Holiday Activities Around Polk County

Holiday Activities to Warm Up The Season

As temperatures start to dip, toss on a sweater, grab a cup of cocoa and enjoy all the holiday activities that will soon be warming up Polk County.

A favorite with visitors and locals alike, Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens once again features the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate from November 23 through January 6, 2013. Central Florida designers and volunteers will transform the 20-room Mediterranean style, 1930s mansion into a winter wonderland. Tour hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday; and noon to 5 pm on Sundays. The tour will be open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Tickets (which include general admission to the attraction) are $20 for adults and $9 for children from 5 to 12.

Carols in the Park is a Winter Haven holiday tradition. Set for Dec. 1 and 2, this free, two-day festival is a family-friendly holiday gathering of artisans and musicians in downtown Winter Haven, including food, craft and gift vendors, entertainment, and of course Santa Claus!

Glitter, Glisten & Snow, from 1 to 9 pm on Dec. 1, will turn Lake Eva Park in Haines City into a magical Christmas wonderland. Enjoy complimentary hot cider and roasted chestnuts at this free event, while entertainers fill the air with holiday music. Kids can play in the snow area and have their pictures taken with Santa. Fireworks at 8:30 pm complete the evening.

The Festival of Trees at The Ramon Theatre in Frostproof takes place on Dec. 1 from 3 to 5 pm. Enjoy a breathtaking display of lighted Christmas trees, along with holiday music by the Hammered Dulcimers. Admission is $2. The Ramon Theatre will also host a New Year’s Eve murder mystery dinner, “I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus” on Dec. 31, from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets are $45 per person and advance reservations are required.

Mistletoe Market Place, spanning four nights, Dec. 12 – 15, in downtown Eagle Lake, is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. This free event takes place from 6 to 9 pm, Wednesday through Friday, and from 4 to 9 pm on Saturday, featuring arts and crafts vendors, lots of food vendors, hay rides and pony rides, music and entertainment… and the Train Room will be open.

LEGOLAND Florida kicks off their holiday season with LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular, on Saturdays and Sundays in December. The festivities include lighting a 270,000 brick Christmas tree and daily appearances by Santa Claus. LEGOLAND will also host Countdown to Kid’s New Year’s Eve from Dec. 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. LEGOLAND finally caps off the year with Kid’s New Year’s Eve on December 31, allowing kids to count down to the giant LEGO brick drop at a kid-friendly 7 pm. Fireworks and a DJ dance party are included in the evening’s activities.

Many municipalities celebrate the season with Christmas parades, including Haines City on Dec. 1 at 10 am, Lakeland on Dec. 6 at 7 pm, Lake Wales on Dec. 8 at 6 pm and Bartow on Dec. 14 at 6 pm. And the Havendale Christmas Parade (co-sponsored by Winter Haven and Auburndale) is Dec. 7 at 7:30 pm.

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.

Enjoy Outstanding Holiday Entertainment

Theatre Winter Haven presents the Winter Wonderettes Thursdays through Sundays, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 16. This energetic and entertaining seasonal sequel to the 1950s era Marvelous Wonderettes features great holiday tunes and is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages. Tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for students.

Florida Dance Theatre will perform The Nutcracker at Lakeland’s historic Polk Theatre on Dec. 8 at 7:30 pm, and Dec. 9 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $25, $20, & $15.

The Lakeland Center will host numerous holiday performances including the Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s Swingin’ Holiday Pops concert on Dec. 11; Cirque du Noel on Dec. 12; and a 20th anniversary production of the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker on Dec. 27.

With so many wonderful holiday events and activities taking place all across Polk County, it’s not possible to list them all here. Please visit our Calendar of Events to see more listings.