The Tampa Bay area may never have a white Christmas, but what we do have is a massive holiday light maze filling up our indoor baseball field during the off-season.
Enchant, dubbed the world’s largest holiday-themed light event, returns the day after Thanksgiving at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg. Now in its third year in St. Pete, Enchant boasts more than 4 million lights around its 10-acre maze, ice skating trail, local vendor market and food hall.
There is also live entertainment, visits with Santa Claus and other family-friendly experiences. All of this surrounds a massive, 100-foot-tall lighted Christmas tree in the center of Tropicana Field.
“We can’t wait to come back to St. Pete where we’ve had such an overwhelmingly warm welcome before,” Enchant Christmas founder and CEO Kevin Johnston said in a release. “This year we return with even more lights and a whole new story and elements to our featured light maze to dazzle returning guests and introduce new friends and their families to the magic that is Enchant.”
New to this year’s event is a national sponsor, the Hallmark Channel. The television network known for its cheesy-cute holiday movies will feature at Enchant events with a “Hallmark Cozy Christmas” lounge, photo spots, a wine tasting and a chance for guests to win a visit to the set of a Hallmark movie in production.
As for the scavenger hunt-themed light maze, this year’s story is called "Santa’s Magic Timepiece." Guests are invited to help find all the broken pieces of Santa’s Timepiece so he can put it back together in time to deliver presents around the world in just one night.
Before you enter the maze, you’ll get a Passport to guide you to the missing pieces as well as dozens of different holiday light displays that help tell this new story. When you’ve completed the Passport, drop it off for a small treat and a chance to win the Hallmark Channel sweepstakes.
“There will still be the same look and feel to the overall event, but the maze light sculptures are all new! From the massive 100-foot tree in the center, to our cherry blossom forest, to the searchable timepiece items, all of our feature items on the field are different from last year,” an Enchant spokesperson said in an email to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “This year there will be more immersive and interactive elements than ever before, more colors, more movement, and more kinetic light sculptures.”
Returning favorites to the St. Pete event include the popular holiday light bulb cocktail cups. You can fill those sippers with the festive Holiday Spirit cocktail (for adults) or the non-alcoholic Merry Mocktail. Find these and other specialty food and drinks at the Tipsy Tree Tavern and the Merry Lodge, as well as pop-up locations within the maze.
Also back this year is the blackout curtain
—a 450,000-square-foot curtain that weighs over 39,000 pounds and blocks out the natural light coming in through the Tropicana Field roof.
Enchant said St. Pete is the only indoor venue for the event, and last year worked with the Rays to make the holiday light experience feel like a nighttime winter wonderland no matter what time of day it was.
This year, organizers said the blackout curtain will also feature 50-foot strands of colored lights that twinkle and dance in unison for even more of a show.
Enchant Christmas kicks off on Nov. 25 and runs through Jan. 1 at Tropicana Field.
Tickets start at $35 for adults and $20 for children. Ice skating is purchased separately for $18 per person. VIP passes and tours are also available.
Enchant also has Kids Free Wednesdays on Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14, which means one general admission child’s ticket with each paid adult ticket.
Tickets are time for a one hour arrival window, but once you’re inside, you can stay until closing time. Find more information about Enchant St. Petersburg and buy tickets at enchantchristmas.com