Florida kids know the best snow comes with palm trees. And since parents don't have to drive in it, why not go with the snow?
Snowfest and Santa Parade
Saturday starts with the annual free Santa Parade at 10 a.m. in downtown St. Petersburg, which leads right into Snowfest at North Straub Park. There will be 65 tons of the white stuff, with toboggan rides, "glice" skating, reindeer races and kiddie land (for ages 3-5), all for a $5 wristband. (727) 893-7441.
Winter's Miracle on Cleveland Street
Clearwater is throwing a big winter party Friday, with a snow slide, train rides, live music and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (a founding member of Sha-Na-Na) as master of ceremonies. They also plan to light up the sign at the historic Capitol Theatre, which is still being renovated. At Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure in the Harborview Center, there will be free admission, photos with Santa, a "Hurricane Blizzard" and educational exhibits. The first 250 kids 12 and younger will get free holiday-themed Winter plush toys. It's all free in the 400 block of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue in Clearwater starting at 5:30 p.m.
Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs
Snow will fall on Tarpon Avenue in Tarpon Springs for this party with a snow play area, real reindeer, horse-drawn carriage rides, hayrides, visits with Santa, music and vendors. Free, from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday. (727) 938-3711.
Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony
No snow, but there is skating on real ice. Festivities begin with live music, a Secret Santa giveaway and the countdown to the tree lighting with Mayor Buckhorn. Afterward, see an outside screening of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It's all free (except $10 for skating), starting at 6 p.m. Friday in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, but bring a teddy bear to donate to children in local hospitals.