WEEKI WACHEE — Nothing says Christmas in Hernando County like Santa and the mermaids.
While others may dream about white Christmases and chestnuts roasting, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park annually plays host to one of the area's most beloved holiday celebrations.
"It's one of our biggest weekends of the year," park spokesman John Athanason said of the Winter Waterland holiday festival, which kicks off at 6 p.m. today. "It's become a tradition with a lot of people in the community over the years."
In operation since 1947, the storied park has always come up with unique ways to celebrate major holidays. But the Christmas season is special in that the park's natural beauty offers a perfect enhancement to the holiday atmosphere.
The park's celebrated mermaid theater turns into a nighttime magic palace as Santa and the mermaids perform an underwater holiday song and dance presentation called "A Mermaid's Christmas" inside the 90-foot-deep spring.
Visitors who walk the grounds will find plenty of activities as well. The entire park will be lit up in yule splendor with a myriad of Christmas lights. Additionally, visitors will experience a live nativity scene, outdoor live performances that include the AK Dance Away "Rockin' Christmas" dance presentation and the "Adventures In Candyland" stage show.
The festivities include of games and contests, and for the little ones there's even an opportunity to get up close and personal with Santa himself.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.