fashioned Christmas complete with a parade, enter "Dunedin" into the GPS on Saturday and go.
The Holiday Parade begins at 4 p.m. with floats and bands heading down Douglas Avenue from the Dunedin Library to Skinner Boulevard.
Free fun is all around downtown, from carriage rides to children's rides on a miniature train set. Children can frolic on the Snow Play Area and Snow Mountain. To create the old-fashioned theme, carolers will stroll the streets, stilt walkers will amaze children, and old-time quilters will create works of beauty.
"The only thing we'll charge for is the s'mores," said Gregg Svendgard, Dunedin's athletic program coordinator.
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday
The Dunedin Community Chorus will hold its holiday concert, "A Season of Joy," on Sunday. Its 75 members will perform seasonal favorites such as Hanukkah Shalom, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and Joy to the World.
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road
Cost: Free, though donations will be accepted.
No one needs to search for a Christmas Wonderland. Tonight, R.E. Olds Park will fill up with children, adults and even snow.
Christmas Wonderland revs up for the holidays with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus pulling up in a shiny car, not a traditional sleigh. What make of car? An Oldsmobile, of course.
Children can have a photograph taken with Santa for $3, which includes a little gift from Santa, too. Pony rides for children cost $3, but if free fun is what the family is searching for, stop by the Snowball Tossing area.
The 8-foot-tall, 60-foot-long Snow Slope has four lanes so more than one family member can slide at the same time.
When: 6 to 9 tonight
Where: R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive W
Looking for a holiday carnival complete with a sled ride down a snow ramp, then Safety Harbor's SnowFest is the place.
SnowFest, which is being held Saturday, has all new carnival rides, a new snow ramp and inflatables. Try your hand at Speed Pitch. Zoom down the 37-foot inflatable slide or take off on one of the four power bungee jumps.
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Safety Harbor City Park, 940 Seventh St. S
Cost: $2 entry fee or $7 wristband, which includes unlimited access to snow ramp, inflatables and games
Safety Harbor will also have its Annual Tree Lighting tonight at 6 in John Wilson Park Gazebo. Santa is sure to be there, too.
Snow will fall on Tarpon Avenue as "Snow Place Like Tarpon" lights up the historic downtown.
Have a photo taken with a live reindeer. Take a holiday hayride. Listen to a reading of The Night Before Christmas.
There will be vendors, music, food, spirits, family activities and Santa's Mailbox ready and waiting for children's letters. Indoor and outdoor restaurants will serve dinner.
Spring Bayou will shine with multicolored lights when the annual Illuminated Boat Parade glides through the water. Santa and his elves will be on hand.
"People can come and enjoy outdoor dining and get started on Christmas shopping," said Cindy Comstock, one of the event's planners.
When: 4 to 9 p.m. today
Where: Tarpon Avenue between S Pinellas Avenue and Ring Street
Cost: Free admission. Hayrides $5 per person, children 6 and younger free to ride.
Correspondent Theodora Aggeles can be reached at [email protected]