Where To Take The Family To See The Best Local Holiday Lights This Season

By Michelle Colesanti

Now that the holidays are upon us, there is a lot of stress just coping with the day to day preparations. Enjoy some simple quality time with friends and family while getting into the holiday spirit. Here are some area light displays for all to enjoy.

Oakdale Light Display Among Largest In The U.S.

It has become a tradition in the Tampa Bay area for people near and far to visit the Oakdale Light Display in St. Petersburg. It was ranked in the top three nationally by NBC’s Today show, presented first in HGTV’s All Out Christmas Special and featured in People Magazine.

Each year the light display is different adorning about one-half million lights. Enjoy the walk-ways, water fountains, computerized light show, animated dolls and a snowman about three stories high.
The most popular item is the large HO-scale model railroad. It can run 18 trains at one time. The kids love the double bubble machines and games. Three electric meters are needed to handle the power.
Although the electric bill can run as high as $4,000, the event is free and fun for everyone.

Visit the display from Friday, November 24 to Wednesday, January 3, 2018 from 6-10 p.m. at 2719 Oakdale St. in St. Petersburg. Visit ChristmasDisplay.org.

Riverview Neighbors Team Up For National Recognition On ABC’s Great American Light Fight

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas back in October at the homes of neighbors’ Rob Silver and Mike Richards. The two were selected to compete in ABC’s holiday reality show, The Great Christmas Light Fight. They teamed up and spent months decorating their homes in an amazing display with the hopes of beating out other national contestants in the first ‘neighbors’ battle to be aired on the show.

The reality show presents families and neighborhoods across America who compete against each other to win a cash prize and the coveted Light Fight trophy. The show will air in mid-December on ABC.

Through January 2, you can enjoy the display every night at 9229 and 9231 Sunnyoak Dr. in Riverview. Stop for a few minutes to watch the display which is set to music playing through a surround sound system on the premises. The display will be lit until about midnight each night.

Wonderland of Lights Drive Thru At Hillsborough County Fairgrounds

North Pole Productions presents Wonderland of Lights Drive Thru at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds. The display will be open Thanksgiving night through Saturday, December 30.

After driving through the beautiful lights, stop by the Christmas Village for camel and pony rides, North Pole Express train ride, horse drawn wagon rides. Visit with The Wolves of the World. There will be craft and gift vendors too. While enjoying the evening, the family can enjoy hot cocoa and donuts, fried dough, popcorn and cotton candy, funnel cakes, and a selection of fair foods.

Vehicles (up to eight passengers) cost $20. For tickets and to view the show schedule, visit www.thewonderlandoflights.com.

Christmas Lane Brings Holiday Cheer To Tampa Bay Area

Christmas Lane returns to the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds on Friday, November 24. The month long winter wonderland experience will take place until December 24 inside and around the Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center, 2508 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City.

The elaborate displays feature over 1.5 million lights accompanying its larger-than-life decorations that use more than 168,000 watts of power. Christmas Lane is a non-profit organization. Volunteers work more than 1,800 hours to set it up.

Attendees will enjoy new displays, carnival rides, twice weekly living Nativities by area churches, expanded menu, and nightly performances by local performers.

Hours are Thursday through Sunday from 6-10 p.m. each night. Tickets are $5 for adults. Children ages 4 to 12 are $3. Children 3 and under are free. Free admission will be available on Thursdays for current and former members of the military. Friday nights are free admission to teachers, first responders and law enforcement. Every child who wears his/her league jersey or shirt on Saturday’s will receive free popcorn. Seniors receive a complimentary cup of coffee on Sundays. Parking is free and can be accessed from Lemon St. and Oak St.

For more information, visit ChristmasLane.com or on Facebook at Christmas Lane.