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Getting in the holiday spirit? How to start celebrating across Tampa Bay this weekend

fake snow and a decorated chrismtas tree
Daylina Miller
Tampa's historic district kicks off the winter holidays each year with tree lighting.

The festivities for the 2023 holiday season are in full swing, and it's never to early to start celebrating.

Thanksgiving might be the next event on everyone’s calendar, but it’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays across the greater Tampa Bay region. From Christmas tree lightings to winter villages, here’s how those eager to feel some holiday cheer can start ringing in the season early:

City of South Pasadena Holiday Tree Lighting — Friday, Nov. 17. 6:30 p.m. Bay View Park, 7054 Sunset Drive S., South Pasadena. Mayor Arthur Penny will light up the tree and park in a community celebration featuring music, refreshments and general holiday cheer.

Season Spectacular at Water Street Tampa — Friday, Nov. 17. 5-9 p.m. Water Street, 971 Water St., Tampa. The Water Street Tampa community kicks off its holiday celebrations with festive food and beverages, themed children’s activities and live entertainment. The event is free to attend with something for guests of all ages.

Holidays in Paradise (Lighting of the Christmas Tree) — Saturday, Nov. 18. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Bridge Street Post Office, 116 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach. The Bradenton Beach community kicks off the holidays with the lighting of the 42-foot downtown Christmas Tree. The event will also feature hot chocolate, caroling and a family-oriented holiday movie. The Manatee Food Bank will also be accepting non-perishable food items via donation.

Winter Village — November 17 to January 1. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa. Tampa’s premier downtown holiday event, the Winter Village showcases holiday fun for children and adults alike. The event features an ice rink, themed café, 360 lights show and shops to enjoy during your visit. Select nights also feature a silent disco and holiday train ride through Ybor.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens — November 11 to January 7. Busch Gardens, 10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa. Busch Gardens is once again hosting its Christmas Town event for guests during the holiday season. Parkgoers can expect twinkling lights of every color, dazzling fireworks, and some familiar holiday faces throughout the event.

Tyler Luginski is the WUSF Stephen Noble Digital News intern for fall of 2023.
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