Florida Friday Vol. 1, Issue 13 | December 4th, 2015

Festive fun in the Sunshine State pt. 2

Following on from last week we continue the seasonal round-up from across the Sunshine State, where there is no shortage of festive merriment in store. From the historic and iconic Daytona Beach Oceanfront Bandshell to The Rocket Garden Holiday Light Show at Kennedy Space Center, the Naples Christmas Parade to Afternoon Tea with Santa in the Palm Beaches or the New Year Beach Ball Drop in Panama City Beach to the Circus Nutcracker in Sarasota, here are our final suggestions from the Sunshine State to get your clients in the holiday spirit.

Daytona Beach

The Stetson Mansion, Florida's first luxury home and the grandest home ever built in Florida during the 19th century, was built in 1886 by famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson as his winter retreat. Since then, owner JT Thomson and his partner have become famous for their Christmas Spectacular and this year's decorations will once again not disappoint.

On Saturdays and Sundays in December and through to January 2, 2016 the historic and iconic Daytona Beach Oceanfront Bandshell and Ocean Walk Shoppes will be the epicentre of this fun, family holiday festival that extends along the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. Festivities include a sand sculpture trail, choo-choo train rides on the Boardwalk Express down to Joyland Train Station and a Reindeer Scavenger Hunt.

Celebrate New Year on world-famous Main Street, Daytona Beach where you can enjoy multiple stages of free live entertainment, street performers, festival food and family-friendly attractions. Stay for the fireworks over the ocean and watch the ball drop at midnight.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex celebrates the holidays with a high-tech holiday celebration including; The Rocket Garden Holiday Light Show which is synched to holiday music and runs from November 25 - December 31. The space-themed Spirit of Exploration show is set against an authentic Saturn 1B rocket and runs from December 19-31. From December 19-31, the projection mapping show and light show will be shown simultaneously, creating a very special high-tech, holiday experience for guests and an added incentive to visit the weeks before and after the holidays. All holiday activities are included with Visitor Complex admission; no advance reservations are required. Shows begin at dusk each day.

Naples and the Paradise Coast

Escape the winter chill and the chaos of the holiday season and explore the wide, white sand beaches on Naples and Marco Island, enjoy water sports in turquoise Gulf waters or go for an airboat ride through the world-famous Everglades. Naples Christmas Parade takes place on December 8 and will see floats glittering red, white and green passing through the streets of Naples as Santa and his helpers help spread Christmas spirit during this annual family-fun event. Watch Naples Bay illuminate and get into the holiday spirit on December 12 as boats of all shapes and sizes float by with brilliant light displays during the return of the Naples Christmas Boat Parade.

Palm Beaches

There's fun for the whole family in Palm Beach starting on December 5 with the Palm Beach Boat Parade. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season as you watch the fireworks and lighted boat parade along the Intracoastal Waterway from North Palm Beach to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Afternoon Tea with Santa starts on December 11 at Waterstone Resort & Marina's Boca Landing where children can create memories with a unique mummy, daddy and me high tea.

Throughout the month of December, fun-seekers can visit Sandi Land on the West Palm Beach Waterfront and enjoy a spectacular holiday in paradise with tons of free entertainment and festivities. The star of the festivities is "Sandi," a holiday tree made from 600 tons of sand that comes to life nightly with dazzling musical light shows.

First Night is for fun, and Delray Beach will prove it once again by throwing the best family-friendly party in South Florida. From toddlers to teens, First Night 2016 offers fun and games for the whole family on New Year's Eve. A fireworks finale will be among the festivities, occurring at 9 p.m. and again at midnight.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach will be full of festive sights and sounds throughout December with highlights including:

The inaugural Panama City Beach Marathon takes place on December 5 and will be a great race for runners of all experience levels, featuring a flat course with wonderful beach views. Ring in the New Year with a family-friendly celebration at Pier Park with an 8 p.m. countdown for the kids, complete with fireworks and 10,000 inflatable beach balls dropped from nets stretched over the streets. There's more music and fun on the way to midnight as a giant beach ball is lowered while the crowd counts down to the New Year.


Florida's Gulf Coast will be bringing the spirit of the holidays to Sarasota with Matthew Hart's John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker which will enchant audiences at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Set to Tchaikovsky's beloved score by the Sarasota Orchestra, John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker entwines the history of John and Mable Ringling and Sarasota's connection to the circus with Hoffman's classical Nutcracker.

If boats fill you festive cheer then the 30th annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade will be held around Bayfront Park where viewers are welcomed to view the boats decorated for the holidays. Celebrate Christmas in Venice by decorating a boat for the annual Venice Christmas Boat Parade. All boats are welcome, and everyone is welcome to watch the parade.

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