Compiled by Michelle Colesanti
Here are a few places you can visit with your family to help get into the spirit of the season. Wonderful light displays that include fun for the family. If you know of additional displays locally, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share with our readers online.
Wonderland of Lights New Display Offers Family Fun
Brandon will be the home of The Wonderland of Lights Drive Thru, at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Rd. in Dover. This premier holiday light show and winter festival will be a spectacular celebration and brings back a family holiday tradition that so many have grown to love. Opening Thanksgiving Night, November 24 and running through Saturday, December 31 (6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday & Saturday).
This 38–day event incorporates beautiful animated and still light displays that will dazzle the young and “the young at heart.” Plus, it will offer a blend of fun, family activities and entertainment sure to please all. Take some time to stop at the Christmas village featuring horse-drawn wagon rides, North Pole train ride, amusement rides, food and crafts.
The show is produced by Massachusetts based North Pole Productions, known for their shows in Branson, Missouri and other locations across the country.
To save time at the gate, tickets for the drive-through can be purchased online at www.brandonchamber.com under the events tab. Prices are: Vehicles (up to 8 passengers) $20; Season’s Pass $35 (vehicles only); coaches, limos, mini vans (9-24 seating) $35; Motor Coaches (25-50 seating) $75.
Christmas Lane at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds
Christmas Lane started humbly enough. Over 30 years ago, a young boy started hanging Christmas lights in front of his childhood home in Dover.
As with most things that grow, Christmas Lane began feeling growing pains several years ago. With the display outgrowing the family yard setting and a parking lot that was becoming overwhelmed by the growing Christmas Lane crowds, something had to change in order to accommodate Christmas-loving crowds. Christmas Lane has a new home at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 2508 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City.
Over 1.5 million lights will adorn over 200 Christmas trees, from 4 to 40 ft. tall. There is a train taking children through a winter wonderland which includes a tunnel of lights, along with several new rides. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with his elves, attend nightly in his sleigh. Children share their wishes and the parents capture many memorable photo opportunities. Enjoy real characters such as Rudolph and Frosty the Snow Man make spontaneous appearances and a complete nativity scene demonstrates the real reason for Christmas. There are larger-than-life items on display, such as a Christmas Castle, two 10 ft. toy soldiers, a 14 ft. reindeer, and even a stuffed polar bear flying a small airplane.
Christmas Lane will be open Nov 25 – Dec 25, 2016. From Friday, November 25 – Thursday, December 15, the hours are 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. As Christmas approaches from Friday, December 16 – Saturday, December 25, the hours will be extended to 6-10 p.m. For more info, visit www.christmaslane.com.
Oakdale Light Display Is One of the Largest and Longest Running Displays in Country
Now in its 40th year, the Oakdale Light Display has become a tradition in the Tampa Bay area drawing people from all over. It was ranked in the top three nationally by NBC’s Today Show, presented first in HGTV’s All Out Christmas Special and also featured in People Magazine.
Every year the display is different. There are about one-half million lights. You will enjoy walkways, water fountains, a computerized light show, a huge collection of animated dolls, a snowman about three stories high. Enjoy the large HO-scale model railroad running 18 trains at a time. The kids love the double bubble machines and games.
The display is free and fun for the entire family. It is open from Friday, November 25 and continues nightly through Tuesday, January 3 from 6-10 p.m. (rain or clear skies).
It is located at 2719 Oakdale Street, South in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.christmasdisplay.org.
Christmas Light Show In Apollo Beach
Apollo Beach Christmas Light Show, with over 100,000 lights synchronized to Christmas songs featuring a 20 ft. mega tree and leaping arches, can be found at 486 Florida Circle North and will run through Monday, January 2.
Residents Tim and Christine Chefalas decorate their house, located at 6023 Palomaglade Dr. in Lithia, each year. The Christmas light display is set to music. As you drive by, tune in to 107.7 FM. You can enjoy the lights from Thanksgiving through the first of the New Year.