Compiled by Kathy L. Collins, Arts and Entertainment Editor 

The holiday season is upon us. Are you looking for something fun to do to celebrate this wonderful time of the year? The Greater Brandon area and Tampa have tons of activities going on over the next few weeks to allow everyone to enjoy the holidays. Let this be your guide to locate fun events in the area. Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the holiday season.

Tired of the mall, the crowds and shopping? Check out real outdoor ice skating at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa now through January 2, 2011, you can enjoy ice skating on real ice. Admission, including skate rental, is $10 for 90 minutes. The rink is open dailym Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 12 to 8 p.m. For more information please visit,

If you love the idea of seeing a Broadway show, but just can’t make it to New York City, never fear. The David A. Straz, Jr. Center For the Performing Arts in Tampa presents “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” This classic holiday tale tells the story of two buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn who find their perfect mates in the process. Shows are as follows: Friday, 12/3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For tickets and additional information, please visit

Want to see local actors put a Broadway style show? Stagedoor Performing Arts and the Valrico Village Players have brought together their extraordinarily talented members to present “Rent!” This rock opera tells the story of one year in the life of a group of bohemians struggling in modern day East Village New York. This story contains adult content and strong language. All shows are held at the historic James McCabe Theatre located at 506 5th St. in Valrico on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Music Showcase and FAOPA and the Audition Only Group will be presenting “Little Women” at Music Showcase located at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon on Friday, December 3, Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5. For tickets and information, please call 685-5598.

Aspiring Thespians and playwrights from Theatre Durant will present three one act plays (“His Return”; “the Actor’s Nightmare”; and The Barefoot Lion”) on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 at 7 p.m. at the Durant High School Theatre located at 4748 Cougar Path in Plant City. “The Barefoot Lion” was written by Durant High School Seniors, Cory King and Ashleigh Powell. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. To obtain tickets call Ed Mason at 757-9075 ext. 280 or email at

Would you like to do something creative and fun? Come out to The Pottery Patch for “Pottery, Paint and Wine Holiday Event” on Friday, December 3 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 5 at 1 p.m. Come create and paint your own Holiday Ornament Personalized Platter. The Pottery Patch is located at 2551 S.R. 60 E. in Valrico. Call 643-0014 for information.

If you want a fun family event with lots to do, come out to the first “Winterfest at Winthrop.” The festivities kick off on Friday, December 3 with a Christmas Tree Lighting and entertainment from 7 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 4 (until 8 p.m.) and Sunday, December 5 (until 4 p.m.), there is something for everyone from hayrides, arts and crafts, food to visits from Santa. All of the fun events will take place at Winthrop Town Center in Riverview.

If you like to tour beautiful homes, then get your tickets for the 18th Annual GFWC Brandon Service League Holiday Home Tour to be held on Saturday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tour will feature three exquisitely decorated homes in the Brandon/Valrico area. Tickets are $15 and can be obtained at the following locations: The Green Boutique, 1031 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico; The Law Offices of B.Lee Elam, 101 E. Lumsden Rd., Brandon; Divine Designs Salon & Spa, 1606 Oakfield Dr., Brandon; and Greg’s Hallmark, 863 Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon and 1916 S.R. 60 E. in Valrico. Only 600 tickets were made available for this fun and festive event.

There’s nothing more fun than watching a holiday parade. On Saturday, December 4 you can enjoy the 27th Annual Lighted Boat Parade hosted by the Rotary Club of Riverview. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. and include a Chili Cook-Off, a fabulous Winter Wonderland, free photo with Santa Claus and lots of other entertainment. The event is free and will take place at the International Independent Showmen’s Association located at 6923 Riverview Dr. on the beautiful Alafia River in Riverview.

Renowned local artist, John Costin is celebrating his 10th Anniversary Open House at his Ybor City Gallery/Studio located at 1905 N. 36th St. in Tampa. The event is free and open to the public. To celebrate this momentous event, Costin is giving away a framed “Kingfisher” original etching valued at $900.00 The event is from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. so stop by and take a look at Costin’s beautiful work. Costin creates life size images of indigenous birds.

Center Place will hold its 3rd Annual Santa’s Holiday Workshop on Saturday, December 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This fun event is for children in grades K-5. Children will delight in this fun-filled afternoon of cookie decorating and crafts. Santa will be on hand to help the little elves with their crafts. Space is limited to 75 children, so call Center Place at 685-8888 for admission information. Center Place is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon.

Email with any upcoming arts and entertainment events you would like to include in this weekly column.

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