From parades in Tampa and St. Petersburg, a block party in Clearwater, concerts and boat parades, it'll definitely begin to look a lot like Christmas across Tampa Bay this weekend. Here are eight suggestions, and be sure to check out our Holidays page for a complete list of things to do.
• St. Pete Beach Boat Parade / St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive (Friday, 6 p.m.)
The boat parade takes off at the Blind Pass Bridge and heads south to the Bayway Bridge. A free viewing party at the park will feature music, hot chocolate, children's art projects and a visit from Santa. Check out our Things to Do planner for more boat parades around the area.
• Santa Parade / Starts at Central Avenue and Fifth Street (Saturday, 10 a.m.)
St. Petersburg's 90th annual Santa Parade will travel east from Central Avenue and Fifth Street to Bayshore Boulevard and then turns north, ending at Fifth Avenue N. Spectators can enjoy the parade, filled with festive floats and bands, for free.
• Snow Fest / North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Dr NE (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Directly following the parade is Snowfest at North Straub Park. The activity-packed event brings 65 tons of snow to the park in downtown St. Petersburg. The event's activities include a big and kiddie toboggan slide, karaoke, "glide" ice skating, cookie decorating and more. Wristbands cost $5.
• Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Friday, 6 p.m.)
Chad and Kristi, from Magic 94.9's The Morning Show, host the free ceremony that will include music by The Late Night Brass Band. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will light the tree around 7:50 p.m. A screening of the holiday classic, A Christmas Story, follows.
• 35th annual Downtown Tampa Christmas Parade (Saturday, 11 a.m.)
The parade begins at Morgan and Madison Streets and travels west on Madison to Ashley Drive, ending at Cass Street.
• Santa Fest, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Saturday, noon-4 p.m.)
It's all about the big guy. The day's activities feature free photos with Santa, make-n-take holiday crafts and hands-on games.
• Victorian Christmas Stroll, Henry B. Plant Museum (through Dec. 23)
The Victorian Christmas Stroll, at the museum on University of Tampa campus, features Christmas trees ranging in height from a few inches to more than 14 feet, 40,000 lights and hundreds of feet of garland, plus vintage fashions and antique toy decorations create an old-fashioned holiday feel. Check out live music from 6-8 p.m. Prices range $15 for adults to $9 for children ages 4-18.
• Rudolph's Miracle on Cleveland Street block party (Saturday, 5 p.m.)
The ninth annual block party will feature "falling snow" in the 400 to 600 blocks of Clearwater's Cleveland Street and a free concert by 1980s band The Fixx. The festival also includes a skating rink, carriage rides, carolers, pictures with Santa and a giant gingerbread house. It's free, but some activities require an $8 wristband.