Fair association's Candy Cane Acres kicks off busy holiday season in Hernando
Chris Price | Special to the Times (2013)
A decorative Santa sits among the holiday lights at Candy Cane Acres at the Hernando County Fairgrounds in Brooksville.
BROOKSVILLE — The animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a holiday staple since it debuted in 1965. And with the recent release of The Peanuts Movie, the lovable loser and his friends are more popular than ever.
So, it is fitting that good ol' Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang will be the theme of the annual Candy Cane Acres holiday event that opens this weekend at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
"We've always had a small Charlie Brown display," said Shari Klimas, president of the Hernando County Fair Association. "But this year, we've added more."
Local artist Theresa Voiles has painted windows with scenes from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Last year, Voiles had painted scenes from the Disney hit Frozen.
"Theresa does a great job," Klimas said.
Candy Cane Acres is a walk-through display featuring a Christmas village with handmade decorations among about 100,000 glittering lights that dance to music from Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Visitors can see Santa's workshop, enjoy Florida-style sleigh rides and play in the Florida "snow" provided by two bubble machines.
Indoors, children can decorate sugar cookies in Mrs. Claus' kitchen. There also will be a parade of trees, children's games and a model train display that features two trains that travel from the Brooksville depot to Dr. Seuss' Whoville. Santa will be available in the back of the building, where he will have plenty of room to visit with children and pose for pictures.
New additions to this year's event include a Lego display by Brick University and a petting zoo with "reindeer" rides (ponies with antlers). For a small fee, visitors can purchase feed for the animals.
Putting together the annual holiday event is a feat that takes Klimas and about 20 volunteers more than a month to accomplish.
"Seeing the children smile and having a good time makes it all worth it," Klimas said. "That's what it's all about."
© 2016 Tampa Bay Times
Candy Cane Acres
Candy Cane Acres will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 19 at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. Admission is $10 per carload, which includes 10 free tickets that may be used for food, drinks and games. Additional tickets are 50 cents each. For information, call the fairgrounds at (352) 796-4552.
Other holiday activities
In addition to Candy Cane Acres, several other Christmas activities will take place in early December:
• The eighth annual Light Up Ridge Manor Christmas Festival, hosted by the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce's Eastside Business Networking Group and the Chamber Education Training Association, will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 at Eastside Elementary School, 27151 Roper Road, Hill 'n Dale.
The event will include carolers, games and activities, a cakewalk, Santa, vendors, displays and entertainment. Admission is free. Call (352) 796-0697 for details.
• The 30th annual Weeki Wachee River Christmas Boat Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Weeki Wachee Marina. The judging area will be at Rogers Park, 7244 Shoal Line Blvd., Weeki Wachee. The parade route will continue to the Bayport pier and then return to Rogers Park.
Boats will be judged for creativity, originality and theme. The entry fee is a new, unwrapped toy, gift card or cash donation for the Dawn Center. There is no charge to watch the parade from the Bayport pier or at Rogers Park. Those wishing to enter a boat in the parade may call the marina at (352) 596-2852.
• The Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, 1489 Parker Ave., Spring Hill, will have its annual Holiday in the Gardens event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5.
Visitors may stroll through the botanical gardens and watch local groups and organizations decorate trees and wreaths, then vote for their favorite. The public can view the trees and wreaths and vote through the first of the year.
A $25 deposit is required to reserve a tree to decorate. The deposit will be refunded Dec. 5. Local groups will perform in the gazebo in the rose garden during the tree-decorating event. For information, call (352) 683-9933.
• The annual Christmas on Main Street celebration will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 in downtown Brooksville. The event includes vendors and entertainment along Main Street and on the courthouse lawn.
Merchants will offer holiday treats and entertainment. Pictures with Santa will be from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. at House of Passage on N Main Street, and the Christmas tree lighting will be at 7 p.m. Visit cityofbrooksville.us or call (352) 540-3830.
• Looking ahead, the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville's annual Christmas Parade will start at 10 a.m. Dec. 12 in downtown Brooksville. Also on that day, the Christkindl Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Brooksville Woman's Club on S Main Street. A Christmas Celebration is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Hernando Heritage Museum. Winter Waterland will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.