Florida Events & Festival Roundup

Through December 8, Marathon

Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies
The Marathon Community Theater comedy features hijinks, plot twists, sword fights, romantic entanglements, disguises and deception as a pair of down-on-their-luck British actors concoct a scheme to pass themselves off as nephews of a dying elderly woman. Tickets are $25 plus fees.
(305) 743-0994


Through December 17, Parrish

North Pole Express
Book a ride on the North Pole Express, which departs nightly from the Florida Railroad Museum. Availability, seating locations and prices vary. Standby may be available for unclaimed tickets.
www.frrm.org; (941) 776-0906


Through December 24

Pensacola Winterfest Rings in the Holidays 
Historic downtown streets are aglow with more than half a million white lights, forming a magical backdrop for the celebration that features daytime and evening activities for all ages. The monthlong event starts with an Elf Parade on Black Friday and ends with Santa’s Sendoff with letters, songs and the first gift of Christmas at 8 p.m. December 24. In between are a city parade, visits with Santa Claus, miniature train rides, a live nativity scene, “reindeer games” with costumed characters, live street theater, a variety of trolley tours, fireworks, music and cascades of faux snow. For more information, visit www.pensacolawinterfest.org or call (850) 583-1365. For current event information and promotions, follow Winterfest on Facebook.


December 1, Port St. Joe

Christmas in the Garden
Shop for unique gifts while listening to music, sampling homemade cookies and watching demonstrations about bow making, flower arranging, fun with shells and cooking with herbs. The Port St. Joe Garden Club event is at 216 8th St. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
(952) 465-6314


December 1, Key Largo

Ninth annual Light Up Key Largo
Live music, caroling, decorations, holiday cookies, eggnog and ornament-making spark the holiday spirit from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, MM 102. The annual tree lighting is at 8:30 p.m.
(305) 451-1414


December 1-2, Milton

Christmas Tour of Homes
Milton Garden Club presents its annual tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at the club, 5256 Alabama St. Admission is $10.
(850) 626-2003


December 1-28, Sebring

32nd annual Carousel of Lights
The historic downtown circle features festive holiday lights from 6 to 9 p.m. with Santa, a singing puppet show, kids’ games and miniature golf. The event is free. A fee is charged for activities.


December 2, Pensacola Beach

Surfing Santa Beach Parade
Thousands of spectators see Santa make his way down Via De Luna Drive at 2 p.m. toward the Gulfside Pavilion, where kids meet Santa.
www.pensacolabeachchamber.com; (850) 932-1500


December 3, Avon Park

Christmas in the Park
Enjoy holiday music from local school groups at the free Chamber of Commerce event at 6 p.m. in Donaldson Park.
www.theapcc.net; (863) 453-3350


December 4, Sebring

Celtic Angels Christmas
The magic of Christmas is presented with voice and instruments featuring Irish, contemporary and original Christmas themes.


December 5, Pensacola

Chamber Music Recital
The University of West Florida Department of Music performs music by Bach, Handel, Mozart, traditional Christmas songs and singalongs of popular melodies at noon at Old Christ Church, 405 South Adams St. The concert is free.
www.uwf.edu; (850) 474-2147


December 5, Marathon

Pet Pictures With Santa
Santa poses for photos with pets from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Keys Animal Hospital. Photos are free. Pet food, toys, beds or financial donations are welcome. The event supports shelter animals at the Florida Keys SPCA campus in Marathon.
www.fkspca.org; (305) 743-3647


December 6-8, Okeechobee

Top of the Lake Christmas Festival
Food, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities and entertainment are at Flagler Park. The lighted Christmas parade is at 6 p.m. Saturday.
(863) 357-6246


December 7, Islamorada

Florida Keys Holiday Festival
Kids can frolic in a 30-ton snow mountain at Founders Park, MM87, enjoy a holiday parade, carol and watch the lighting of a 35-foot-tall community tree as adults bid on one-of-a-kind ornaments and explore a gift bazaar.
(305) 664-4503


December 7-8, 14-15, Fort Meade

Christmas in the Village
Enjoy lights at the decorated Florida Flywheelers park while riding a tram pulled by an antique tractor. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is canned goods, toys, monetary donation or all three. Donations benefit Avon Park on December 7, Fort Meade on December 8, Frostproof on December 14 and Lake Wales on December 15. The park is at 7000 Avon Park Cut Off Road.
(863) 285-9121


December 8, Sebring

Decorate holiday cookies, write letters to Santa and participate in holiday art and craft projects from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Highlands Art League, 1985 Lakeview Drive.


December 8, Marathon

Christmas By the Sea Boot Key Harbor Lighted Boat Parade
Dinghies to yachts and powerboats to sailboats wind their way from the west end of Boot Key Harbor at 6 p.m. toward Sombrero Marina Dockside, back through the harbor and ending at Lazy Days South at Marathon Marina for a post-parade award party at about 8:30 p.m.
(305) 743-6575


December 8, Pensacola

Cox Pensacola Christmas Parade
More than 50,000 people converge downtown for the 5:15 p.m. parade that includes nearly 90 entries and eight bands from Escambia County, New Orleans and Mississippi.
www.coxpensacolachristmasparade.org; (850) 434-1234


December 8, Key Largo

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Decorated boats parade along Blackwater Sound at 7:30 p.m. as the community celebrates “The Magic of Electricity,” honoring Florida Keys Electric Cooperative with Grand Marshal Scott Newberry, CEO of FKEC. An awards after-party is at Sundowners at 10 p.m.
(305) 393-3736


December 8-9, Sebring

21st annual Highlands Bike Fest
The entire family is invited to enjoy cycling in the gently rolling hills of Highlands County.


December 9, Marathon

Key Colony Beach Lighted Boat Parade
Christmas lights, Santa’s elves and brightly lit deck displays highlight festivities that begin at the 7th Street canal. All boats are welcome to participate.
www.kcbca.org; (305) 394-2480


December 9, Pensacola

Santa Drop
Santa parachutes in at 11 a.m. at the beach by Flora-Bama. The free event continues until 2 p.m. with arts and crafts, sweet treats, live music, Christmas songs for the kids and pictures with Santa. Bring a canned food item for Manna Food Bank or a toy for Toys For Tots.
www.florabama.com; (850) 483-6267


December 12, Islamorada

Lecture Series
Joshua Marano, archaeological technician for Biscayne National Park, presents “They Came From the Sea: Study of the Cuban Migrant Craft La Esparaza,” at 6 p.m. at the Keys History & Discovery Center, MM82. The center opens at 5 p.m. Light appetizers and a cash bar are available. The cost is $10.
(305) 922-2237; info@keysdiscovery.com; www.keysdiscovery.com


December 13-15, Sebring

Hammock North Pole
A “sleigh” tram ride transports visitors through Highlands Hammock State Park to the North Pole from 6 to 9 p.m. to see Santa, participate in crafts and view the lights that bring the Hammock wonderland to life. The last tram leaves the picnic area at 7:45 p.m. Admission is $10 a person.
(863) 402-0061


December 14-15, Indian Lake

Sixth annual Drive-Thru Nativity

Indian Lake United Methodist Church tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in nine live drive-thru Nativity scenes from 7 to 9 p.m. The church is on Deland Avenue, just through the entrance of Indian Lake Estates, off Highway 60, about 17 miles east of Lake Wales. Bring your camera and take photos from your car. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
Don Stotts, (863) 692-6014


December 14, Marathon

Lighted Bike Ride
Decorate your bike and contribute an unwrapped toy for the Marathon Holiday Store. The family event begins with check in at 6 p.m. at the Marathon Airport. The ride is at
7 p.m. Register online.
www.wesleyhouse.org; (305) 809-5000


December 15, Islamorada

Pops in the Park
Santa makes an appearance at the free Holiday Suite Treats community band concert from 4 to 5 p.m. at the ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park, MM87. The event features a holiday music sing-a-long and the Burton Memorial Church handbell ringers. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.
www.keyscommunityconcertband.org; (305) 451-4530


December 15, Bradenton

An Old Florida Christmas
Manatee Village Historical Park features musical performances, seasonal craft stations, heritage artisans, food vendors and silent holiday films from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(941) 749-7165


December 15, Okeechobee

Lighted Boat Parade
Decorate your boat and line up in Taylor Creek by Burger King and Highway 70 by 5 p.m. to join the Okeechobee Yatchette Club’s parade, which begins at 6 p.m.
(863) 467-4782 or (863) 467-4782


December 17, Islamorada

Immerse Yourself
Dr. Brian Magrane, a member of the History of Diving Museum, talks about life on a Spanish merchant vessel during a free lecture series at 7 p.m. at the museum, MM83.
(305) 664-9737


December 31, Islamorada

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Ring in the new year with midnight fireworks on the beach at Morada Bay Beach Café, MM 81.6. The large beach party includes live music, a barbecue, signature cocktails, performers and fireworks.
www.moradabay.com; (305) 664-0604


December 31, Pensacola

New Year’s Eve Fireworks
A dazzling display will light up the sky overlooking the Santa Rosa Sound from the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk at 8 p.m.
(850) 932-2257


December 31, Key Largo

New Year’s Eve Fireworks
The back bay is the setting for the annual extravaganza hosted by several businesses on Blackwater Sound, MM 103-104.
(305) 451-4502


November through April, Key Largo

Keys Community Concert Band Looking for Musicians
Whether you have not played an instrument in quite some time or are an experienced or even a professional musician, the Keys Community Concert Band wants you! The group performs free outdoor concerts once a month from November through April. Rehearsals are Mondays at Key Largo School, MM 105. Tuning/warm up is at 6:45 p.m., with rehearsal from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Join some great players in an easygoing atmosphere and have tons of fun. Just show up with your instrument or you can borrow one. For more information, call 305-451-4530 or visit www.keyscommunityconcertband.org.

January 1, Florida State Parks

First Day Hike
Start the new year off on the right foot with a morning walk—some ranger-guided, others self-guided—at one of 11 state parks.


January 3, Key Largo

Orange Bowl Swimming Classic
Some of the best college swimmers compete at Jacobs Aquatic Center, MM 99.6. Racing begins at 10 a.m. Admission is free.
www.jacobsaquaticcenter.org; 305-453-7946


January 5, Pensacola

Mardi Gras Market
Palafox Market, a certified farmers market, transforms into Mardi Gras Market with Mardi Gras-themed décor, art, baked goods and handmade items as well as locally grown produce. The event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza is the official launch of the 2019 Mardi Gras season.


January 5, Key West

Pole Vault in Paradise
Spectators can watch high school, college and masters pole vaulters in a competitive event that begins at 9 a.m. and continues throughout the day at Truman Waterfront Park. Admission is free.


January 9-12, Sebring

Harder Hall Ladies Invitational
This 63rd annual ladies golf tournament is open to amateur female golfers age 12 and older. Play is in two divisions. The field is limited to 132 players.


January 10-20, Key Largo and Islamorada

Uncorked … Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival
The food, wine and spirits showcase features 37-plus events scattered along the Upper Keys.
www.floridakeysuncorked.com; 305-522-1300


January 11-13, Duck Key

Island Boat Show
Test-ride boats, attend fishing seminars, shop for merchandise, bid on auction items and enjoy food at the Island Christian School fundraiser at Hawks Cay Resort and Marina, MM 61. Admission is $10. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
www.islandboatshow.com; 239-691-3290


January 12 and 26, Pensacola

A Night Under the Stars
Join the Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association at Big Lagoon State Park and view the moon, planets and other celestial objects.
www.floridastateparks.org; emily.price@dep.state.fl.us


January 12-13, Marathon

Florida Keys Celtic Festival
Celebrated Celtic musical masters, Irish and Scottish dancing, Highland athletics, Celtic merchandise, food and beverage booths, and children’s activities are featured at Marathon Community Park, MM 49, beginning at 11 a.m. Single-day tickets are $10.


January 12-13, Lower Keys

15th annual Nautical Flea Market
Find deals for boating, fishing, diving and more from nearly 200 vendors from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce grounds, MM 31. Crafts, food and beverage, live music and entertainment round out the event. Admission and parking are free.
www.lowerkeyschamber.com; 305-872-2411


January 15-20, Okeechobee

Yeehaw Music Fest
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the bluegrass extravaganza at the Agri-Civic Center. A three-day ticket is $85. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult.
www.evansmediasource.com; 386-385-3500


January 16-17-18-19, Fort Meade

32nd annual Antique Engine & Tractor Swap Meet
The Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club hosts a flea market, antique tractor pull, pedal tractor pull for kids and displays of antiques—some for sale or trade—from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the club’s grounds, 7000 Avon Park Cut-off Road.
www.floridaflywheelers.org; 863-285-9121


January 17-February 6, Sebring

Organic Geometry Exhibit
The South Florida State College Museum of Florida Art and Culture features ceramic works by Bert Bogdany that exemplify and challenge the malleable nature of clay. The opening reception is January 17 at 1 p.m.


January 18-February 3, Sebring

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
The witty musical tackles modern love in all its forms, from the perils and pitfalls to the first date to marriage, children and the twilight years of life.


January 19, Tavernier

36th annual Art Under the Oaks
San Pedro Catholic Church, MM 89.5, hosts the festival of fine arts and original crafts from
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment, specialty and international foods, raffles and a bake sale. Admission and parking at Coral Shores High School are free. On-site parking is $5.
www.artundertheoaks.com; vendors: 305-360-8556 or 305-664-0888


January 19, Lakeport

26th annual Sour Orange Festival
Enjoy a taste of native Florida with a sour orange pie, swamp cabbage, pulled pork and chicken dinners, music, vendors and a quilt show from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults. Children younger than 12 are admitted free. Parking is free.
Jo Randolph, 863-227-4323


January 19, Islamorada

Pops in the Park
Super Heroes and Space Wars is the theme of the free outdoor band concert at 4 p.m. at Founders Park, MM 87. Musical numbers include cartoon capers, fright night, Broadway and movie favorites, the Beatles and classic rock. No chairs are provided. Bring blankets.


January 19-20, Key West

14th annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival
Enjoy food, marine-related crafts, youth activities and music at 11 a.m. at Bayview Park. Admission is $5.
www.floridakeysseafoodfestival.com; 573-619-2200


January 20, Lake Placid

10th annual Ladies Tea
Enjoy an afternoon with a ’50s rock ‘n’ roll theme dining on tea sandwiches, fruit breads and decadent deserts followed by a crazy auction, hat contest, mini style show and multiple prizes. Doors open at 1 p.m. Tea hours are 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 and on sale at the Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-op, 123 Interlake Blvd.
www.caladiumarts.org; 863-699-5940


January 23-26, Sebring

U.S. Sport Aviation Expo
See, try, fly and buy the latest in sports aircraft and aviation items. Nearly 150 aircraft are on display. Exhibitors travel from around the world.


January 26, Marathon

Jamboree and Rummage Sale
The Marathon Garden Club, MM50, hosts its annual January Jamboree from 8:30 a.m. to
3:30 p.m. There will be plants and orchids for sale, local plant experts to answer questions, vendors, jewelry, pottery, a rummage sale and hot dogs. Here is your chance to buy plants grown in the Keys that are specifically geared to our climate and soil conditions.
www.marathongardenclub.org; 305-743-4971


January 26, Keystone Heights

Yesterday’s Festival
Take a walk back in time at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park. See historic demonstrations, antique cars, tractors and steam engines. Learn about cast-iron cooking, meet Civil War re-enactors and hear the firing of cannons. Take a park tram tour or sit back and enjoy the music.
www.floridastateparks.org; steven.earl@dep.state.fl.us


January 26-28, Naples

Naples Winter Wine Festival
Enjoy the best in wine and food, and help children in need. Proceeds benefit the Naples Children & Education Foundation, which supports charitable programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. Since its inception in 2001, the festival has raised more than $161 million for children in need.