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vagazette.com

Florida travel calendar for December

Compiled by Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel

12:02 PM EST, December 9, 2013

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Check out festivals and events in December across the state.

Featured destination: Key West

Nov. 27 - Dec. 31: Key West 'Bright' Before Christmans. Key West. Live holiday music, games for the kids, free cookies and eggnog, holiday cheer and a chance for photos with Santa highlight this event. Created as a gift to the community, the gala is produced by the Key West Bight Preservation Association and tenants of the Key West Bight. 305-304-2633. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 8, 15: Historic Lighted Inn Tours. Key West. Discover the history and holiday spirit of Key West by touring beautifully decorated historic inns. The tours include creative offerings by local chefs, artists, writers and performers. 305-295-1334. keywestinns.com

Dec. 13: Pet Pictures With Santa. Key West. Pets and kids get a holiday photo with Santa to help support the Boys & Girls Club of Key West. Look for Santa at the Christmas tree at the foot of William Street on the Harbor Walk of Lights. 5:30-8 p.m. $10. keywestchristmas.org.

Dec. 14: Schooner Wharf Bar 23rd Annual Lighted Boat Parade. Key West. Lighted and decorated vessels from rowboats to tall ships proceed around Key West's Historic Seaport and harbor areas. Parade is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Holiday revelers can watch and applaud from bars, restaurants and resorts in and around the Historic Seaport. Call 305-292-3302. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 15: Holiday Classic Car Show. Key West. Classic cars will be on the plaza at Margaret Street near the decorated Lobster Trap Tree on the Harbor Walk of Lights. Businesses will be open around the show for shopping, food and beverages. noon-5 p.m. Free. keywestchristmas.org.

Dec. 15: Southernmost Christmas Tree Celebration. Key West. Holiday revelers enjoy free conch chowder and then board Conch Tour Trains to proceed to the continental United States' Southernmost Point to set up the southernmost Christmas tree at sunset overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The event is an annual community thank-you party presented by the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens. 3 p.m. 1401 Seminary St. Call 305-294-9526. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 15: Christmas on the Sheriff's Animal Farm. Key West.
Kids and adults can visit the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Animal Farm and get a photo taken with Santa. The farm is situated at the county's detention center just outside Key West at 5501 College Road. This event is free and open to the public. 1-3 p.m. Call 305-293-7300. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 21: Violins in Motion Holiday Concert. Key West. A musical performance on the plaza at Green and Elizabeth Streets under the decorated Lobster Trap Tree on the Harbor Walk of Lights. 6-8 p.m. Free. keywestchristmas.org.

Dec. 27–28: 54th Annual Key West House & Garden Tours. Key West. Presented by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, the annual self-guided tours showcase festively dressed Key West homes and gardens. December tours are from 4-7 p.m., both evenings. Tickets are $30 and proceeds benefit the Old Island Restoration Foundation's museums, collection and education, grant and scholarship programs. Call 305-294-9501. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 31: Key West Dachshund Walk. Key West.
About 200 dachshunds and their owners take a New Year's Eve stroll through the island's downtown. The annual Key West Dachshund Walk, set for noon Monday, Dec. 31, provides an informal, family-friendly prelude to nighttime New Year's Eve revelry. Spectators can watch the fun and meet the canine participants on Fleming Street between Whitehead and Duval streets.
email: keywestdachshundwalk@gmail.com. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Drop Celebrations. Key West. The Southernmost City celebrates with a conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe's Bar; a descending 6-foot red high heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex; and a pirate wench descending from a tall ship mast in the island city's Historic Seaport. Call 293-9600. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

This list is organized by region.

Central Florida (including Orlando, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Sanford, the Space Coast, Lakeland/Polk and Lake County)

Through Dec. 30: Holidays Around the World, Lake Buena Vista. This Epcot tradition features storytellers, a daily character tree-lighting ceremony and a stunning display of snow-white lights. The moving Candlelight Processional, a favorite of all ages, includes celebrity guest narrators, accompanied by a massed choir and orchestra for a retelling of the Christmas story. 407-824-4321. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/

Through Dec. 31: Space Coast Light Fest. Melbourne. Established by the Eau Gallie Rotary Club the Space Coast Lightfest is a holiday themed drive-through event held at Wickham Park. It is a family oriented celebration featuring shimmering lights and dazzling animated displays drawing over 15,000 vehicles annually. 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne FL 32935. 321-433-4470. www.spacecoastlightfest.com

Through Dec. 31: Now Snowing Nightly, Celebration. Celebration Town Center hosts nightly snow falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., along with photos with Santa, strolling holiday carolers, an ice rink, horse-drawn carriages and special events such as the Radio Disney concert Dec. 8. Free admission, ice skating is $10 for 30-minute skate increments with skate rental included, with resident skate passes or multiple-day skate passes available. 407-566-4007. celebrationtowncenter.com

Through Jan. 1: ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando. With over two million twinkling lights and a 54 foot tall Christmas tree, ICE! is back featuring Frosty the Snowman and his friends on their quest to the North Pole. There will be four ICE! slides and new this year -- a live ice sculpture carving station. ICE! opens at 10 a.m. daily. Closing times vary, but it's always open until at least 8:30 p.m.. Tickets range between $13.99 and $29.99. Gaylord Palms, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee. 407-586-2000 ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com

Through Jan. 5: Leu's Holiday House, Orlando. The Leu House Museum's 11-room estate will be adorned with Christmas trees, holiday dioramas and festive decorations throughout the home. 30-minute tours. 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Adults $7. Children 5-17 $2. 4 and under free. 407-246-2620. www.leugardens.org

Through Jan. 5: Light Up UCF! Orlando. Check out UCF's holiday event offering 50 nights of music, lights and ice, where you can skate at an outdoor ice rink outside of the UCF arena, along with carnival rides and special holiday events. Prices vary. lightupucf.com.

Nov. 11 - Dec. 31: Space Coast Lightfest. Melbourne. The Space Coast Lightfest is a holiday tradition on Florida's Space Coast.  Located in Wickham Park, this drive-through light display features more than a million shimmering lights, transforming the 1.1 mile long park into a winter wonderland filled. Horse rides through the lights, car shows and car club nights. 2785 Leisure Way, Melbourne FL 32935. Free. 407-703-0268. $10 per car. $5 per person or $20 per family for hayride. Children under 2 free. Stroll through the lights - Dec. 14. www.spacecoastlightfest.com

Nov. 29 - Dec. 1: Festivals of Speed. Orlando. A luxury car event based at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes with VIP dinners. Luxury Lifestyle Jet Port Reception on Friday, Nov. 29 from 8p.m. to 11p.m. Wine Connoisseurs’ Dinner and Saturday Nov. 30 from 7-10p.m. — Limited Seating. Motorsports Collection & luxury lifestyle display on Sunday, Dec. 1 from 10:00am-4:00pm. Vehicles are placed for display on the perfectly manicured grounds of this magnificent property. Attendees will enjoy on site cafes serving the finest culinary offerings, VIP Cafes, smooth jazz in the gardens, wine tastings, cigar smokes, luxury lifestyle displays, Fashion shows and more. Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL, 32837. 305-814-2367. www.festivalsofspeed.com

Dec. 5: Christmas in the Park. Winter Park. The Morse Museum helps launch the holiday season in Winter Park when it lights up Tiffany windows in Central Park and presents the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble in concert. This December is the 35th annual celebration of Christmas in the Park. This free event is at Central Park from 6:15-8p.m. www.morsemuseum.org

Dec. 5: 2013 Holiday Tour of Homes, Ormond Beach. Once a year some of the most prestigious homes in Ormond Beach open their doors to allow the public to view them from the inside and out. Tours begin at the Historic Anderson-Price Memorial Building 42 North Beach St. Ormond Beach. Admission is $25, $22 for OBHS members. 386-677-7005.www.ormondhistory.org

Dec. 6: Harmony Winter Festival. Harmony. Annual event features 15 tons of snow for some ample snow slides, crafts, ice cream eating competition, gingerbread house competition, ice frozen T-shirt competition, candy cane hunt, food and more. There's breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m., and the carnival runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. eventsatharmony.com

Dec. 6: Holiday Lights Orlando. Orlando. With tree lighting and live music. 4-10 p.m. Free. Lake Eola Amphitheater, 101 N. Rosalind Ave., Orlando, FL, 32801. 407-246-2121. www.cityoforlando.net/holiday

Dec. 6: Christmas in the Square. Sanford. The City of Sanford celebration will include live entertainment, a visit with Santa, tree lighting ceremony, face painting and balloon artists. 6-8 p.m. Free. Magnolia Square, 200 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford, FL, 32771. 407-688-5120.

Dec. 6-7: Sanford Historic Trust Tour of Homes. Sanford. Now in its 25th year, the holiday home tour has become a tradition in Sanford. The Candlelight Tour is a walking tour where guests stroll through historic homes, enjoy live music and sample appetizers from local restaurants. Dec. 6 from 6-9:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of. Tour begins at 16th Street and Elm Ave. /Parking is at 18th Street and Elm Ave. The Day Tour of homes is a walking/driving tour including gardens, galleries, businesses and churches. Light refreshments are provided. Dec. 7 noon to 5 p.m. Tour begins at UCF Public History Center (301 West 7th Street). Tickets are $15. 407-324-6618. sanfordhistorictrust.org

Dec. 6: Downtown DeLand Merchant Holiday Open House. DeLand. Downtown DeLand restaurants and shops will offer holiday discounts and discounts. Santa will be available for pictures in Pioneer Park. 6-9p.m. mainstreetdeland.org

Dec. 6: Light Up Flagler. New Smyrna Beach. From 5:30-7:30 p.m. 25th annual lighting up festivity of Flagler Avenue and Holiday Open House. Street closures. nsbfla.com

Dec. 6: Jazz Friday at Fossaner Museum of Art. Melbourne. On the first Friday of every month month the Fossaner Museum of Art hosts Jazz Friday in their galleries. Expect great music from local favorites. Hafer House Jazz for the month of December. Free. Wine and beer available for purchase. 1463 Highland Avenue, Melbourne FL 32901. 321-433-4470. foosanerartmuseum.org

Dec. 6-8: Norwood's Holiday Food and Wine Festival. New Smyrna Beach. From 7-9:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, the New Winery Evening. $60 Advance. $70 Day of the event. From 1-4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.: The main event, our Grand Tasting -- Grab your commemorative wine glass & enjoy over 400 wines from around the world. Plus great food and deserts and Jazz entertainment. $60 Advance. 70 after Dec. 5. $65 Day of the event. From 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8: Our Jazz Brunch -- Enjoy all you can eat brunch, plus all you can drink Bloody Mary Bar, Mimosa's and Red or White Sangria, plus jazz entertainment. $25 Advance. $30 Day of the event. http://www.norwoods.com/festival.html

Dec. 7: Jaycee's Christmas Parade. DeLand. 65th annual Christmas parade. 2p.m. The parade runs South on Woodland Blvd to Hubbard Ave. delandchristmasparade.org

Dec. 7: 61st annual Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. Winter Park. The longest running parade in Central Florida. Free parade through downtown Winter Park along Park Avenue at 9a.m. Before and during the parade, Leadership Winter Park will host their annual Pancake Breakfast at the Central Park stage from 7:00-10:30 a.m.  Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children. Proceeds benefit Winter Park area elementary schools. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org

Dec. 7: Holiday Tree Lighting. Oviedo. Experience the Holiday Tree Lighting at the Lawton House in Oviedo. There will be free refreshments, local music performers, and a visit from Santa. Sponsored by the Oviedo Historical Society. 5:30-8 p.m. Free. Lawton House, 200 W. Broadway St., Oviedo, FL, 32765. 407-971-5612. www.oviedohs.com/

Dec. 7: Orlando Pottery Festival. Orlando. With live music and vendors. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. At The Loch Haven Neighborhood Center, 610 N. Lake Formosa Drive, Orlando, FL, 32803. 407-898-9288. www.orlandopotteryfestival.org

Dec. 7: 23rd Annual Lighted Boat Tour. Mount Dora. This annual parade is sure be enjoyed by all ages as colorful lighted boats glide over Lake Dora. If you are interested in participating in the parade, contact The Mount Dora Boating Center at 352-383-3150. Come join in the fun and Merry Christmas from the Lions Club of Mount Dora, The Rusty Anchor and The Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina. 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Free. Downtown Mount Dora. 352-383-3150. ci.mount-dora.fl.us/

Dec. 7: 54th Annual Christmas Parade. Mount Dora. See a beautiful traditional holiday parade. 10 a.m. in downtown Mount Dora. Free. 352-735-9629. www.cityofmountdora.com

Dec. 7: First Saturday Jam, Barberville. The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts will have its First Saturday Music Jam from 9am to 4pm. The event features music workshops on a variety of instruments. The music workshops are free, but there is an admission price for the Pioneer Settlement. $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-12 years old. There will be food available for purchase. The Pioneer Settlement is located just West of the intersection of US HWY 40 and SR 17. On the first Saturday each month visit, the Pioneer Settlement for entertainment and fun for the entire family. 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Includes informal music jams, free workshops, a chili cook-off and yard sale. 386-749-2959. www.pioneersettlement.org

Dec. 7-8: 'Where are You Christmas' by Just Us Orlando Productions. Mount Dora. Dec. 7 at 7p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3p.m. Join us in the Mount Dora Community Building for a fabulous celebration of Christmas. Tickets available NOW for only $19 incl. tax. For more information please contact Chris Carson at 352-735-7183.

Dec. 7: New Smyrna Beach Christmas parade. New Smyrna Beach. The Christmas Parade Land gets under way at 4 p.m. with floats and more floats, traditional marching bands, dance teams and, of course, Santa! Later that afternoon, the Christmas Parade Sea along the Intracoastal Waterway features dazzling boats decked in holiday lights, each vying for a prize. On Flagler Avenue. nsbfla.com

Dec. 7: Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert. Lake Wales. Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon as they perform together during one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Families and friends are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and experience a magical evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain. 6-8p.m. $20 per person. $8 per child ages 5-12. Children under 5 free. Day of: $25 per person. $10 per child ages 5-12. Bok Tower Gardens 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales FL 33853. 863-676-1408. For details, visit www.boktowergardens.org.www.boktowergardens.org.

Dec. 7: Port Orange Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting. Port Orange. A community choir leads the crowd in traditional carols and City Center twinkles with festive lights. Amphitheater 6:30p.m.386-506-5936. daytonabeach.com

Dec. 7-14: Pop Warner Super Bowl. Orlando. Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. brings its Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships to Walt Disney World Resort. More than 60 teams from across the country compete in four age groups from 8 to 14 on the fields of the 220-acre Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Spectator admission is required for all events. Length-of-Event passes (LOE) allow for admission to all days of the event. Daily admission is $16 for 10 and older, $11 ages 3-9. LOE admission is $48 for 10 and older and $33 ages 3-9. 2 and under are free. 407-824-4321. www.popwarner.com

Dec. 7-Jan. 4: Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios. Orlando. The world's most famous parade has become a holiday experience for park guests at Universal Studios, featuring some of the most popular balloons and floats from the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The excitement and pageantry of the parade, complete with a festive tree lighting ceremony by Santa Claus himself, is exhibited each day of the holiday season through the New Year. Included in regular park admission. 407-363-8000. www.universalorlando.com

Dec. 7-Jan. 4: Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Orlando. This annual holiday celebration is based on the beloved Dr. Seuss tale and Universal Pictures' and Imagine Entertainment's Academy Award-winning blockbuster hit, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure is transformed into a bah-humbug haven by the Grinch. The entire Seussian-themed island is colorfully decorated for the season and guests are invited to meet the Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic movie props and gadgets. Grinch fans enjoy a live, musical stage show that re-tells the world-famous story of the grumpy Grinch. Included in regular park admission. 407-363-8000. www.universalorlando.com

Dec 8: Santa PAWS. Mount Dora. 11a.m. to 2p.m. Elizabeth Evans Park at the Mount Dora Village Market. Discover our Pet Friendly Town & WIN fabulous prizes and help local pet charities!

Dec. 8: Winter Park Boat Parade & Water Ski Show. Winter Park. Watch the Winter Park Boat Parade & Water Ski Show at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Free. Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. In conjunction with the Rotary club of Winter Park, the Polasek hosts its 10th annual Winter Park Boat Parade viewed from the lush Museum grounds on the shore of Lake Osceola. Activities start at 5p.m. and parade at sundown. 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park, FL, 32789. 407-647-6294. www.polasek.org/events-calendar

Dec. 8: Home for the Holidays Nighttime Parade. Ormond Beach. Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at Division Ave. and US 1, goes north to Granada Blvd., turns east on Granada Blvd. to Beach Street, turns south on Beach Street ending in front of City Hall at the review area. 386-676-3241. daytonabeach.com

Dec. 14: Christmas in the Park with Snow. Mount Dora. 5p.m. to 9p.m. Snow, Sledding, Santa, Food, Games & Fun! Donnelly Park.

Dec. 14: Snow Fest. Maitland. RDV Sportsplex Ice Den is throwing their 9th annual Snow Fest from 2-6 p.m. with ice skating, bounce houses, live DJs, face painting, more than 20 tons of snow for a play area and kid's snow slide and more. Cost is $15 for children ages 3-17 and $9 for adults. 407-916-2550. rdvsportsplex.com

Dec. 14: Christmas in the Park with Snow. Mount Dora. Snow, Sledding, Santa, Food, Games & Fun! At Donnelly Park from 5-9 p.m. 352-735-7183. www.mountdorachristmas.com

Dec. 14: Parade of Lights. Sanford.  Illuminated floats light up Sanford's First Street at this annual event. Marching bands, civic groups and businesses take part in this holiday tradition. Santa will make an appearance. 6p.m. free. 407-688-5120.

Dec. 14-15: Winter Wonderland. Daytona Beach. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.  10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.  Volusia County Fair Expo, 3150 E New York Ave. Deland. Bethlehem Village, Candy Cane Lane, Cookie Decorating, Santa and His Workshop, Ugly Sweater Contest, Artists & Crafters, Christmas Tree Lane, Craft Make-n-Take, Petting Zoo, Coloring Contest, Over 1,000 Luminaries, Strolling Carolers, Twinkling Holiday Lights and Displays. daytonabeach.com

Dec. 14-15: Wine & Chocolate Festival. Clermont. 10a.m.-5:00p.m. Wine and Chocolate is the theme for this very special event at this seasonal time of year. Local Artists and Crafters are invited to display their work. Enjoy live music by incredible bands on outdoor stage throughout the entire weekend. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food will be available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting. 1-800-768-WINE www.lakeridgewinery.com

Dec. 17: Climb to the Moon. Ponce Inlet. Climb to the Moon at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse offers views of the sunset and moonrise from atop the lighthouse on Dec. 28. The lighthouse keeper relates the story of this National Historic Landmark. Sparkling cider and hors d'oeuvres are provided by Inlet Harbor Restaurant. The lighthouse is at 4931 South Peninsula Drive. 4:30-6:30p.m. Participation is limited to 25 people and tickets must be purchased in advance by calling Mary at 386-761-1821 ext. 10. ponceinlet.org

Dec. 18-21: Candlelight Tours of Lilian Place. Daytona Beach. Wassail punch and cookies served. Admission price is $5. 5-8 p.m. Lilian Place, 111 Silver Beach Blvd., Daytona Beach. 386-299-4974. www.heritagepreservationtrust.org

Dec. 19-23: The Nutcracker. Orlando. The Orlando Ballet rings in the holiday season with visions of sugarplum fairies, the Snow King and more during its annual presentation of The Nutcracker on Dec. 19-23. Hosted at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, The Nutcracker is a favorite among ballet patrons and newcomers alike. The performance is kept true with classical elements and an infusion of Artistic Director Robert Hill's mix of choreography. Tickets start at $30. For information, visit www.orlandoballet.org. www.orlandoballet.org.

Dec. 20: Caroling Night Downtown. DeLand. For family, friends or choir groups who would like to carol along Woodland Boulevard in historic downtown DeLand. Snowfall on West Indiana Avenue. 6-8p.m. mainstreetdeland.org

Dec. 21: Santa Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Classic Car Show. DeLand. Every 3rd Saturday of the Month (Except November). East Indiana Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Classic cars & rods line East Indiana Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining with Santa Claus. 3-7 p.m. Free. 386-624-5027. www.MainStreetDeLand.org

Dec. 28: Art Walk on Flagler. New Smyrna Beach. Held on the fourth Saturday each month, Flagler Avenue livens up with entertainment and wine tastings at participating venues. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (wine walk 1-7 p.m.). Free ($25 for wine walk or $20 with previous month's glass). Flagler Avenue, 100 Flagler Ave., New Smyrna Beach, FL, 32169. 386-428-1770. www.flaglergallerygroup.com

Dec. 28: Russell Athletic Bowl. Orlando. The bowl features teams from the ACC and Big Ten conferences, and has existed as the Champs Sports Bowl through 2011 and has been taking place for more than 15 years. It is played in the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. Game starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at $126 and include pregame hospitality.Russell Athletic Bowl hospitality can include lounge seating, open bars, upscale food and live entertainment. 407-423-2476. www.primesport.com

Dec. 28: Fourth Fridays Art Walk. Sanford. A juried art show with exhibits in the Historic Sanford Welcome Center with a walking tour of the art venues and live music. 6-9 p.m. Downtown Sanford, 230 East First Street, Sanford, FL, 32771. Free. The theme for December is "Animals." 407-323-2774. www.sanfordwelcomecenter.com

Dec. 28: 4th Fridays in Artisan Alley & DeLand Art Walk. DeLand. Gather with friends every fourth Friday of the month at Artisan Alley and also enjoy the DeLand Art Walk. DeLand Art Walk is a free, self-guided tour of the Historic Downtown area. Enjoy music, food, drinks, arts, crafts and more. Art galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques host artists within their businesses on the fourth Friday of every month, rain or shine. Look for an official Art Walk banner in the front of each stop to identify the participating venues. Choose your own route, or begin from Museum of Florida Art. Downtown, 100 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand FL 32720. 6-9 p.m. 386-738-0649. delandartwalk.com

Dec. 29: Orlando Citrus Parade. Orlando. The Citrus Parade, held at 10a.m. in downtown Orlando, features signature citrus floats made from more than 100,000 grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. The entries include marching bands from across the country. The parade attracts more than 60,000 spectators and an international audience of millions through its television syndication in 150 markets in the United States and Canada. Admission is free. 407-423-2476. www.floridacitrusparade.com

Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Celebration. New Smyrna Beach. There will be a New Year's Eve Party from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Flagler Avenue. Fireworks will be at 9 at the corner of Cooper Street and Flagler Avenue. www.partyonflagler.com

Tampa Bay-Sarasota (including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Tarpon Springs and Homosassa)

Dec. 14: Brooksville Christmas Parade. Brooksville. Saturday, 10a.m. www.ci.brooksville.fl.us

Dec. 7: Santa Fest 2013. Tampa. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 11a.m.-4p.m. Free photos with Santa Claus, continuous holiday entertainment, make-n-take holiday crafts, hands-on games, and Christmas Market. Ice skating is $5 per person. The Rough Rider's Holiday Parade will begin at 11a.m. The parade will begin at Morgan Street and Madison Street travel west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turn north and end at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. Best viewing is along Madison Street. www.tampagov.net

Dec. 7: 4th Annual Moving Towards a Cure 5K. Tampa. The Tampa Bay community will once again come together to support a cure for cancer. Moving Towards a Cure® Tampa will have participants running along part of our paved 2.2 mile loop drive in the middle of the park. In addition to the running event a Survivor Walk will take participants approximately 1 mile on our Rapids Trail. Fees include $25 for the 5K and/or Survivor Walk until Oct. 30. $30 for the 5K and/or the Survivor Walk until the event day. www.floridastateparks.org

Dec. 20-21: Winter Waterland. Weeki Wachee State Park.  Winter Waterland. Weeki Wachee State Park. From 6-10 p.m., a special holiday themed mermaid show performed at the Riverside Theater by the Wildlife Department with other activities including Santa Claus, kids games and activities, lots of holiday lights and music. $6 for adults, $4 for children. 5 and under free. 352-592-5656. www.floridastateparks.org/weekiwachee/events.cfm

Dec. 13-14: Candlelight Tours of Fort Foster, Tampa. Guests follow a lantern-lit trail through the military Fort, where they encounter living history scenarios. Traveling musicians far from home play folk music to liven up the evening and guests enjoy warm cider & cookies from the ladies from Ft. Brooke/Tampa. Seminole Natives gather across the bridge on the Hillsborough River where they will lead you down a lantern-lit trail to visit a native encampment where you will hear stories of native life in early Florida. A battle reenactments will happen on Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14 after 8p.m. Public admission is a $5 donation to Hillsborough River State Park Preservation Society per person, people ages 5 and under are free. 813-987-6870 www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver/Events.cfm

Dec. 14: Hillsborough River Half & Quarter Marathon. Hillsborough River State Park. Hillsborough River State Park. Hillsborough River State Park 15402 U.S. 301 North Thonotosassa, FL 33592. Registration closes Saturday, Nov. 30. Half Marathon - $50. Quarter Marathon - $35. 727-422-1956. beta.active.com

Dec. 6: Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony. Tampa. Attend Tampa's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 6 in beautiful Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the dynamic sounds of the Late Night Brass. Magic 94.9 Morning Show hosts Chadd & Kristi will be on hand for the Secret Santa Giveaway. Admission is free, but guests are asked to bring a teddy bear that will be donated to children at local hospitals. www.artstampabay.com

Dec. 6-7: Tampa's Christmas Market. Tampa. Start your holiday shopping at Tampa's outdoor Christmas Market. Tampa's Christmas Market is held in conjunction with Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony and Santa Fest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Dec. 6, 5-9 p.m. and Dec. 7 12-4p.m. 813-274-7723. www.artstampabay.com

Dec. 7, Dec. 13-15, 26-30: Wild Wonderland at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Tampa. 6-10p.m. It's going to be brrrr-illiant!  Meet Santa and his merry mammals – REAL REINDEER, only at the Zoo. More merriment awaits with charming animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats. Don't miss this Tampa tradition, a whimsical world of holiday magic at the Zoo. Tickets on sale soon. 813-935-8552. lowryparkzoo.com

Dec. 14-15: The Nutcracker. Sarasota. Vohn Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker is a gift to the City and State. Sarasota’s Own Nutcracker has become a holiday favorite. As the Sarasota Orchestra plays Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score, join Clara’s dream as she runs away to Sarasota with the circus. John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker is a true magical family experience. For ticket information, call 941-359-0099 ext. 101 Friday, Dec. 20 at 8p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2p.m. and 8p.m. sarasotaballet.org

Dec. 16-24: Sarasota Snow Fest. Sarasota. One of the few places in Florida to play in the snow, and this one has a nice 10-day run. It offers 100 tons of snow for open play areas and four giant snow slides, reindeer (really pony) rides, bounce houses, visits with Santa and ice-skating rink, caroling, food and drink vendors and entertainment. 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free with $5 donation for parking. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34237. 941-365-0818. snowfestsarasota.com


Dec. 8: Winter Arts Festival. Tampa. Here's an opportunity to enjoy local arts if your travels take you to Tampa this week, and also put a dent on your holiday shopping list at the same time. Arts and crafts from artists and crafters in the Tampa area are showcased during the 8th Annual Winter Arts Festival on Dec. 8. Held indoors and outdoors at the Congregation Beth Am, the festival features handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, food and more. More than 80 local crafters and artists present eco-friendly items, baked goods and designer products. Admission to the event and parking are free. Each vendor will donate raffle prizes (raffle tickets are available for $1 each in the raffle tent). Event hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Congregation Beth Am is at 2030 West Fletcher Avenue. For information, visit www.WinterArtsFestivalTampa.com.

Dec. 19-24, 26: Christmas Celebration of Lights. Homosassa. Enjoy Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park decked out for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights and Christmas decorations. Come and enjoy Sebastian's Winter Wonderland, a spectacular synchronized light and sound show. A variety of entertainment is scheduled and refreshments will be available. Requested donation of $3 adults, $1 children. 352-628-5343. www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/Events.cfm

Southwest Florida (including Naples, Fort Myers, Venice, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda)

Dec. 1: Snowfest. Naples. More than 70 tons of snow is the star of this annual community event in southwest Florida. There will be snow mountains to climb, tobaggan and snow skiing hills as well as ice skating rink, full-scale carnival, arts and crafts, petting zoo, pony rides and more. More than 15,000 came to Snowfest in 2011. Snow is cold, so remember to bring gloves or mittens, even if it's 80 degrees out. Cost is $2 per person. 3 and under are free. The festival is at Golden Gate Community Park. 3300 Santa Barbara Blvd. Naples, Fl 34116. 239.252.4000. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. snowfestnaples.com

Through Dec. 31: Festival of Lights at Fishermen's Village, Punta Gorda. Festival of Lights at Fishermen's Village, Punta Gorda. Lighting of the Village kicks off on Nov. 17. View over one million lights and themed decorations through the Village daily through Dec. 31st. Music, food and vists with Santa. 941-639-8721. www.fishville.com

Dec. 6-8: Sarasota Craft Show. Sarasota. Features highly regarded artists from across the nation, plus entertainment and demonstrations by artists. At Sarasota Bradenton International Convention Center. Admission $9 one day, or $12 come-and-go weekend pass; seniors $8; students $5; children under 10 free. 800-355-9161, 941-355-9161. www.sarasotacraftshow.com

Dec. 1-Dec. 31: Holiday Nights at Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers. This annual event showcases the lights and seasonal decorations that fill 20 acres of gardens, the recently restored Edison buildings, and the historic homes on both Estates. This year includes fabulous new lighting systems, Riverside Lights Cafe open nightly offering beverages and light foods for purchase overlooking the beautifully riverside property, beer and wine on the terrace of the Ford Cottage. During Holidays at the Estates the homes will be open nightly from 5:30 to 9 p.m. $15 for adults 13 and over. $1 for kids 6-12. 5 and under free. 239-334-7419. http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org

Dec. 7: Fort Myers Beach Boat Parade, Fort Myers Beach. Come enjoy some Christmas spirit at the Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade! Last year we had nearly 30 boats participating and this year promises to be even more exciting. The parade will pass by such establishments as Big Game Waterfront Grill, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas, Nervous Nellies, Doc Fords and Bonita Bills where you can kick back and enjoy the fun. See more at: 239-454-7500. www.fortmyersbeachchamber.org

Dec. 7: Christmas Boat Parade. Venice. Parade of decorated boats, from Albee Road to South Bridge. Always held on the first Saturday of December at 6p.m.; rain date the next day. 941-809-8100, 207-1201. venicechristmasboatparade.com

Dec. 7-8: Winter Fine Arts Festival. Englewood. he Winter Fine Arts Festival will once again be presented by Olde Englewood Village Association on December 7th and 8th, 2013 from 10am to 4pm each day on West Dearborn Street in charming "Olde Englewood Village" from 10a.m.-4p.m. oldeenglewood.com

Dec. 4-31: Annual Christmas Light Canal Tours. Punta Gorda. In this picturesque area on Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast, residents deck the decks, docks, seawalls, ship's masts, palm trees, anything and everything that can be festooned with holiday lights, and then rejoice in the kaleidoscope of colorful displays. By lighted boat, or by bicycle, tours take in 50-foot Christmas trees, snowmen, Santa's sleighs, and even more elaborate holiday vignettes as residents revel in this holiday tradition with brilliant light displays on decks, lanais and along the waterways. Cruise the canals of Punta Gorda to experience this family tradition with spectacular illumination of community holiday spirit. King Fisher Fleet at Fishermen's Village. Adults $15, children 3-11 $7.50. Call for reservations. 941-639-0969. www.kingfisherfleet.com/christmas-cruises

Dec. 7-8: Luminary Festival. Sanibel and Captiva. More than three miles of luminary candles line the main roads on Sanibel on Dec. 7 and Captiva on Dec. 8, creating a glowing way to usher in the holidays. Businesses decorate their stores, sponsor entertainment and provide free refreshments, Santa arrives at the Sanibel Community House with candy for kids, and free trolley service around Sanibel is available on Dec. 7. Free; 5:30-9 p.m. both nights. 239-472-1080. www.sanibel-captiva.org

Dec. 9-10, 16-17: Christmas Rail-Boat Trips. Fort Myers. Christmas Rail-Boat Trips offer the opportunity to set sail for a holiday light extravaganza. Participants enjoy soup and salad going north to Punta Gorda for a boat tour through Punta Gorda Isles. Then dig into the entrée and dessert on the way back to Fort Myers. The train departs on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $87 each. For details, visit semgulf.com.

Dec. 13-14: Florida's Creative Coast Weekend. Pine Island. On the second weekend each month November-April, Pine Island businesses offer themed artistic events. Galleries and shops are open extended hours on Friday, many offering special openings. Take a cooking class, or listen to live music. Other special events and workshops are planned at individual shops on Saturday and Sunday. 239-283-4842. www.floridascreativecoast.com

Dec. 15: 24thrd Annual Peace River Lighted Boat Parade. Punta Gorda. The festive display of lights and gorgeous reflections on the water make this annual event a definite must see. At Charlotte Harbor, begins at dusk around 6 p.m. Free. 941-639-3720. www.puntagordachamber.com/

Dec. 20: Downtown Gallery Walk. Punta Gorda. Held monthly on the third Thursday, 5-8 p.m. Visit any of the downtown merchants, restaurants and galleries for your game card. As always, there will be live entertainment, food and drink samplings, art, beauty and health demonstrations, a free trolley, and an evening of fun. Free; free parking. 941-505-1915. www.puntagordashopping.com

Dec. 21-22: Holiday Pops Concerts. Fort Myers The Southwest Florida Symphony presents Holiday Pops Concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 and at 8 p.m. on Dec. 22. Composer/arranger/conductor Jim Stephenson returns to guest conduct the program, celebrating the music of the season. Vocalist Sara Dell'Omo is guest soloist. The Dec. 21 event takes place at the Village Church at Shell Point Village and the Dec. 22 concert is presented at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Ticket prices start at $25. For details, visit www.swflso.org.

Dec. 31: Downtown Countdown. Fort Myers. Ring in the New Year downtown at the party with the widest variety of entertainment and dining choices. The event starts at 8 p.m. with live entertainment at three locations and a ball-drop at midnight. Retail shops and restaurants remain open during the evening. To make downtown's entertainment district the utmost in pedestrian friendly, sections of Hendry, Main, Broadway, Jackson and Bay streets will be closed to vehicular traffic that night. Parking garages will be attended 6:45 p.m.-3 a.m. Free admission. 239-321-7100.fortmyersdowntowncountdown.com

South Florida and the Keys (including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Key Largo, Key West and the Treasure Coast)

Nov. 27 - Dec. 31: Key West 'Bright' Before Christmans. Key West. Live holiday music, games for the kids, free cookies and eggnog, holiday cheer and a chance for photos with Santa highlight this event. Created as a gift to the community, the gala is produced by the Key West Bight Preservation Association and tenants of the Key West Bight. 305-304-2633. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Art! Key West! Key West. A three day, city-wide, art festival focused in downtown Key West. It is a celebration of the many artists, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and art-focused emporiums. Performance art, sculpture, interactive art, and musical performances  are scheduled into the lively and coordinated art walk. artskeywest.com

Dec. 1: Suntrust Sunday Jazz Brunch. Fort Lauderdale. Live outdoor concert series bringing the area's best local jazz artists to the city's scenic Riverwalk the first Sunday of each month. Listen to the soulful sounds on four different stages.  Everyone is welcome to attend, including well-behaved, leashed pets, and there is ample room to set up chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission. 954-828-5363. www.fortlauderdale.gov

Dec. 1: Christmas Tree Lighting at Whitehall. Palm Beach. During the holiday season the first floor of Whitehall, the beautiful residence that is the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, is decorated in traditional Gilded Age magnificence. The 16-foot Grand Hall Christmas tree is the center of Whitehall's holiday celebrations. Festivities include holiday music played on its original 1,249-pipe organ, choir performances and holiday refreshments. The event culminates with Henry Flagler's youngest descendants lighting the Grand Hall Christmas tree. Free with museum admission. 3-5 p.m. 561-655-2833. http://www.flaglermuseum.us

Dec. 1-4: 2013 International Sculpture Symposium. Miami. Co-sponsored by the Florida International University and The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, and will bring together artists, collectors, curators and art enthusiasts for panel discussions, keynote addresses, optional tours, a reception, and a multi-day iron pour by the Iron Maidens, an international sculpture group. The symposium marks the first ISC program held in the city of Miami, spans four days, preceding Miami’s Art Basel, which takes place December 5-8, 2013. Artists and enthusiasts from around the world will have the opportunity to participate in a week of dynamic cultural events. Member $450, non-member $550, later on-site registration $650, student $150 - limited. (Must RSVP for wait list.) 609.689.1051 x.302  sculpture.org/miami2013/

Dec. 3-8: Red Dot Fair, Miami. Art show featuring more than 50 international, modern contemporary art dealers from around the world. Painting, photography, sculpture and more. Opening reception Dec. 3, 6-10p.m. 11a.m.-7p.m. on Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Dec. 5-7, 11a.m.-6p.m. on Dec. 8.  $15 day pass. $25 reception and weeklong pass. Miami Marriott, Biscayne Bay. 1633 N Bayshore Drive, Miami. $209. per night. 917-273-8621. www.reddotfair.com

Dec. 5-8: Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Beach. This international art show, American sister event of Art Basel in Switzerland, is recognized as the most important annual art show of its kind in America. The 12th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach will feature more than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa will take part, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. 305-674-1292. www.artbasel.com

Dec. 5-8: Fort Taylor Pyrate Invasion. Key West. At Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, experience the golden age of piracy through living history demonstrations, pirate encampments and live battles. Learn about life at sea from 17th century buccaneers and 19th century wreckers. Live music and activities for children. Free event with park admission.  Something fun for the whole family. 10a.m.-5p.m. 305-292-6713. www.forttaylorpyrates.com or http://www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor

Dec. 5-11: Miami Short Film Festival, Miami. MSFF's goal year after year is to motivate directors, screenwriters, actors and producers to make their films and share them with fellow film makers and industry professionals. The ultimate goal is to bring exposure to independent up-and-coming filmmakers. As a result, the festival has showcased over 700 high-quality films from around the world representing more than 26 countries. Bill Cosford Cinema, University of Miami. 305-854-2229. www.miamishortfilmfestival.com

Dec. 6: 9th Annual Florida Keys Holiday Festival. Islamorda. Holiday parade and festival featuring a 35-foot, snow-blowing community tree and 20 tons of snow for fun on snow mountain. Holiday Gift bazaar, food and fun for the entire family. 4-10 p.m. Free admission. 305-664-4503. islamoradachamber.com

Dec.6-Jan.1: Visit the Famous 100ft Christmas Tree. Boynton Beach. Open daily 10a.m.-10p.m. Tree opens 1p.m. Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Holiday carousel $2 per ride. Ice skating rink $6 per 45 minute session. Visit Santa $10 for commemorative photo, $20 for a fast pass to see Santa. www.100ftchristmastree.com

Dec. 7-8: Buckler's Craft Fair. West Palm Beach. Browse through one-of-a-kind gifts, custom home décor, jewelry, furniture, country and traditional crafts, folk art, dolls, hair accessories, candles, baby items, artwork, pet items, quilts, wearable art, flags, painted glass, yard art, scrapbooking, personalized items, gourmet delights, and more. At South Florida Fairgrounds. Admission $7 per person, kids under 12 free. Free parking. $2 off admission with website coupon or a canned good. 386-860-0092. www.bucklercraftfair.com

Dec. 8: City Link BeerFest. Fort Lauderdale. Dig up your beer goggles and ring in the holidays at City Link's 17th annual BeerFest. Join thousands of people in the heart of Fort Lauderdale at the Huizenga Plaza on Friday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 11p.m. for hundreds of the world's greatest beers, live music, and good food. Drink your way from tent to tent with drunken Santa and his sexy little helpers. Whether you hunt down your favorite ale, lager, or stout, or sample a little bit of everything, your taste buds are bound to stay wet. Rock out to live performances by local bands and work up an appetite. There will be a variety of food trucks to purchase some great bites and help soak up some alcohol. Advance tickets $25 ($30 at the door). Advance VIP tickets $40 ($45 at the door).

Dec. 8, 15: Historic Lighted Inn Tours. Key West. Discover the history and holiday spirit of Key West by touring beautifully decorated historic inns. The tours include creative offerings by local chefs, artists, writers and performers. 305-295-1334. keywestinns.com

Dec. 8: Key West Lighted Boat Parade. Key West. Decorated and lighted boats cruise through Key West Harbor and the waters of the Historic Seaport. Musical guests are featured. Sponsored by Schooner Wharf Bar and Captain Morgan. 305-292-3302. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents

Dec. 13: Barnacle Under Moonlight. Coconut Grove. Bring a blanket, bring a picnic, bring your friends and family and join us on the lawn of The Barnacle for a full moon concert as the blue moon lights up the skies of South Florida. At The Barnacle Historic State Park. Gates open at 6 p.m., music from 7 to 9 p.m. No pets, no alcohol. Admission 10 and older $10 for non-members, ages 6-9 $5, under 6 free. 305-442-6866. www.floridastateparks.org

Dec. 13: Boynton and Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Boynton Beach. Parade begins at the Boynton Beach Inlet and proceeds south to the C-15 Canal in Delray Beach. Begins at 6:30 p.m. Free. 561-243-1077. www.downtowndelraybeach

Dec. 14: Holiday Boat Parade. Key Largo. Blackwater Sound shimmers underneath as decorated boats parade along the shoreline in celebration of the holiday season. Top spots for viewing and libations include Sundowners, Senor Frijoles, the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort and Caribbean Club, MM 103-104. 305-451-4502. www.keylargoboatparade.com/

Dec. 14: Winterfest Boat Parade. Fort Lauderdale. You can the parade at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park with the "Party in the Park" prior to the parade in one of the largest parade viewing locations along the 12-mile route. Food Trucks, Craft Vendors, Entertainment and more. With each Grandstand Ticket purchased, you will receive a discount to the Miami City Ballet performance of the Nutcracker. Gates open to the Grandstand Viewing Area at 3:30 p.m. The Boat Parade gets under way at 6:30 p.m. along Downtown Fort Lauderdale and should arrive at this area at approximately 8 p.m. 954-767-0686. www.floridastateparks.org

Dec. 14: Big Pine & The Lower Keys Island Art Festival. Big Pine & The Lower Keys. Highlights of this holiday event include live music by local entertainers, food, exhibits and booths featuring locally produced arts and crafts. Festivities traditionally take place on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, MM 31 oceanside. Contact: 305-872-2411. www.fla-keys.com

Dec. 18 - 23: Flagler Museum Holiday Evening Tours. Palm Beach. During this beloved annual event, families tour Whitehall after hours and discover the origins of American Christmas traditions. Guests will have a rare opportunity to see Whitehall by the glow of the original 1902 light fixtures. Every visitor will receive a traditional Flagler Museum Christmas Cracker following the tour. A choral group will sing carols, and holiday refreshments will be served. The Museum Store will remain open for holiday shopping. Dec 18-19: Tours begin at 7:15p.m. and 7:25p.m. Dec. 20-21: Tours begin at 7:05p.m., 7:15p.m. and 7:25p.m. Dec 22-23: Tours begin at 6:50p.m., 7:05p.m., 7:15p.m., and 7:25p.m. $25 for adults, $15 for children under age 17. Advance purcase required, please call 561-655-2833. http://www.flaglermuseum.us

Dec. 19: Third Thursday Art Walk. Islamorada. Don't miss this month's Morada Way Art Walk! These fun events are held every month in Islamorada on the Third Thursday. Located at mile marker 81.5 on the Old Highway. This event is Fun! The hours of the event are 6 - 9 p.m. It is a free event with no admission charge. Stroll along the Old Highway and Morada Way with family and friends to enjoy the sights, sounds and culinary arts in Islamorada. 305-664-9100  www.fla-keys.com

Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Shoe Drop Celebration. Key West. The Southernmost City celebrates with a conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe's Bar; a descending 6-foot red high heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex; and a pirate wench descending from a tall ship mast in the island city's Historic Seaport. Call 293-9600. www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents


Northeast Florida (including Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Flagler County and Amelia Island)

Nov. 23 - Jan. 31: Nights of Lights Festival and Celebration. St. Augustine. This inspiring display of more than two million tiny white lights adorning the palm trees and buildings throughout the city's historic district is based on a custom by the town's original Spanish colonists, who placed a white candle in their windows to brighten the nights during the Christmas holidays. Among special events and activities awaiting visitors: nighttime tours of ancient buildings and inns led by storytellers in period clothing, rollicking train and trolley tours through the narrow brick streets, art walks featuring more than 30 galleries serving free holiday refreshments on the First Friday in December and January, special Saturday night antique shopping events, a dazzling regatta, Florida ice skating, luminaries in the town plaza, holiday concerts, even a Christmas parade. 902-825-1004. www.NightsofLights.com

Dec. 6: First Friday Art Walk. St. Augustine. One of the city's most popular cultural events, held the first Friday of each month. Enjoy new exhibits, music, entertainment and refreshments at 15 participating galleries, plus great food courtesy of the St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Assn. Tours begin at Rembrandtz American Craft Gallery. St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolleys offer complimentary shuttle service to most galleries. Shuttles run on a continuous loop every 30 minutes. 904-829-0065. www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.com

Dec. 6-7: 7th Annual Holiday Home Tour. Amelia Island. The Florida Keys Holiday Festival is highlighted by a tree-lighting of the 35-foot Christmas tree at Founders Park, Mile Marker 87 on Dec. 6. Other attractions typically include a holiday parade featuring Santa, a 20-ton mountain of snow for mitten-clad munchkins, a holiday gift bazaar and a silent auction of ornaments decorated by local artists. Admission is free. Event hours are from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. For details, visit www.islamoradachamber.com.

Dec. 7, 14, 21: Santa's Storybook Tea Party. Amelia Island. Saturday, November 30, December 7, 14, 21; Noon, 12 p.m. The Lobby Lounge A Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island tradition; a fireside holiday storybook read by Santa plus an afternoon tea, with finger sandwiches, pastries, candy, cakes and a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus $49 adults and children Ages 6 and up/$10 children 5 and under; includes service charge. Type of Event: Seasonal. Cost: $49 per person ages 6 and up. $10 per child 5 and under. Age Range: All Ages. Contact: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Contact Phone: 904-277-1100. Saturday, November 30, 2013, 12:00 PM –1:00 PM. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island 4750 Amelia Island Parkway Amelia Island, FL 32034. For more info visit www.ritzcarlton.com.

Dec. 8: 2013: 45th Annual Garden Club Christmas Tour of Homes. St. Augustine. Annual tour showcases holiday decorations at a selection of St. Augustine's most outstanding private homes. Enjoy a taste of nostalgia in the colorful and natural floral decorations and arrangements designed and handcrafted by members of The Garden Club of St. Augustine. In addition, a delightful tea is included in the ticket price. The tour takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and should be purchased in advance because of limited availability; $25 the day of the Tour. 904-797-0660. christmastourofhomes.com

Dec. 14: Artrageous Artwalk. Fernandina Beach. Held monthly on second Saturday each month, to open the doors of some of Amelia Island's incredible galleries, featuring photography, pottery, copper, stained glass, watercolor, acrylics and more. Participants can peruse more than a dozen galleries in downtown Fernandina Beach and at the Plantation Artists' Guild and Gallery located at Amelia Island Plantation. 5:30-8:30 p.m. 800-226-3542. ameliaisland.com/calendar

Dec. 28-29: Old Town Arts & Crafts Show. St. Augustine. There's something for arts and crafts enthusiasts in the Old City this weekend! The Old Town Arts & Crafts Show may be the ticket for you. This is a juried fair featuring the creations of artists and craftsmen from northeast Florida and other parts of the country on Dec. 29-30. The outdoor event, at Francis Field on 25 West Castillo Drive, showcases original handmade art and fine crafts in various media including painting, sculpture, glass, pottery, photography, fashions and jewelry. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is free. For information on the event, visit www.OldTownArtShow.com.

North-Central Florida (including Ocala, Gainesville and Tallahassee)

Dec. 1 - Jan. 1: Festival of Lights. White Springs. At Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, the state park holiday celebration features more than four million lights throughout the park, open each evening until 9 p.m., except Christmas Night, Dec. 25. Named a Top 20 Event in the southeastern United States, visitors can enjoy award-winning holiday sights and sounds throughout the park. Unique holiday light displays include majestic oak trees decorated with thousands of lights, an antebellum Museum dressed in full holiday splendor, a gingerbread village, a candy cane forest, Santa's runway and much more. The park's centerpiece is the 200 foot tall Carillon Tower, which illuminates the night sky as holiday music rings from its bells. Cousin Thelma Boltin's Gift Shop will be open everyday from noon until 9 p.m. Complimentary hot cocoa and popcorn are served nightly as the Craft Square comes alive with craft demonstrations, a bonfire, marshmallow roasting and holiday singing for everyone. Visitors can experience a "flurry" of fun in our winter wonderland which includes holiday music at the park nightly from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Weather reports predict a chance of snow flurries every evening on the hour and giant snow families have been spotted in the area. You may even get to meet Santa. Visitors can also experience the festival via a one mile horse-drawn wagon or take a private carriage ride to experience the lights on display. Entrance fee: $2 per person. Children under 3 are free. 386-397-4478. http://www.floridastateparks.org/stephenfoster

Dec. 6: Camellia Christmas 2013. Tallahassee. Maclay Gardens State Park invites the community to celebrate the Christmas Season with this 25th annual candlelight stroll through the gardens accompanied by holiday music performed by local artists. Bid on holiday finery for the home or a gift at the silent auction, which will include items donated by local merchants, artists and florists. Hot apple cider and holiday cookies will be served. Free; park entrance fee is waived. 850-487-4115. www.floridastateparks.org/maclaygardens/Events.cfm

Dec. 6-8, 13-15: Three Rivers State Park Christmas Light Show. Sneads. Three Rivers State Park invites you on a scenic drive through the park to enjoy all the beautiful light displays. Park entrance fees are being waived during the designated times for the event but donations are appreciated. 6-8 p.m. 850-482-9006. Three Rivers State Park is located two miles north of Sneads on State Road 271 (River Road). www.floridastateparks.org/threerivers/events.cfm

Dec. 7: Dudley Farm Cane Day. Newberry. This is the annual Cane Grinding and commemoration of Miss Myrtle Dudley's birthday, at Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Continues the farm family tradition of grinding sugar cane and boiling it into cane syrup, making this a unique old-time community gathering. Visitors to this state park facility can tour the farm, see other activities and craft demonstrations, or take a wagon ride. Syrup and farm products are sold on this day. Included in regular park admission: $8 per vehicle. 352-472-1142. www.floridastateparks.org/dudleyfarm/Events.cfm

Dec. 7: 26th Annual Winter Festival. Tallahassee. As always, the Winter Festival will have much to offer and something for everyone to enjoy throughout a fun-filled, action-packed evening. This year the festival will be from 3:00pm to 10:00pm on Saturday, December 7. We are excited to have this year's theme, "A Taste of the Season." There are five stages of entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts and a variety of exhibitors and a children’s activity area featuring hands-on craft activities and bounce houses. 850-891-3874. www.talgov.com/parks/

Dec. 7-8: Annual Market Days. Tallahassee. One of the largest and finest arts and crafts shows in the Southeast, featuring handmade creations of some 300 artists and craftsmen. Works include fine arts, ceramics, country furniture, stained glass, woodwork, glasswork, dolls, clocks, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, metalwork, clothing, photography and calligraphy. The event also dishes up a wide selection of mouth-watering foods and refreshments. At North Florida Fairgrounds. Saturday, 10a.m.-5p.m. Sunday 10a.m.-4p.m. Adults $6, Children 6-12 $4. 850-575-8684. www.marketdays.org

Dec. 13-14: 6th Annual Southern Pines Blues and BBQ Festival. Perry. Touted as North Florida's biggest and best blues and BBQ festival, featuring talented blues artists from all over and Triple Crown BBQ competition where the best of the best from Florida, Alabama and Georgia vie for the top prize. There also will be a People's Choice, where you are the judge, and an open backyard competition. At Forest Capital Museum State Park. 850-584-5377, toll free 866-584-5366. www.southernpinesblues.com

Dec. 13-15, 26-27: Santa of the Rainbow. Dunnellon. Friends of Rainbow Springs will once again bring Santa Clause to Dunnellon. Bring a child or become a child yourself for this one of a kind experience. Walk through the wonderland of lights that decorate the headsprings area of Rainbow Springs State Park. See Mr. and Mrs. Clause come up the Rainbow River on a lighted boat and head towards their cottage where pictures are taken. Visit with Santa's elves and listen to carols. 6-8 p.m. SPECIAL admission: $1. 352-465-8555. www.floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings/events.cfm

Dec. 13-14: Holiday Magic. Tallahassee. Wrap your holiday season in style by joining the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra at Holiday Magic. Conductor Kenneth Kiesler and a world-class vocal quartet will collaborate with the orchestra in a spectacular evening of music that offers inspiration, entertainment, and plenty of smiles. The program will include favorites such as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, a medley titled Feast of Carols, and an audience sing-along. Also joining the concert will be the young musicians of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra Symphony. At Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. 8p.m. 850-224-0461. www.tallahasseesymphony.org

Dec. 14: Annual Holiday Parade and Lawn Mower Parade. Havana. Getting into the holiday spirit has never been more fun – how creative can you get in decorating your riding lawn mower to look like a parade float? Choose a holiday theme or any crazy, zany or fun idea you think can win one of three prizes totaling more than $350. Now golf carts have been added to the mix, with a separate prize awarded for the most ingeniously decorated golf cart. Food and craft vendors add a festive atmosphere to the day. This year also features SNOW! At 2 p.m. The Havana Snow Queen will reign over a real snow playground. Kick-off breakfast at 8a.m. Parade starts at 11a.m. On Main Street downtown. Free. 850-539-6900. http://www.havanaflorida.com/events.aspx

Dec. 21: The Ichetucknee Time Machine. Fort White. Take a fascinating journey by van into the Ichetucknee forest and visit the site of the 17th Century Mission de San Martin de Timucua. Learn all about the ancient Timucuan capital of Aquacalyquen. We highly recommend you wear long pants, sturdy shoes and insect repellent. Begins at 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Head Spring Parking Lot (North Entrance) of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Regular park entrance fee, $6 per vehicle. 386-497-4690. www.floridastateparks.org/ichetuckneesprings/Events.cfm


The Panhandle (including Pensacola, Panama City Beach, Apalachicola and Destin)

Dec. 7: 5K Reindeer Race. Panama City Beach. The JL 5K Reindeer Race & 1-mile Santa Shuffle race starts at the St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach under another beautiful balloon archway! All runners and walkers are treated to a down-and-back lap along the picturesque and flat loop of one of Florida’s most amazing state parks. 8-10a.m. 4607 State Park Ln., Panama City Beach, FL 32408. Admission $10. www.visitpanamacitybeach.com

Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop. Panama City Beach. Ring in the New Year with a fun beachside celebration. Enjoy family time early, 5:30-8:30 p.m., when there will be bounce houses, party favors, street performers and live radio remotes. Countdown to 2010 begins at 8:30 p.m., when streets will be closed to traffic, live entertainers including Country music star, singer/songwriter James Otto perform, prizes are given away and a midnight fireworks display caps it all. At Pier Park. 850-233-5070. www.visitpanamacitybeach.com

Special Correspondent Georgina Cruz and Orlando Sentinel staffer Emon Reiser contributed to this report

Dec. 15: Holiday Classic Car Show. Key West. Classic cars will be on the plaza at Margaret Street near the decorated Lobster Trap Tree on the Harbor Walk of Lights. Businesses will be open around the show for shopping, food and beverages. noon-5 p.m. Free. keywestchristmas.org.

Dec. 21: Violins in Motion Holiday Concert. Key West. A musical performance on the plaza at Green and Elizabeth Streets under the decorated Lobster Trap Tree on the Harbor Walk of Lights. 6-8 p.m. Free. keywestchristmas.org.