Festivals and events happening in December in the Central Florida Area.

Posted on: December 1st, 2017


Nov. 18-Jan. 6: Universal Orlando holiday events, Orlando.

Experience Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, featuring themed decorations and lighting, holiday-themed food, and live performances. At night, see Hogwarts Castle light up for the holidays with projection mapping and lighting. Back for 2017 is the Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s with 15 floats with characters from films like “Despicable Me,” “Madagascar” and “Shrek”, Santa Claus, and over a dozen balloons. Check out Grinchmas at Seuss Landing with the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” and grab breakfast with the Grinch and friends. See Mannheim Steamroller in concert on Nov. 18, 19, 25, 26 and Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. On-site hotels will have holiday-themed activities for the little ones. Check out the website for park times and prices. 407-363-8000. universalorlando.com


Nov. 19-Dec. 30: Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, Disney World.

This annual Epcot tradition showcases holiday traditions from around the world including music, costumes, cuisine, and features the different Santa’s from around the world. Children will enjoy helping Chip and Dale gather ornaments, while the whole family will enjoy the daily performances at the World Fountain Stage. Enjoy the IllumiNations fireworks, laser and waterworks shows at the center of the World Showcase. The annual Candlelight Processional, including celebrity guest narrators, such as Whoopi Goldberg and Pat Sajak, will feature a massed choir and orchestra for a retelling of the Christmas story. Daily tickets begin at $99.00. 407-939-5277. disneyworld.disney.go.com


Nov. 20-Jan. 1: Space Coast Light Fest, Melbourne.

Enjoy this holiday themed drive-through featuring shimmering lights and dazzling animated displays drawing more than 15,000 vehicles. 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Cars $15, stroll $5. 2500 Parkway Drive. 321-576-7556. spacecoastlightfest.com


Nov. 21-Jan. 7: ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee.

ICE! is back for 2017, featuring Christmas Around the World. Two million pounds of ice sculptures, kept at 9 degrees Fahrenheit and hand-carved by artisans from Harbin, China, will depict different holiday celebrations from around the world. Featuring five ice slides and live ice carving, travel to the North Pole to see Santa and his elves this holiday at ICE! at Gaylord Palms. Check website for prices and details. Gaylord Palms, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway. 407-586-4423. christmasatgaylordpalms.com


Nov. 25-Dec. 30: Snowing Nightly, Celebration.

Want to catch a glimpse of snow in Florida? Celebration Town Center hosts nightly snow falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., along with photos with Santa, local talent shows, an ice rink, horse-drawn carriage and train rides. Check website for prices. 407-566-4007. celebrationtowncenter.com



Nov. 27-Jan. 2: A December to Remember, Daytona Beach.

Enjoy numerous family friendly activities throughout the holiday season with visits from Santa, a craft village, and tribute bands. There is even a pet weekend for you four-legged family members. Located at the Daytona Beach Bandshell, 70 Boardwalk. daytonabeach.com


Dec. 1: Christmas in the Square, Sanford.

The City of Sanford celebration includes live entertainment, a visit with Santa, a tree lighting ceremony, face painting and balloon artists. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. Magnolia Square, 200 S. Magnolia Ave. 407-688-5120 option 6. sanfordfl.gov


Dec. 1: Downtown DeLand Merchant Holiday Open House, DeLand.

Downtown DeLand restaurants and shops offer holiday discounts for those who love a little retail therapy. Santa will be available for pictures in Pioneer Park and carolers will be singing holiday tunes along Woodland Boulevard. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free. mainstreetdeland.org


Dec. 2: Central Florida Winter Festival, Eustis.

This family-friendly event features art by local artists, food trucks, bounce houses, face painting, jewelry vendors, and make up vendors. Meet two of your favorite Disney princesses, Elsa & Anna from Frozen, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. General Admission $10, children 12 and under free. Lake County-Fairgrounds, 2101 County Road 452. eventbrite.com


Dec. 2: Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Daytona Beach.

Starting at the Seabreeze Bridge at 6 p.m., the parade will travel south past Main Street, International Speedway Boulevard, City Island Park and Silver Beach Bridge before passing by judging grandstands at Halifax River Yacht Club. There are several viewing locations along the Halifax River. North of the yacht club channel, the fishing pier on the channel leading to Halifax River Marina, and dockside of the Chart House Restaurant at the entrance to the Daytona Marina and Boat Works are the best spots to view the parade. Free. daytonabeach.com


Dec. 2: New Smyrna Beach Christmas Parade, New Smyrna Beach.

This years theme is “A Riverfront Christmas.” The parade gets under way at 4 p.m. with floats, traditional marching bands, dance teams and a guest appearance from Santa. It will travel west along Flagler Avenue and the North Causeway, south on Riverside Drive and will turn west on Canal Street and will end at Orange Street. 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free. 386-410-2890. cityofnsb.com


Dec. 2: 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 p.m. to 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $25/adult and $10/child ages 5-12. Day of tickets are $30/adult and $10/child ages 5-12. Under 5 are free. Admission to the Gardens after 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 will include a concert ticket. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd. 863-676-1408. boktowergardens.org


Dec. 2: 69th Annual Downtown DeLand Christmas Parade, DeLand.

This parade draws as many as 20,000 people annually. 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. Runs along Woodland Boulevard North to South. delandchristmasparade.org


Dec. 2: Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade, Winter Park.

Still the longest-running parade in Central Florida, the parade travels through downtown Winter Park along Park Avenue. Before and during the parade, Leadership Winter Park will host their annual Pancake Breakfast at the Central Park stage from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast is $6 for adults and $4 for children. 407- 644-8281. winterpark.org


Dec. 2: Sanford Historic Trust Tour of Homes, Sanford. 

A candlelight walking tour where guests stroll through historic homes, enjoy live music and sample appetizers from local restaurants. $29. In the Sanford Heights Neighborhood. sanfordhistorictrust.org


Dec. 2: Christmas Parade, Mount Dora. 

The 56th Annual Mount Dora Christmas Parade is a beautiful annual tradition. 10 a.m. Free. In Downtwon Mount Dora. 352-735-9629. mountdorachristmas.com


Dec. 2: Lighted Boat Parade, Mount Dora.

A family friendly event with colorful lighted boats gliding over Lake Dora. If you are interested in participating in the parade, contact The Mount Dora Marina at 352-383-3150. 7:30 pm. Free. Downtown Mount Dora. mountdorachristmas.com


Dec. 3: Festivals of Speed, Orlando.

This luxury car event benefits the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Attendees will enjoy on-site cafes serving the finest culinary offerings, smooth jazz in the gardens, wine tastings, cigars, luxury lifestyle displays, fashion shows and more. $20, children under 12 free. VIP tickets are also available. Ritz-Carlton Orlando, 4012 Central Florida Parkway. 407-206-2400. festivalsofspeed.com


Dec. 3: Port Orange Christmas Parade, Port Orange.

The parade will feature bands and floats and begins at Dunlawton Avenue and Jackson Street, proceeding east to Lafayette Street. Port Orange Government (POG) TV will tape the parade on Bright House Networks cable channel 498. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. cm.pschamber.com



Dec. 7: Christmas in the Park, Winter Park.

Kicking off the holiday season in Winter Park, this event lights up Tiffany windows in Central Park and showcases the Bach Festival Choir in concert. Bring your own chairs and adult beverages. Family friendly. 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free. 445 N. Park Ave. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org


Dec. 8-10: Wine & Chocolate Festival, Clermont. 

This Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards event will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. Local artists and crafters are invited to display their work. Enjoy live music by bands on an outdoor stage throughout the entire weekend. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of foods will be available for purchase, along with complimentary winery tours and tastings. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5, children 12 and under free. 1-800-768-9463 lakeridgewinery.com


Dec. 9: Christmas in the Park with Snow, Mount Dora.

Residents come out annually to Donnelly Park in downtown Mount Dora for ice skating, sledding, Santa and more. Donations of a can of food or unopened toy will get visitors a special pass for the Holiday slide. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 352-735-7138. Donelly Park, 530 N. Donnelly St. mountdorachristmas.com


Dec. 9: Parade of Lights, Sanford.

Illuminated floats light up Sanford’s First Street, featuring marching bands, civic groups and businesses. Santa will make a surprise appearance. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free. In Downtown Sanford. 407-688-5120. sanfordfl.gov


Dec. 16: Cruisin’ Downtown DeLand Classic Car Show, DeLand. 

Held every third Saturday of the month, classic cars and rods line East Indiana Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Features a live DJ, giveaways, shopping and dining. 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free. East Indiana Avenue in Downtown DeLand. 386-738-0649. mainstreetdeland.org


Dec. 16: Snow Fest, Maitland.

RDV Sportsplex Ice Den’s annual Snow Fest features ice skating, bounce houses, live DJs, face painting, more than 20 tons of snow for a play area, a kid’s snow slide and more. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. $16 for ages 3 and older. 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd. 407-916-2550. mvpsportsclubs.com


Dec. 21-24: The Nutcracker, Orlando.

The Orlando Ballet rings in the holiday season with visions of sugarplum fairies, the Mouse King and more during its annual presentation of The Nutcracker. Hosted at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Show times vary. Tickets start at $19. 445 S Magnolia Avenue. 844-513-2014. orlandoballet.org


Dec. 28: Camping World Bowl, Orlando. Attracting more than 50,000 fans, No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys and the No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies will face off in the 2017 Camping World Bowl. This exciting matchup kicks off at 5:15 p.m. at Camping World Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN. 407-423-2476. campingworldbowl.com

Tickets for the Camping World Bowl are available via Ticketmaster.



Dec. 30: Florida Citrus Parade, Orlando.

The Citrus Parade features signature citrus floats made from more than 100,000 grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. Entries include high school and college marching bands from across the country. This year’s parade features the 11th annual Drawing Contest open to all children ages 5 to 10 living in Orange and Seminole counties. The winning artist will serve as an honorary Grand Marshal in the 2017 Florida Citrus Parade and the winning piece will be featured on the cover of the parade’s program. Free. The grandstand and broadcast area is located on Rosalind Avenue adjacent to Lake Eola. 407-423-2476. floridacitrussports.com


Dec. 30-31: Flagler Beach Art and Craft Festival, Flagler Beach.

Fine art, jewelry, ceramics, stained glass, photography, handmade soaps and freshly made kettle corn will be on hand just steps away from the beach. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. 100 Moody Blvd. 352-344-0657. tnteventsinc.com


Dec. 31: EVE at Universal CityWalk, Orlando. The New Year’s celebration features the largest dance floor in Orlando, live entertainment, food and drinks. Tickets prices vary. 407-363-8000. universalorlando.com