Holiday-themed events over Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa Bay

TAMPA BAY, Fla. - Looking to celebrate the holidays this Thanksgiving weekend? Check out these fun and festive events around Tampa Bay (November 24-26). 

Friday, November 24 

What: St. Petersburg's Tree Lighting Ceremony
When: 7 p.m. 
Where: North Straub Park
Cost: Free
Event Info: Bring in the holiday season with St. Petersburg’s festive kickoff celebration. Mayor Kriseman flips the switch that turns on the downtown Christmas tree and lights on Friday, November 24, from 5 to 7 p.m at North Straub Park. You’ll enjoy onstage entertainment. Children will also enjoy the activities and interactive games. Food concessions available. Blanket seating. Free to the public. Presented by City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation. For more information, call (727) 893-7441. 

What: Holiday Lights in the Gardens
When: 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
Where: Florida Botanical Gardens at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo
Cost: $4 donation
Event Info: The annual "Holiday Lights in the Gardens" is a seasonal escape into a wonderland of twinkling lights and fun entertainment. Over 1 million LED lights shining throughout our Botanical Gardens highlighting our plants and in nature-themed or holiday-themed light displays. This is a family-friendly event with nightly entertainment, including visits with Santa. Refreshments are available, as well as Holiday-themed gifts at the Botanical Bounty Gift Shop. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and a $4 suggested donation is encouraged for entry.

What: 2017 Christmas Lane
When: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
Where: Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds at 2508 West Oak Avenue, Plant City
Cost: 13 and up = $5, 4-12 = $3, 3 and under = free
Event Info: Christmas Lane is a Christmas wonderland! We are housed in the Charlie Grimes Building at the Florida Strawberry Festival and have grown a lot over our 35 years! We will have many light displays, food, carnival rides, a kid zone which includes letters to Santa, face painting, and ornaments. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos every night except Christmas Eve. Each Thursday and Saturday night, area churches will present a 30-minute living Nativity with live music, live animals, an outdoor set and an angel! 

What: Lindsey Stirling Warmer in the Winter Tour
When: 7 p.m. 
Where: Straz Center for the Performing Arts at 1010 North Macinnes Place, Tampa
Cost: $47.50
Event Info: With her cinematic approach to electronic dance music, multi-talented virtuoso Lindsey Stirling's popularity as one of the most innovative music-makers catapulted her to the highest-ranked female on YouTube. Her 2012 debut album Shatter Me ranked No. 1 on Billboard's year-end Classical chart and No. 2 on its Dance/Electronic Music chart. Her album, Brave Enough, feature collaborations with EDM superstar Zedd, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Christina Perri. She returns this holiday season to perform songs from her new Christmas album for the Warmer in the Winter tour.

What: Santa’s Flight Academy
When: 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. 
Where: International Plaza and Bay Street at 2223 North Westshore Boulevard Northwest, Tampa
Cost: Click here for more info
Event Info: Santa’s Flight Academy is a wholly interactive and magical hero’s journey that transforms children into key members of Santa’s Flight Crew. Create memorable and shareable moments for families, including the Flight Suit Visualizer and the Flight Navigation Station. Experience a powerful and magical snow and light show inside Santa’s sleigh, and, of course, a visit with Santa Claus. Now through December 24th in Grand Court. Each child becomes a member of the flight crew, gets a special visit with Santa, receives a personalized Cadet Badge, tries on a virtual flight suit, learns how to operate the sleigh, and dances under magical lights and snowfall. 

What: Winter's Wonderland at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
When: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
Where: Clearwater Marine Aquarium at 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater
Cost: $22.95
Event Info: Join us for a splashingly great holiday celebration at Clearwater Marine Aquarium! Get your family photo taken with Winter Claus, experience a Winter Wonderland with lights and décor all around, and see Special Santa dive presentations at Mavis’s Rescue Hideaway. 

It's also Black Friday! 

Saturday, November 25

What: 6th Annual Madeira Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Craft Festival
When: November 25 & 26, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Madeira Beach at 15103 Madeira Way, Madeira Beach
Cost: Free
Event Info: Located on Florida's west coast, Madeira Beach is a small town filled with natural beauty just minutes from the beach. Nearby attractions include John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, a sea-themed area that provides shops and eateries and a 1,100-foot boardwalk along the Intracoastal. Madeira Way will be lined with crafters from all over Tampa Bay displaying their works for sale at this community festival. Join us in Madeira Beach to browse and purchase a wide variety of ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, metal works and much more.

What: Sarasota’s 3rd Annual Snowcrab Festival
When: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m. 
Where: Whitaker Gateway Park at 1455 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Cost: Click here for more information 
Event Info: Come see what’s cooking at the 3rd annual Sarasota Snowcrab Festival! Check out fried, garlic and smoked snow crabs at Whitaker Gateway Park on Saturday. 

What: John McLaughlin & Jimmy Herring at Ruth Eckerd Hall
When: 8 p.m. 
Where: Ruth Eckerd Hall at 1111 North McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater
Cost: $43.25
Event Info: Guitarist John McLaughlin revisits the legacy of Mahavishnu Orchestra on his farewell US tour joined by Virtuoso Guitarist Jimmy Herring. You won't want to miss two of the most influential and prolific guitarists together for the first time only at Ruth Eckerd Hall!

What: Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
When: Nov. 18 - Dec. 16
Where: Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park 600 North Ashley Drive Downtown, Tampa
Cost: Free
Event Info: Come celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Tampa at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park! Located along the Tampa Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages. Go ice skating, shop at a Christmas market or watch a holiday movie on the lawn. 

Sunday, November 26

What: Thanksgiving Weekend Art & Craft Festival in Tarpon Springs
When: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Where: Downtown Tarpon Springs at 111 East Tarpon Avenue, Tarpon Springs
Cost: Free
Event Info: This outdoor showcase has been a holiday favorite for more than 25 years! Kick off your holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend in downtown Tarpon Springs. It's a great way to shop small and shop local! Find original works from new and established artists and crafters, including folk art, earthenware, paintings, wearable art, body products, pet products, personalized gifts and more.

What: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith at Amalie Arena
When: 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Amalie Arena at 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa
Cost: $35.75
Event Info: Multi-platinum, Grammy winners Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith co-bill their popular Christmas tour this holiday season, which will be joined for the second consecutive year by Republic recording artist Jordan Smith, Season 9 winner of NBC’s “The Voice.” Incorporating a full symphony orchestra at each performance under the direction of Musical Director and Conductor David Hamilton, this seasonal crowd-pleaser is being presented by Balsam Hill.

What: Big Red Barn Trail of Lights Holiday Light Display
When: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
Where: The Big Red Barn at 10070 Fern Hill Drive, Riverview
Cost: $7 online preorder, $10 the day of the event
Event Info: Join us from November 24 to January 7 for our enormous holiday light display, complete with a 60ft Christmas Light Tree! Trail is open nightly from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Stick around and enjoy hot cocoa, fresh donuts, and much more! Children 2 and under are free for this event! 

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