St. Petersburg hosts festivities to kick off the holiday season

St. Petersburg hosts the Santa Parade and Snowfest

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Holiday festivities are in full swing all around downtown St. Petersburg.

More than 60,000 twinkling lights, Santa Claus and his sleigh, and tons of snow are just some highlights of the celebration.

Saturday starts with the 84th annual Lions Club Santa Parade at Central Avenue and Fifth Street - with bands, floats, costumed characters, and dancers.

After the parade, 65 tons of snow will blow into North Straub Park, along with skating on a simulated ice rink, toboggan rides, a giant slide, moonwalk, make and take crafts, and a KiddyLand for ages three to five.

Wristbands into the event cost $5 and include all activities.

Families can visit Santa in the park or go "glice skating" in North Straub Park, located at 5th Ave. and Beach Drive NE. Both activities will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the following dates: December 3, 4, 7-11, and 15-23.

Skating costs $5 for 30 minutes, but visits to Santa are free. Call 727-893-7441 for more information.

St. Petersburg will also be hosting more holiday events including:

29th Annual Boley Centers' Jingle Bell Run - Wednesday, December 7, starting at the Pier - 800 2nd Ave. NE. Register at 6 p.m. and kick-off at 7:30 p.m. Non-competitive jingling one-mile walk and three-mile run from the Pier along the waterfront.

Bruce Watters Jewelers Holiday Festival and Illuminated Boat Parade - Saturday, December 10. The Holiday Festival features various activities (chili cook-off, food, beverages, live entertainment, boat parade) in Spa Beach Park, located at 615 2nd Ave. NE from noon to 10 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and under. Proceeds benefit The Children's Dream Fund and Rotary Charities . The boat parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Grandstand seating at Spa Beach costs $10. To enter your decorated boat, or for more information, contact 727-822-3277 or 727-821-6443.

Waterfront Lights & Displays - Stroll along the beautiful lighted St. Petersburg waterfront meandering the pedestrian walkway and see the thousands of holiday lights. Visit North Straub Park and view the giant Christmas tree and hopefully catch Santa in his sleigh. Enjoy the giant holiday greeting cards created by local artists and children in the community displayed in Vinoy Park.

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