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Where to find Tampa Bay light displays, tree lightings and holiday parades

The holidays are merry and bright at these festive displays across the Tampa Bay area.
St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field is transformed into a winter wonderland beginning Nov. 26.
St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field is transformed into a winter wonderland beginning Nov. 26. [ DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Nov. 24
Updated Nov. 26

It’s the most wonderful time of ... well, you know. Here’s a look at events across the Tampa Bay area that will be making spirits bright this holiday season.

Light displays

Enchant Christmas: Tropicana Field is transformed into a winter wonderland with a Christmas light maze and village, ice skating trail, an artisan market, visits with Santa and a hunt for gifts taken by a mischievous elf. $35, $32 seniors/military, $25 ages 3-17, 2 and younger free. Opens Nov. 26. Hours and dates vary. Through Jan. 2. Check enchantchristmas.com. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. 315-558-2623.

Festival of Lights: A nearly 2-mile drive-thru of continuous light features followed by a festive walking visit to Santa’s Village. The elaborate light displays themed to Florida and traditional winter holidays are complemented by individual representations of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. $25 per car (up to eight people). 6-10 p.m. Nov. 25-28, Dec. 2-5, 9-12 and 16-26. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Road, Brandon. 813-737-3247.

Christmas in the Wild: The family-friendly holiday event will be open on select nights through Dec. 30 with one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, holiday treats and new adventures that will connect guests with wildlife and the spirit of the season. There are six new illuminated light zones, including two light shows across the entire manatee circle. Shows are every 15 minutes. You can also dance and play reindeer games at the Wallaroo Wrap Party. $29.95; $5 reservation fee for members refunded as a voucher. 4-10 p.m. Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4, 10-11 and 17-23, 4-9 p.m. Dec. 26-30. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, 1101 W Sligh Ave. 813-935-8552.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens: The botanical gardens will sparkle with 1 million LED lights. Laser lights and lighted figures round out the display. Suggested donation of $10 for ages 13 and up. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Nov. 26-Jan. 2. Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. 727-582-2117.

Glorious Night — A Drive-In Christmas Light Show: A 30-minute drive-in light show featuring Christmas songs, a story of hope and thousands of programmed Christmas lights. Free. 6-10 p.m. Nov. 26-Jan. 2. First Baptist Church Plant City, 3309 James L. Redman Parkway. 813-752-4104.

Christmas Under the Moon: Walk through a light display and a Christmas tree lane, meet Santa and check out the petting zoo, ball zone, hill slide and arts and crafts. $10 ages 3 and up. 6-9 p.m. Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 and 22-23. HarvestMoon Fun Farm, 15990 Stur St., Masaryktown. 727-326-3256.

Oakdale Light Display: St. Petersburg’s annual light display, with religious tendencies, features more than half a million lights, 18 model trains, water fountains, a 70-foot lighted tree, animated dolls, a 30-foot snowman and more.This display has been featured on HGTV, HSN, NBC’s The Today Show and in People magazine. Free. 6-10 p.m. Nov. 26-Jan. 3. 2719 Oakdale St. S, St. Petersburg. 727-822-5562.

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Celebration of Lights: The seventh annual drive-thru light show with family entertainment including the Holiday Train (Fridays and Saturdays only). 6-9 p.m. Friday-Sundays Nov. 26-Dec. 19 and Dec. 20-21. $20 carload, $3 train. 6-9 p.m. Nov. 26-28, Dec. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-21. The Concourse, 11919 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills. 727-233-2968.

Downtown St. Petersburg Waterfront Parks: The parks light up with thousands of holiday lights and decorations. Displays can be found in North Straub Park, South Straub Park, Pioneer Park, Vinoy Park and at the St. Pete Pier. 6 p.m. Nov. 27-Jan. 2. Near 400 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. 727-893-7441.

Lights of Lake Park Estates in Seminole will be aglow Dec. 1-31.
Lights of Lake Park Estates in Seminole will be aglow Dec. 1-31.

Lights of Lake Park Estates: The neighborhood comes together to put up lights and holiday decorations to raise money for Hospice. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 1-31. Lake Park Drive and 109th Avenue N, Seminole.

Pioneer Christmas: All the museum buildings are open and decorated. Most docents are dressed in holiday period attire. Children’s activities include reindeer games, arts and crafts, cookie decorating and pony rides. There’s also a vintage market with holiday gifts. $5, 4 and younger free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. 352-567-0262.

Winter Wonderland: A live Nativity with animals, outdoor lights, live music, fire trucks, Santa and a Christmas marketplace with food and craft vendors. Free, donations requested. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 4. St. Jerome Early Childhood Center, 10895 Hamlin Blvd., Largo. 727-596-9491.

Tree lightings

St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Bring the family and join Mayor Rick Kriseman as he lights the holiday tree and the entire downtown waterfront area. Free. 6 p.m. Nov. 27. North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. 727-893-7441.

Palm Harbor Christmas Tree Lighting: Start the holiday season with an evening of entertainment, games, a snow play area, holiday hayride, food and vendors. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m. Free. 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 3. White Chapel/Harbor Hall (CSA Palm Harbor), 1190 Georgia Ave. 727-771-6000.

Pinellas Park Tree Lighting: Mayor Sandra Bradbury, other city officials and residents will participate. Free. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Pinellas Park City Hall, 5141 78th Ave. 727-369-0700.

Tampa Santa Fest and Holiday Tree Lighting: A parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4 beginning at Morgan and Madison streets. It travels west on Madison to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. After the parade, head to Curtis Hixon Park for Santa Fest (3:30-5:30 p.m.), where Santa and Mayor Jane Castor light the holiday tree (5:30-6:25 p.m.). A screening of the 2018 version of The Grinch follows (roughly 6:30 p.m.). Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. 813-221-3686.

Largo Holiday Tree Lighting and Stroll: Enjoy a maze of light displays and performances by entertainers from around the world. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m., and Santa arrives at 7. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. 727-586-7415.

A toddler checks out the Christmas tree at North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg during the city's tree lighting ceremony in 2013.
A toddler checks out the Christmas tree at North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg during the city's tree lighting ceremony in 2013. [ Times file (2013) ]

Candyland Christmas: The Zephyrhills annual Festival of Lights features the tree lighting and Christmas parade. 4-9 p.m. Dec. 4. 38537 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills 813-780-0000.

Tierra Verde Tree Lighting: Santa arrives at 5 p.m. for the lighting of the tree, with music, a pet parade, raffles and a toy drive. Free. 4-8 p.m. Dec. 4. 1110 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde.

City of Gulfport Tree Lighting: Enjoy an evening of light refreshments and music by the New Horizons Band as Santa joins the mayor and City Council members to light the holiday tree. 6 p.m. Dec. 6. Clymer Park, Gulfport Boulevard S and Beach Boulevard S, Gulfport. 727-893-1118.

Tree Lighting Ceremony: Hear poetry and caroling as Oldsmar’s Citizen of the Year lights the holiday tree. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 7. Oldsmar City Hall, 100 State St. 813-749-1152.

Water and land parades

St. Pete Beach Holiday Lighted Boat Parade: The glowing holiday procession begins near Egan Park and travels south to the Bayway Bridge. Good seats can be found at the viewing party in Horan Park, with live music by Yacht Rock. Free. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 3. Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. 727-363-9245.

Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting: Decorated boats parade through the marina, with Santa arriving on the last boat, for a tree-lighting ceremony in Edgewater Park. Includes holiday music, s’mores and visits with Santa. Free. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 4. Edgewater Park, 51 Main St., Dunedin. 727-298-3278.

Dade City Christmas Parade: Pioneer Florida Museum takes over this year’s holiday parade. The parade starts at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fifth Street, goes west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Seventh Street, turns south to Church Avenue, east to Fifth Street and ends in front of the post office. Free. 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Meridian Avenue and Seventh Street, Dade City. 352-567-0262.

Boats light up the night during the annual St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade in 2014.
Boats light up the night during the annual St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade in 2014. [ Times file (2014) ]

Holiday Golf Cart Parade: Bring the family to watch as residents deck out their golf carts in lights and holiday decor for a parade through downtown Oldsmar. $5 registration fee, free to watch. 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Bicentennial Park, 423 Lafayette Blvd., Oldsmar. 813-749-1152.

Boca Ciega Yacht Club Christmas Lighted Boat Parade: The parade enters the Gulfport Municipal Marina at about 6 p.m. It will then travel past the William’s Pier and Casino in Gulfport, past the beaches and into the canals of Town Shores, Pelican Bay, Skimmer’s Point, Bayview Circle, past a portion of Kipps Colony and near PYCC, then along Dolphin Boulevard to the Pasadena Golf Club Estates before swinging across the bay to Isla del Sol and returning to the club’s slips. To enter, make a donation of two unwrapped, new toys, or write a check to Operation Santa in any amount. Free. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 11. Boca Ciega Yacht Club, 4600 Tifton Drive S, Gulfport. 813-323-5852.

Pinellas Park Christmas Parade: The 48th annual one-sided parade travels eastbound from approximately the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center to Park Place shopping center. The parade can’t be viewed from the westbound side of Park Boulevard because it is open to two-way traffic. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park. 727-525-7777.

Tampa Lighted Boat Parade: The Friends of the Riverwalk present Tampa’s holiday boat parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 along the Hillsborough River. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin up to the Heights and turns toward Sparkman Wharf. Free. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. 813-221-1539.

Redington and Indian Shores Boat Parade: Decorated boats will travel through the Intracoastal Waterway from just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge (Redington Beach) to Caddy’s in Indian Shores. The best viewing locations are R.O.C. Community Park in Madeira Beach, the 161st Avenue causeway in Redington Beach, Del Bello Park in Redington Shores and the Park Boulevard Boat Ramp in Indian Shores. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 19. R.O.C. Community Park, 200 Rex Place, Madeira Beach.

New Port Richey Street Parade: The Holiday Rotary Club and the City of New Port Richey join for a holiday parade featuring an appearance by Santa in his sleigh. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 11. The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, 5443 Main St., New Port Richey. 727-842-7651.

Palm Harbor Christmas Parade: Celebrate the holiday season with community leaders, local businesses and even Santa. Free. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 11. The parade begins at 12th Street and Delaware Avenue and ends at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue. 727-784-4287