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Communities deck out for Christmas and holiday events


Published:   |   Updated: November 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Winter's Miracle on Cleveland Street
 
CLEARWATER – Winter's Miracle on Cleveland Street, sponsored by Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc. and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, will kick-off this year's event with the official lighting of the Capitol Theatre outdoor signage.
 
The festival will be held on Friday, Dec. 6, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos will be joined by other city and business leaders and officials from Ruth Eckerd Hall to turn on the lights of the theatre after dusk.
 
Presented by Bright House Networks, this free holiday festival returns for the sixth year when downtown Clearwater's Cleveland Street District is transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with Florida's largest natural snow slide, holiday crafts, train rides, inflatable attractions and an outdoor ice skating rink.
 
Entertainment will include the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts tap dancers and live music from Tampa Bay's favorite party band, Late Night Brass. Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a founding member of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famers Sha-Na-Na will be the Master of Ceremonies.
 
The first 250 children (age 12 and under) that pass through the gate of the festival will receive an exclusive holiday Winter plush toy.
 
Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure located in the Harborview Center at the corner of Osceola and Cleveland Streets, will be open to the public with free admission. Children will be able to have their photograph taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the Hurricane Blizzard and the many educational exhibits inside.
 
Families can participate in a scavenger hunt along Cleveland Street to win great prizes including tickets to upcoming performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the all-new Capitol Theatre. Other prizes include a register-to-win for the opportunity to be an “extra” in the upcoming film Dolphin Tale 2, an exclusive behind the scenes Dolphin Tale 2 family experience and exclusive Dolphin Tale 2 prizes. The festival will feature a variety of vendors throughout Cleveland Street providing holiday-themed food and refreshments.
 
Lighted boat parade and tree lighting
 
DUNEDIN – The lighted boat parade and tree lighting event, sponsored by the Dunedin Boat Club, Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department and Marker 1 Marina, will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Dunedin Marina and Edgewater Park, 51 Main St.
 
Decorated, lighted boats will leave Marker 1 Marina at 6 p.m. and proceed south through the Intracoastal Waterway to Marker 2 and arrive at the Dunedin Marina at approximately 7:30 p.m.
 
Santa will arrive on the last boat and preside over the tree lighting ceremony.
 
The event is free. Bring lawn chairs. To register your boat for the parade, call (727) 692-6440. For general information, call (727) 812-4531.
 
Island Estates Yacht Club holiday boat parade
 
CLEARWATER - The Island Estates Yacht Club Boat Parade, one of the largest and most popular marine events in the Clearwater area, will celebrate its 39th year on Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
 
The parade honors the memory of Island Estates Yacht Club members who have passed away during the year.
 
Decorated boats will assemble in Mandalay Channel located between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m. The lead boat will proceed northward through Mandalay Channel at approximately 6:30.
 
The parade of boats will weave in and out of many of the Island Estate canals before heading to Coachman Park around 8 p.m. From there the boats will head south, under the Memorial Causeway Bridge, and navigate to the Clearwater Yacht Club for judging. The best decorated boats will receive cash or gift certificates, donated by area businesses.
 
A pre-parade Captain's meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 S. Bayway Blvd., Clearwater.
 
There is no fee to enter your boat in the parade. To participate, call IEYC Fleet Captain Paul Lightfoot at (727) 744-1728 or email liteft@msn.com.
 
Inaugural 'jingle jog' and 'reindeer trot' planned
 
CLEARWATER – Athletes are invited to participate in the inaugural Holiday Hustle, featuring a 5k Jingle Jog and a Reindeer Tot Trot, a festive holiday family running event that begins at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Dec. 7 at 8 am.
 
The 5k course will start at Ruth Eckerd Hall and meander along the Ream Wilson Trail. The event will feature plenty of holiday cheer, hot chocolate, breakfast treats and live caroling by some of Ruth Eckerd Hall's young performing arts students.
 
In addition, young runners can also play reindeer games including the Rudolph 400-yard dash for 7 to 10-year olds and the Dasher and Prancer 100-yard dash for toddlers up to 6-year olds. Walkers are welcome in the event. Athletes will also have a chance to win tickets to upcoming performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
 
The proceeds will benefit the educational programs offered at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall.   
 
For more information and to register, visit  https://HolidayHustle5k.racehawk.com.
 
Old-fashioned Christmas & holiday parade
 
DUNEDIN – An old-fashioned Christmas & holiday parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, from 4 to 9 p.m., in downtown Dunedin.
 
Children of all ages can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, kids' crafts and games, holiday music, live entertainment and photos with Santa. For more information, call (727) 812-4530.
 
Deck the doors holiday decorating contest
 
SAFETY HARBOR – The city of Safety Harbor is sponsoring a “Deck the Doors” holiday decorating contest.
 
Participating residents need only to snap a picture of their decorated door and send it to communications@cityofsafetyharbor.com.  The deadline to submit photographs is Sunday, Dec. 8.
 
The winner will be announced at the holiday parade on Dec. 21.
 
Downtown merchants are also hosting a holiday stroll and decorate-a-door contest that kicks off right after the tree lighting at the Gazebo on Friday, Dec. 6 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. Shoppers can stroll from store to store and mark their ballots for their favorite door. One lucky shopper will win a prize basket worth more than $250 in gift certificates and gifts from the participating merchants.
 
Holiday bargain bazaar set for Dec. 7
 
SAFETY HARBOR - The city of Safety Harbor is hosting the annual Holiday Bargain Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Community Center, 650 9th Ave. S. While giving vendors a chance to make an extra dollar for their own gift buying, the city of Safety Harbor will provide shoppers the opportunity to score some of the best bargains around.
 
This is the third year Safety Harbor has hosted the Holiday Bargain Bazaar event. Bargain hunters won't want to miss this rain or shine event which has vendors set up inside and outside of the Safety Harbor Community Center. In previous years, the Bazaar has been a huge success, so this year, the city is spreading the word and offer more vendors a chance to sell items all for under $25. An outdoor space is $10, and an indoor space is $15. Rent for a 8 foot banquet table is $5.
 
Vendors can register at the Safety Harbor Community Center to reserve a spot. Vendors who have participated in city programs before, can register online at www.safetyharborrecreation.com. For more information, contact Autumn Lewis at 724-1530.
 
Breakfast with Santa
 
DUNEDIN - Breakfast with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 to 11 a.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Join Santa for a delicious pancake breakfast and let him know how good you've been and what you would like this year. Ages 8 and younger. Cost is $6 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information, call 812-4530.
 
Santa's calling
 
DUNEDIN - Santa's Calling is Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Children, ages 7 and younger will receive a personal phone call from Santa or Mrs. Claus. Must preregister. Forms available at the Dunedin Library, 230 Moray Place, and the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. For more information, call (727) 298-3299.
 
Holiday lights in the botanical gardens will twinkle
 
The Florida Botanical Gardens presents the popular Holiday Lights in the Gardens every evening starting Nov. 29 through Jan. 1.
 
In addition to laser lights, flora and fauna displays, and decorated trees, a seven-foot gingerbread house with more than 600 lights, a 30-foot tall white swan and a five-foot tropical parrot have been added to the traditional array of lights lining paths with nightly free entertainment and visits from Santa Claus. 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
 
Suggested donation $2 per person (13 years and older). Special events: Gift and Plant Sale in the Gardens on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a dog parade on Sunday, Dec. 29 starting at 1 p.m. Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. www.flbg.org or call (727) 582-2100 for information. 
 
Holidays at the Heritage Village will be enchanting
 
LARGO – Share the holiday season at Pinellas County's Heritage Village, enchanting visitors to this 21-acre living history museum starting Nov. 30 through Dec. 29.
 
Historical houses will be decorated true to their time period, locality and lifestyle, from an elaborately decorated Victorian home to a simply adorned 1852 log cabin. Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th Street North in Largo.
 
For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage or call (727) 582-2123.  The village is closed each Monday and Tuesday, and on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
 
Trees and Traditions set for Dec. 7
 
LARGO – The Pinellas County Historical Society will sponsor this Heritage Village open house on Dec. 7 with children's activities and crafts, holiday music, tours and a special visit from Santa Claus.
 
Guests can also find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Beach Cottage Gift Shop and the Holiday Marketplace. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Suggested donation $2 per person (12 years and older). Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo.
 
For information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage or call (727) 582-2123.
 
Library friends host holiday gift basket sale
 
LARGO –The Friends of the Largo Library will host a holiday gift basket sale on Dec. 7 through Dec. 21.
 
Themed baskets will be on display and available for purchase in the lobby and bookstore of the library located at 120 Central Park Drive.
 
For more information, call the bookstore at (727) 586-7392.
 
Annual holiday stroll to light up Largo Central Park
 
LARGO – On Dec. 7 from 5-9 p.m. over a million LED lights and entertainment will fill Largo Central Park for its annual Holiday Stroll.
 
Each shelter throughout the park will feature a different holiday theme with an activity or craft for the children. Enjoy the toboggan snow slide and visit with Santa. Join the sing-a-long, listen to live entertainment from musical group Late Night Brass, and make sure you don't miss the official holiday tree lighting that will take place at 7 p.m. in the center of the park.
 
This family-friendly event is free for all ages and concessions will be available. Limited on-site parking is available for $5 and free parking is available at the Largo High School and Largo Middle School.
 
Largo Central Park is located at 101 Central Park Drive, Largo 33771. For more information, call (727)587-6775 or visit LargoEvents.com.
 
Pinellas paws cause holiday celebration
 
LARGO – Pinellas County Animal Services will be celebrating the holidays for the third year with the Pinellas Paws Cause Holiday Celebration on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
There will be photo sessions with Santa Paws, a pet parade through Florida Botanical Gardens, adoption specials, discounts on rabies shots, rescue groups, vendors and children's activities.
 
Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices, or call (727) 582-2600.
 
Annual holiday gift and plant sale
 
LARGO – The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation will hold its gift and plant sale on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
This popular sale will feature vendors offering an assortment of tropical plants, orchids, bromeliads, Florida native plants, herbs and bamboo. The Botanical Bounty gift shop will also be open with an array of gifts and goods for sale.
 
Entry and parking are free for visitors during daylight hours. Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Visit www.flbg.org or call (727) 582-2100.

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