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Ybor forecast: Santa Claus and lots of snow

The last time it snowed in Tampa was 1989, and even that wasn't much more than a few flurries.

The city of Tampa will make up for the shortfall Saturday by dropping 30 tons of snow on Ybor's Centennial Park to set the mood for this year's Santa Fest.

All the makings of a Christmas celebration will be in place at the event, which is hosted by the city of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department and is now in its 23rd year.

Santa will take time to pose for pictures, and, of course, requests for presents.

And if you haven't had time to craft that all-important letter to Santa Claus, the U.S. Postal Service will host a booth with all the necessary letter-writing materials.

The Postal Service will also make sure every letter gets answered in the coming weeks.

There will be an ice skating rink and a moon walk, plus volunteers to help kids with hands-on crafts.

Members of the Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire and Rescue will lead safety games and activities, and Lowry Park Zoo plans to bring small reptiles and birds.

The event coincides with the Ybor Fresh Market, which means food, drinks and crafts will be available for purchase.

The main stage in Centennial Park will host musical performances by groups like the Hammer Head Steel Drums and the Sunshine Brass Band.

Dance numbers by the city of Tampa Gymnastic and Dance Group and other dance troupes will take place on The Centro Ybor stage.

The Krewe of Venus will close the event with its holiday parade, featuring more than 60 units including colorful floats, the Mann Middle School Marching Band, antique cars and local dance troupes.

Erika Vidal can be reached at or (813) 226-3339.

If you go

Santa Fest

Santa Fest is a free event that takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Centennial Park, located between 18th and 19th streets. The Krewe of Venus Holiday Parade begins at 4 p.m. Santa Fest coincides with the Ybor Fresh Market, where food and drinks will be available for purchase.