Get ready for the holiday season with this quick guide of lighting events and parades across our shining cities.
Begins the holiday season with Light up Leesburg, a long-standing tradition. Each year Venetian Gardens turns into a wonderland of lights. Displays are grand and spread across the large park. Lighted monkeys and snowflakes hang from trees while the S.S. Santa Claus brings Christmas to Florida. There’s always something new, and in recent years, we’ve welcomed the musical Christmas tree that coordinates light shows with some of our favorite tunes. Light up Leesburg will be November 27, and you can stroll or drive through displays with 500,000 mini lights.
Don’t forget the 48th annual Leesburg Christmas Parade; it takes over Main Street on December 5, 3–10 p.m. Floats, lights, and beloved local performers are just the beginning. Expect finger-licking food as well as carnival style rides and games. It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends this holiday.
Come to the Christmas Parade and Celebration in Wooten Park December 5. It’s an all-day community event; 3–9:30 p.m. Join your neighbors for lakeside holiday fun.
December also marks the start of The Cannonball Christmas Express. Join the Cannonball crew for a ride from Tavares to the North Pole. Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, make friends with elves, and get a surprise from Santa. This is a holiday hit, so buy your tickets before they sell out! Board the train at 300-398 E. Main Street in Tavares.
Greet the season with the city of Clermont as they host three jam-packed days of festivities from December 3–5. It kicks off Thursday, 7-8 p.m. with East Ridge High School Band Symphony at Waterfront Park Pavilion. Here’s the itinerary for the rest of the weekend:
Friday, December 4
• Family Food Trucks, Downtown at Montrose and 7th Street
• Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Presented by Downtown at Montrose and 7th Street
• Holiday Music on Stage 7:30–9 p.m. Downtown at Montrose and 7th Street
• Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Provided by South Lake Kiwanis, Clermont City Center, 620 W. Montrose Street
Saturday, December 5
• Crafts and Food 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Montrose and 8th Street
• Music and Entertainment on Stage 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
• Hometown Holiday Parade 1 p.m. Downtown Clermont
• Concert by Montverde Academy 7 p.m.
The enchanting city of Mount Dora gets into the swing of things early, their lighting ceremonies are November 28. A perfect post-Thanksgiving treat to get you in the jolly mood. The 34th Light up Mount Dora starts at 6:30 p.m. in Donnelly Park. They will also be lighting the Main Street Christmas tree across from Sunset Park. Don’t miss these other iconic Mount Dora events:
Saturday, December 5
• 56th annual Mount Dora Christmas Parade. 11 a.m. Downtown Mount Dora.
• Lighted Boat Parade. 7–9p.m. at the Lakefront Mount Dora
Light Up Lady Lake transforms the park and the old red caboose with hundreds of lights; you may spot Santa’s reindeer or an old friend. This tradition makes its return on December 11, just in time to make new memories. The lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m., and the display stays up all year long. Add this to your light-seeing lineup.
The city of Webster is bringing back Winterfest for the second year. It will be in the City Hall courtyard on December 4, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Last year was a great success with tree lighting, prize drawings, yummy food, caroling, train rides, and photos with Santa!
PHOTOS: Teri Virbickis+Shutterstock.com