Say bah-humbug to another stressful holiday. Make it fun, folks, and here's your start to finding out about events to get you into the spirit (or just take your mind off it all). Check here for continuously updated events happening throughout New Year's. Categories include Arts & Performances, Festivals & Special Events, Lights Attractions, Parades, Food & Drink, Films, Gift Shopping Events and New Year's Eve. Special thanks to Emma Simms, Mark Sugden, Danielle Carpenter for helping put this giant stocking of listings together!
Arts & Performances
Bones Detox from the holiday's sugar high with a deliciously dark crime caper set during the holiday season. Written by playwright Peter Straughan. The play stars (pictured left to right) Nathan Juliano, Slake Counts, Johnny Garde and Ryan Bernier. $15. Through Dec. 22. Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave., Ybor City. 813-300-3585.
A Christmas Carol freeFall’s holiday favorite returns, and local favorite and award-winner David Mann is playing Scrooge. Nov. 29-Dec. 4. $23-$41. 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. freefalltheatre.com.
A Christmas Story Join the St. Pete City Theatre as they present a theatrical reworking of the cinematic favorite during their 90th season. Jean Shepherd’s best moments are all here, from the Red Ryder BB gun to the iconic leg lamp. $22 adults, $10 students. Dec. 5-21, Friday and Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2 pm. St. Petersburg City Theatre, 4025 31st St. S., St. Petersburg. 727-866-1973. spcitytheatre.org.
The Family Blessing The producers of the Bay area theatrical legend The Chocolate Nutcracker unveil their newest dance theater production. Brought to us by Artz 4 Life Academy and Brighthouse Networks, the production showcases the talents of local community youth alongside professional choreographers and dancers. The performances weave together dance elements like ballet, Bollywood and hip-hop to offer an exotic tapestry of light, color and music. $17, $27, $37. Sat., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 21, 2 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. 727-893-7832. artz4lifeacademy.com.
93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball See big pop stars of today like Calvin Harris, Pharrell, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, MAGIC!, Rixton, Kiesza and Shawn Mendes along with a special guest appearance by Nick Jonas with more artists to be announced. The event will kick-off with the action-packed 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball “Pre-Show Free Show” on Ford Thunder Alley, which includes performances by Meghan Trainor, Rixton Shawn Mendes and Jake Miller. Mon., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. at the Amalie Arena. 933FLZ.com.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And then Some) A ragtag trio of merry traveling thespians has found themselves at the [email protected] for the holiday season. Christopher Futch, Alexander Whittenberg and Nathaniel Beaver return to tackle a medley of holiday tales. Written by John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton and James FitzGerald, this performance will have you giggling the whole way home. Tickets are $8 for students, seniors and military and $10 for adults. Dec. 23 is a special 'pay what you can' performance. $8, $10, 'Pay what you can'. Mon., Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Tues., Dec. 23, 7 p.m. The [email protected], 620 First Ave. S., St Petersburg. 727-895-6620. studio620.org.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker Celebrate the beloved Christmas tradition with the whole family as forty world-class Russian artists bring this charming classic to life. The New York Times raves "Knock-Out!" Experience Tchaikovsky's master score this Christmas with the magic of larger than-life-puppets, growing Christmas tree and life-sized Matrushka Dolls. Forty world-class Russian artists bring the charming classic to life on Dec. 27 at Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota, Dec. 28 at the Mahaffey Theater and Dec. 30 at the Lakeland Center.
New Granada 20th Anniversary Celebration Permanent Makeup, Atlantic Oceans and Pohgoh kick off the three-day party celebrating a favorite music label in Tampa Bay. The promoter has been hosting packed Christmas Night shows for two decades with former Tampa Bay residents gathering in a reunion of sorts. This year's event this year's should be extra special. Click here for a new song by blast from the past Pohgoh. Dec. 25-27, 8 p.m. New World Brewery, Ybor City. Click here for a schedule.
Radio Theatre Project Holiday Show On Dec. 29, a special holiday story night will be featured. Performances take place 7 p.m. (usually the final Monday of the month) at the [email protected], 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg. radiotheatreproject.org.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical A large-scale, spectacle-filled musical which faithfully recreates America’s beloved holiday special. Call for pricing. Wed., Dec. 24, 1-3 p.m. Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland. 863-834-8111. thelakelandcenter.com.
Santaland Diaries David Sedaris’ Crumpet is back, and Brian Shea is back to perform his signature holiday role. Revisit the unemployed and chemically dependent writer, who becomes a “helper elf” at Macy’s in NYC. Chronicling the corrupt marketing, stressed retail workers, drunk mall Santas and unnerving children, this play goes to show that Christmas isn’t as cheery as it’s advertised to be. Shea, a local favorite in Othello and August: Osage County, stars in this one man show. For mature audiences only. $19 general admission. Mon., Dec. 22, 8 p.m. American Stage Theatre Company, 163 Third St. N., St Petersburg. 727-823-PLAY (7529). americanstage.org.
Seasonal Sparkle Metropolitan Opera star Elizabeth Futral and baritone Galen Scott Bower headline the St. Petersburg Opera holiday spectacular with the special guest act Operatini. Performances of arias, pieces and songs will be sung in various languages with English supertitles and include Mahler, Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan Williams, “Ding Dong, Merrily on High” and other holiday music, and selections from La Boheme. Sun., Dec. 21, 2 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. 727-823-2040. stpeteopera.org.
Festivals & Special Events
Tampa’s Downtown on Ice Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park’s brings back a seasonal favorite with real ice skating on an outdoor rink in the park. Each 90-minute session includes skate rental. Nov. 22 -Jan. 4. 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa. tampa.gov.
A Victorian Christmas at the Crosley Enjoy an evening of festive holiday carols and tales amidst charmingly historic and scenic trappings. This family-friendly event takes places periodically from Dec. 9-21 at the Powel Crosley Estate located in Bradenton and includes performances of A Christmas Carol and more. Tickets are $15-$25 (plus handling fees) and are available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations. 8374 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. PowelCrosleyEstate.com.
UT Victorian Christmas Stroll Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday amidst the beautifully historic ambiance of the University of Tampa’s Henry B. Plant Museum. Each evening, visitors are invited to sing with the carolers in front of the 15-foot tree in the hallway. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $9 for kids youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16 when admissions are reduced to $11 adults, $10 seniors, and $7 for kids. Dec. 1-23rd, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. plantmuseum.com.
Busch Gardens' Christmas Town A wide swath of Busch Gardens will become a holiday wonderland of with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors. The family tradition is now included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. Nov. 28-Dec. 31. ChristmasTown.com.
Glice and Santa in the Park Come skate in the park and visit with Santa. The artificial ice rink is a fun way to get in the holiday spirit. Skate sessions are 30 minutes. Make sure to pay Santa a visit before he leaves at 9 p.m. to feed his reindeer. $5. Dec. 18-23, 6-9 p.m. 727-893-7441. stpeteparksrec.org.
Holiday Giving Tree The Haven of RCS and East Lake Library are sponsoring a Holiday Giving Tree program for children whose lives are disrupted by domestic violence during the holidays. The library will have a holiday tree adorned with brightly colored ornaments, each listing the needs of children in the Haven's shelter, transitional living and outreach programs. Beginning Dec. 1, patrons can choose one or more ornaments and purchase an appropriate gift for that particular child with the ornament attached to the item. Unwrapped gifts should be brought to library by Dec. 18 for distribution to the children. Gift cards and cash donations will also be accepted. Through Dec. 18. East Lake Library, 4125 E. Lake Road, Palm Harbor. 727-773-2665.
Ice! Worth the drive — Orlando's Gaylord Palms Resort presents 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures created by artists brought in from China and 40 tons of snow. They supply the parkas; gloves and warm socks are recommended. This year features a Nutcracker theme. 6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, $28.99-$29.99, $26.99-$28.99 seniors, $14.99-$16.99 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free. $18 parking fee (validated if dining at resort restaurant). 1-407-586-0000. marriott.com.
PASKO 2014 The Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. at Bayanihan Arts Center, on Sun., Dec. 21, invites you to share in a traditional Filipino Christmas.There will be non-stop entertainment by local Tampa Bay artists including numbers by the Philippine Choral Group, Philippine Performing Arts Company, Inc. and Musikong Kawayan Bamboo Ensemble as they present traditional and modern carols and dances. Partake of putobumbong, pancit, halo-halo, kakanin and other delicacies. $3. Noon-6 p.m. 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, Tampa. pcfitampa.org.
Wild Wonderland Lowry Park’s after-hours tradition returns. Meet Santa and his merry mammals and real reindeer while strolling through and riding holiday attractions. Dec. 6, 12-14, 18-23 and 26-30, 6:30-10 p.m. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa. lowryparkzoo.org.
It’s a Wonderful Life The Jimmy Stewart classic never gets old (or does it?) See an angel get his wings on the big screen. $8, $3. Sun., Dec. 21, 3 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St, Clearwater. 727-791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
Tampa Theatre Holiday Classics See your holiday favorites on the big screen in vintage splendor. Films include the audience pick, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, on Sun., Dec. 28, at 3 p.m. $10 for adults; $8 for children and Tampa Theatre members. 711 Franklin St., Tampa. 813-274-8286. tampatheatre.org.
Lights Displays & Attractions
Florida Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights If you’d like to find yourself in a truly pretty wonderland, head to the Florida Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights, where more than 750,000 lights, lasers, animated figures and entertainers will line the walkways. 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, Admission is $4 for adults; kids ages 12 and younger get in free. flbg.org.
Holiday Strolling Along the Waterfront Beginning Friday, stroll the St. Pete waterfront stretch while surrounded by thousands of flickering lights and holiday decorations. Don't miss the Giant Greeting Card display along Bayshore Drive at Vinoy Park made by local teens at St. Petersburg’s recreation centers. Free. Through Dec. 31. North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Drive S., St. Petersburg. 727-893-7441. stpeteparksrec.org.
Kresge Mega Light Display Colorful (and somewhat aged) Santaland displays, hundreds of thousands of lights, inflatables, games, bubble machines, a 70-foot tree, Christian messages and more at this South St. Pete favorite. You have to see it to believe it. 2719 Oakdale St. S, St. Petersburg. Nov. 28-Jan. 3. 727-896-6500.
Nights of Shimmering Lights Drive through interactive light displays and park your car to wander into a winter wonderland at a Christmas Village. Meet Santa, eat goodies, and participate is several holiday crafts. $20 per vehicle. Nov. 29-Dec. 30, 6-9 p.m. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 217 Sydney Washer Road, Dover. 813-737-3247. nightsofshimmeringlights.com.
7th Annual Symphony In Lights One of Tampa Bay’s most dazzling light shows shimmers to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and features a 55-foot decorated tree. The premiere on Sat., Nov. 15, starts at 5 p.m. and includes live music and fireworks after the initial tree lighting. Click here for a schedule.. Nov. 15-31 with shows nightly on the hour 6-9 p.m. Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. shopsatwiregrass.com.
Artpool Crafty Fest Holiday Shopping Market Another great option for shopping local for the holidays. The art, fashion and decor megastore offers food, drinks and tables of goodies to browse Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m First 50 people through the doors at 11 a.m. get gift bags filled with candles, candy, salon freebees, vendor coupons and free art. 2030 Central Ave., St Petersburg. artpoolrules.com.
Disco Dolls Happy Hours The Disco Dolls Studio will be open Thursday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m, serving wine, punch and snacks and playing festive tunes — "the disco ball will be spinning!" they say. See the shop/salon's new additions, including a new dress from The Disco Dolls Designs "uniform project" line and new finds from Vintage by Rita. Free gift wrapping available for purchases at the Studio. 408 N. Howard Ave., Tampa. thediscodolls.com.
Gifted — Dunedin Fine Art Center’s 28th Annual Holiday Show & Sale Features some mighty impressive artists — more than a 100! They include Nathan Beard, Bonnie Bowman, Coralette Damme, Denis Gaston, Tony Marsh, Daniel Mrgan, Melissa Miller Nece, Stacy Perry, Rose Marie Prins and more, of course. Decorated themed trees add to the festive mood. Continues through Dec. 31. Free admission. Hours are Mon.– Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 1-4 p.m. 1143 Michigan Ave., Dunedin. dfac.org.
Third Saturday Art Walk The Gulfport Art Walk features new artists at each event and includes several different sculpture and paint mediums, jewelry, photography, local authors, handmade greeting cards, upcycled items, handmade/designed clothing and accessories, body products and more. Live musicians will appear at several venues throughout the waterfront district, including Urban Gypsies, Henry Ashwood, and Jackie Rhodes to name a few. There is no admission fee for visitors and no parking meters! Sat., Dec. 20, 6-10 p.m. Facebook.com/GulfportArtWalk
Pod Gift Shop at Bloom Art Center Bloom's new Pod is the place to shop for uniquely cool local art and original handmade gifts. Celebrate the shop's opening with four holiday shopping events in December. Enjoy wine and cookies, and meet local artists while they reveal creative process through live demonstration of printmaking, painting, and other media. Expect to find new works by John Suarez, Sebastian Coolidge, Moy Loera, Derek Donnelly, Xina Scuderi, and many others. Come shop local with us for the holidays, and share the gift of art. Shop open 6-9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 6-9 p.m. on Friday and noon-6 p.m. on Saturday. Bloom Art Center & Oleson Gallery, 910 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. facebook.com/BloomUnderground.
St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts Head to South Straub Park on Sat.-Sun., Dec. 20-21, for a showcase of original art by local, regional and national artisans in painting, photography, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, mixed-media, woodworking — and more. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, free admission and parking. Free. Sat., Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. South Straub Park, 198 Bayshore Drive N.E., St. Petersburg. 941-487-8061.paragonartevents.com/stpete.
Local Buds: A Holiday Gift Making Market Cross off items on your list while enjoying brunch, brews, music and shuffleboard games. Also, create unique gifts and gifts baskets at an interactive booth. Sun., Dec. 21, noon-5 p.m. St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N., St Petersburg, stpeteshuffle.com.
New Year’s Eve
Aqua-Eve Talk about a splashy event. Ring in the New Year at the Florida Aquarium with live entertainment from Trae Pierce and the T-Stone Band and others, complimentary food, beer and wine, and a champagne toast — and one of the best views in Tampa Bay for a fireworks display over the channel at midnight. Must be 21 to attend. Florida Aquarium, Tampa. VIP only is 8 p.m.- 9 p.m.; main event: 9 p.m.- 1 a.m. Aqua-Eve & Fireworks Cruise Combo Ticket available too. $100-$185. Wed., Dec. 31. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. flaquarium.org.
Celebration of Janus Attend a party in honor of the Roman god of new beginnings, featuring acclaimed Latin, Exotica and Bossa guitarist Nate Najar and The Stolen Idols’ Drew Farmer sharing the stage. Hors D’oeuvres themed on the ancient feast of Janus, Midnight Champagne toast & drink specials, included. $25 at the door, $20 in advance. Wed., Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Mermaid Tavern, 6719 Nebraska Ave., Tampa. mermaidtaverntampa.com.
Cirque 2015 & Hard Rock After Party The Hard Rock will host a themed party with circus entertainment for those 21 and older. Premium tickets are $100 per person. In addition the West Coast Toast NYE After Party, also for those 21 and up, is scheduled at the Hard Rock Cafe from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wed., Dec. 31. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa. rocktampa.com.
Channelside Lights Up the Bay Gather at Channelside Bay Plaza to ring in 2015 with live music and DJs in the courtyard, dancing, a ball drop and fireworks at midnight. 11 p.m. Free admission. 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
2015 Apollo Beach NYE Fireworks Show It's the second year in the row that the sleepy East Hillsborough town claims to have the biggest budget for pyrotechnics in Florida to ring in the New Year. According to Vic Granowicz, president/owner of Circles at Lands End Marina, they have "blown last year's record apart" to raise $35,490. "Last year's Apollo Beach/South Shore NYE show actually beat out the City of Fort Myers for the state's largest NYE fireworks display," he said, adding that it was three times the size of the Channelside/Tampa NYE show at the port. This year's show will be choreographed to music and begin promptly at midnight on Jan. 1. The fireworks will be shot off of a construction barge floating in the center of Bal Harbor, right off Tampa Bay. Of course, the best view is from The best place to view the show is from Circles, which hosts a large-scale outdoor party from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. that is free to attend with a limited number of VIP tickets (60) that include food and champagne. Circles is at 1212 Apollo Beach Blvd., Apollo Beach. circleswaterfront.com.
FirstKids St. Pete's junior NYE festivities kick off at the First United Methodist Church with hat and mask making, the Second Time Arounders Musical Petting Zoo and Chihuly Noisemakers with the Morean Arts Center. St. Pete Makers will host an LED light making station and teach kids how to add a simple LED light to their NYE hats. There will be puppet shows from the St. Petersburg Library, Fire and Ice Shows and a Science Fun Station by Mad Science. It all caps off with a procession of Giant Sea Creature Puppets at 7:00 p.m. led by the Mount Zion Drumline and Color Guard, just in time for the Bubble Stomp and the First Fireworks at 8 p.m. Free admission. Wed., Dec. 31, 4-7 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 212 Third St. N., St. Petersburg.
First Night St. Pete The mission of this year’s First Night is to deepen our appreciation of the city’s great arts presence via multiple events counting down the New Year. New this year: Passages, a Literary Love Letter to St. Pete at St. Pete Shuffle 4-10 p.m.; plus fun for the family like bubble stomps, field soccer with The Rowdies’ defender Tamika Mkandawire and Pathfinder tree climbs. Dundu Dole and the Florida West Ballet perform. The popular Latin Dancing and Lessons at the Little Latin Quarter in front of the Museum of Fine Arts will again be featured, and New Year’s Resolutions can be made at the Resolution Bonfire and at the Resolution Fire Sculpture created by James Oleson. Much more — visit firstnightstpete.com.
Light It Up Clearwater Celebrate 2015 with fireworks over Clearwater Beach Dec. 31 at midnight. lightitupclearwater.com.
New Year’s Eve Luau and Block Party The Sail Pavilion at the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa’s only 360-degree waterfront bar, hosts a celebration that offers family-friendly games and activities for kids along the RiverWalk. A variety of food trucks, including Hott Mess, Dochos, I Wanna Wok, Renny’s Oki Doki, Cajun in a Truck, Dude & His Food, Lizzie Cakes and Jimmy’s Slider Truck will be onsite. Lasting until 2 a.m., the party will also feature live entertainment and drink specials throughout the evening, including a wide variety of seasonal brews at the Beer Garden. Pets can even ring in the New Year too at this pet-friendly establishment. Free admission. Wed., Dec. 31. Sail Pavilion, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa. 813-274-7778. tampaconventioncenter.com.
New Year’s Masquerade Party Ring in the New Year with big brass bells immediately after Straz’s performance of The Phantom of the Opera. The party features Late Night Brass, complimentary champagne toast at midnight, complimentary hand-passed appetizers, complimentary coffee/dessert bar. Cash bar also available. Regularly priced tickets are $75. Wed., Dec. 31, 10 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. 813-229-7827. strazcenter.org.
Outback Bowl and New Year's Eve Band Blast The Ybor holiday season comes to a close with a festive college foot-bowl tradition featuring the Outback Bowl New Year's Eve Parade and a pep rally presented by Tampa General Hospital. The parade along Seventh Avenue will feature floats and about fifteen marching bands including the two college bands. The Pep Rally features a battle of the bands and cheerleaders from both universities. Tampa General Hospital, Bud Light, 970 WFLA, 93.3FLZ Radio, 620 WDAE and the City of Tampa sponsor this free, family event. Arrive early to get a good spot. 5:30 p.m. Free. Wed., Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m. 813-874-2695. outbackbowl.com.
Salute To Vienna New Year’s Eve Concert The Strauss Symphony of America, Austrian conductor Matthias Fletzberger, soprano Lara Ciekiewicz, tenor Brian Cheney and dancers from Europaballet in St. Polten, Austria, and International Champion Ballroom Dancers all converge to help you party like it’s 1899. $75, $50 and $35. Wed., Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. rutheckerdhall.com.
Swingin’ the New Year Gussy up in your vintage duds to dance with music by Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88’s Band. Event include a countdown to midnight and balloon drop, party favors, noisemakers, chocolates, prize giveaways, cash bar and festive decor — and a vintage fashion photo shoot and contest. $30. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. stpete.org/coliseum.
Tampa Bay Club Sport’s New Year's Eve Party Ring in the new year with all-inclusive drinks, food and entertainment. A ticket gets you in the party, drinks and food and plenty of party favors. Celebrate 2015 in style with the Tampa Bay Club Sport at Clearwater’s Yard of Ale. Buy tickets online here. $90-$110. Wed., Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Yard of Ale Gastro Pub, 2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. 877-820-2582. tampabayclubsport.wix.com/newyearseve.
Time Lord Ball Celebrate with fellow Whovians and sci-fi fans on New Year’s Eve. Tampa Bay Time Lord of Time Lords, Ken Spivey hosts a shindig featuring the Time Lord Rock Band, fan panels on Series Eight and the Christmas Episode. Plus trivia, free goodies, a Timey Wimey 1950s and ‘60s sock hop band. Sponsored by Creative Loafing. Tickets at eventbrite.com. $29.95 General Admission ($24.95 in Advance); $25.95 Student/Military Admission ($21.95 in Advance). Wed., Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. CL Space, 1911 N 13th St Suite W200, Tampa. facebook.com/CLSpaceYbor.