Family Friendly Holiday Events
Jack Frost might not exactly be nipping at our noses here in Central Florida but the upcoming holiday season offers many great events to cool off, and light up, Polk County.
The Lakeland Center will become the “Coolest Place in Town”, November 21 through November 30, with the return of public ice skating. While not specifically a holiday event, the activity has become a bit of a local tradition, nudging participants into the holiday spirit by putting a chill in the air and giving them a reason to don a sweater.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort celebrates the holiday season with their Christmas Bricktacular, every December weekend until Christmas. Festivities include the daily lighting of a 270,000 LEGO brick Christmas tree – and new this year, families will have the opportunity for photos with a life-size LEGO Santa Claus. LEGOLAND Florida Resort will also host Countdown to Kid’s New Year’s Eve from December 26-30, featuring nightly fireworks displays to be watched with special 3D viewing glasses that make the fireworks look like millions of tiny LEGO bricks are falling from the sky. The fun continues with Kid’s New Year’s Eve on December 31, including a live DJ Dance Party in Miniland USA before the countdown to the giant LEGO brick drop at a kid-friendly 7 pm and the fireworks grand finale.
A favorite with visitors and locals alike, Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens will again feature the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate from November 28 through January 4, 2015. Central Florida designers and volunteers will transform the 20-room Mediterranean-style, 1930s mansion into a winter wonderland. Children are encouraged to tour the 1930’s-style home and are invited to search for “The Elf on the Shelf” – a new Christmas tradition enjoyed by families around the world. Bok Tower Gardens hosts special events and evening concerts year-round, including some that fall during this celebration.
The Ramon Theatre in Frostproof presents Christmas at the Ramon on December 6 at 2 pm, a holiday themed program for the entire family to enjoy. Adults can ring in the New Year at the Ramon’s Murder Mystery Dinner, Murder Plays a Sour Note, on December 31. Admission includes a sparkling beverage, party favors and the Ramon’s own “cast of characters”. Advance reservations are required.
“These festive events offer unique shopping opportunities to search out those perfect holiday gifts, but if you find that you still have names to cross off your shopping list, remember that Polk County has great boutiques, antique and specialty stores, citrus, candy and novelty gift shops, in addition to numerous retail shopping centers and major department stores. So finish off your shopping list and treat yourself to a little retail therapy afterward.
Many municipalities in Polk County celebrate the season with Christmas parades:
- Auburndale and Winter Haven’s “Havendale Christmas Parade” – December 5 at 7:00 p.m.
- Bartow’s “Downtown Bartow Christmas Parade” – December 12 at 6:00 p.m.
- Davenport’s “Winterfest” – December 13 at 3:00 p.m. (parade begins at 7:00 p.m.)
- Fort Meade’s “Old Fort Mead Christmas Festival and Parade” – December 6 at 5:30 p.m.
- Haines City’s “City of Haines City Christmas Parade” – Evening of December 6
- Lake Alfred’s “Magical Christmas Celebration” – December 6 at 6:30 p.m.
- Lakeland’s “Junior League of Greater Lakeland’s 34th Annual Lakeland Christmas Parade” – December 4 at 7:00 p.m.
- Lake Wales’ “An Animated Christmas” – December 13 at 6:00 p.m.
- Mulberry’s “Toyland Christmas” – December 13 at 6:30 p.m.
- Polk City’s “City of Polk City’s Christmas Parade” – December 6 at 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy Outstanding Holiday Entertainment
The Lakeland Center will host numerous holiday performances including Cirque Dreams Holidaze on November 23, A Little Christmas with Rich Little on December 10, the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical on December 24, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s Sounds of the Season Concert on December 9, Guys and Dolls on December 29 and the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker on December 30.
We have many more wonderful events and activities taking place all across Polk County, as well as the best places to stay in Central Florida, and tips for making your time in Central Florida merry and bright. Happy Holidays!