Make us your home page

Fair association's Candy Cane Acres kicks off busy holiday season in Hernando

A decorative Santa sits among the holiday lights at Candy Cane Acres at the Hernando County Fairgrounds in Brooksville.

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."

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 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.

Fair association's Candy Cane Acres kicks off busy holiday season in Hernando 11/26/15 [Last modified: Thursday, November 26, 2015 4:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Tuesday May 30


    Finding Neverland: The hit Broadway show follows the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration to create Peter Pan, until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, …

    Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer and Ben Krieger as the Llewelyn Davies Boys in the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  2. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  4. From the food editor: I love that food is a huge part of Master of None's transcendent second season


    Deep into a late-night binge of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's Netflix series that returned for its second season May 12, I realized I was laying as far back on my couch as possible, blanket clutched up to my chin, eyebrows permanently raised.

    Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) eat lunch in Modena, Italy, in the second season of "Master of None."
  5. Three 'MasterChef' contestants from the Tampa Bay area talk cooking inspiration and more


    When Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef begins its eighth season tonight, the Tampa Bay area will have three contestants to root for. A marketing director from Tampa, a dentist and Palm Harbor native, and an employee for a steel supply company are all trying to impress a trio of judges with their home-cooking skills.

    Jeff Philbin, from Tampa, left, Palm Harbor native Paola Annoni Patel, and Danny Flores, of Land 'O Lakes, will be competing on the season premiere of "Masterchef."