Here’s a listing of local holiday events, including parades,
performing arts, holiday activities and New Year’s celebrations!
4:45 pm, Friday, November 29
223 Palafox Place, Pensacola
5pm Lights and Snow ∗ 6pm Tours and Games
The Elf Parade is a grand kickoff to the 2019 holiday season in downtown Pensacola! The Parade Grand Marshall leads the merry crew of kids, parents, toys, and characters from the old Escambia County Courthouse to Plaza Wonderland at Palafox and Government Streets. Costumed kids of all ages march alongside an alligator “second line” brass band, Santa, and our characters from stops in the Winterfest Performance Tour. The six-block route takes about 20 minutes, and includes a Christmas song battle, tumbling snowflakes, and plenty of cheer.
Fort Walton Beach Christmas Parade
6:30 – 8 pm, Mon., Dec., 2
The City’s 2019 Christmas Parade theme is “A Storybook Christmas.” The route begins at First Street and proceeds north on Eglin Parkway to the old K-Mart parking lot. The parade includes approximately 100 entries
Blackwater Pyrates Lighted Boat Parade
8:30 pm, Friday, Dec. 6
Riverwalk Park – Willing St., Milton
Lighted boat parade and fireworks following “Light Up Milton” events
Navarre Annual Christmas Parade
1 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
Starts at the Navarre Library and proceeds south along Presidio Street then east along Esplande Street, ending behind Centennial Bank.
Lighted Boat Parade
6:30-8:30 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
460 Pensacola Beach Blvd.
Pensacola Beach’s Lighted Boat Parade boasts some of the most beautiful and bright ocean vessels in the Gulf. Enjoy the show from Premier Adventure Park in the very BEST SEATS on Pensacola Beach.
Surfing Santa Beach Parade
2-3 pm, Sun. Dec., 8
Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach
Starting at 2 p.m. from Avenida 10, the parade will make its way down Via De Luna toward Casino Beach and end at the Gulfside Pavilion, where kids will be able to meet and greet with Santa until 3 p.m. More info: pensacolabeachchamber.com.
2019 Cox Christmas Parade
5:15 p.m., Sat., Dec. 14
Spring & Garden Streets – Downtown Pensacola
The parade attracts more than 50,000 people each year, including nearly 90 entries, and eight bands from Escambia County, New Orleans and Mississippi.
Destin Christmas Parade
10 am – 12 pm, Sat., Dec. 14
35th annual Christmas Parade theme is “Santa’s Workshop”. Floats will start at Downtown Destin Shopping Center (Old Time Pottery) and travel west down Harbor Blvd. (Hwy 98) to Stahlman Avenue. Please stand on the north side of Harbor Blvd. to watch the floats. More info: 850-654-5184.
33rd Annual Destin Boat Parade
1 – 8 pm, Sun., Dec. 15
Visit with Santa on the Main Stage from 1-4 pm before the boat parade, which starts at 6 pm. The evening ends with a bang as fireworks light up the sky!
PERFORMING ARTS/LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
Community Bands of the Panhandle Christmas Concert
7:30 pm, Mon., Dec. 2
Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center
913 South I St., Pensacola
4th annual event featuring Walton County Community Band, North Okaloosa Community Band and the Emerald Coast Community Band. Each band will perform their own Christmas mini-concert, and the Grand Finalé will combine all bands in a holiday performance spectacular! FREE admission. Please bring non-perishable food items for admission to be donated to an area food pantry.
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas
7:30 pm, Dec., 6 & 7 and 13 & 14
2:30 pm, Dec. 8 and 15
UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts – 11000 University Pkwy., Pensacola
University of West Florida Department of Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas”, a new take on the beloved Charles Dickens classic adapted by Michael Wilson. All performances will take place in the Mainstage Theatre of the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, located in Building 82. Ticket prices vary. Senior, student and military discounts. More info: uwf.edu/cfpa.
Holiday Blast of North Pole Panic
5:30 pm, Mon., Dec. 9
Seville Quarter – 130 East Government St., Pensacola
Jazz Pensacola invites the community to get into the Christmas and holiday spirit with band North Pole Panic, performing all of your classic holiday tunes with a twist! The event guarantees to have you singing and dancing. And it is a Food Drive. Please bring non-perishable items.
Miracle on 34th Street: The Play
7:30-9 pm, Fri., Dec. 13
Pensacola Little Theatre – 400 S. Jefferson St., Pensacola
By chance, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. Seen as deluded and dangerous, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. At stake, the belief in Santa Claus. A family- favorite during the Holidays.
Mattie Kelly Arts Center Holiday Pops Concert
7:30 – 9:30 pm., Fri., Dec. 13
Mattie Kelly Arts Center – 100 College Blvd. E, Niceville
Join Maestro Christopher Confessore as he leads the NFSO’s annual Holiday Pops concert featuring the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale. Familiar holiday works will fill you with the spirit of the season! Tickets: adults $25, youth $16 and FREE with NWFSC ID.
Gulf Breeze High School Drama Presents Elf the Musical
7:30-9:0 pm., Sat., Dec. 14
Pensacola State College Ashmore Auditorium – 1000 College Blvd.
Get ready for the holidays and bring the whole family to see this magical holiday performance put on by the talented drama students at GBHS!
A Little Women Christmas
7-9:30 pm, Sat., Dec., 14
Rex Theatre – 18 N. Palafox St., Pensacola
An original two act play based on the classic Novel by Louisa May Alcott. Ticket prices vary. Senior, student and military discounts.
Christmas on the Coast
7:30-9:30 pm, Dec. 13 – 14
2:30 pm, Dec. 15
Saenger Theater – 118 S. Palafox Pl., Pensacola
A well-loved Pensacola Children’s Chorus holiday tradition on the Gulf Coast, featuring some familiar PCC classics as well as exciting new material and dynamic choreography.
Ballet Pensacola Presents: The Nutcracker
7 pm., Fri., Dec. 20
Saenger Theatre – 118 S. Palafox Pl., Pensacola
Follow the adventures of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they battle the Mouse King and embark on a journey through the Land of the Sweets with the guidance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Nutcracker is a holiday classic, perfect for the entire family! Music by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Ticket prices vary.
25th Annual Christmas in the Park
9 am – 5 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
8513 Navarre Pkwy.
Events include Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk, reindeer games for kids, Merry Market, festival of wreaths, tree lighting, Mrs. Claus’ bakery, pictures with Santa and the Navarre Annual Christmas Parade at 2 p.m. More info: 850-939-3267.
9 am – 4 pm, Dec. 14, 15 & 21, 22
Gulf Breeze Zoo – 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy.
Features live music, performances, contests, food, artists, pictures with Santa and a Candy Cane Market trail full of gifts, sights, smells and tastes of the season. Admission includes the entire zoo plus, artificial snow, winter-themed bounce stations and the family photo opportunities. More info: 850-932-2229 or gbzoo.com.
City of Milton Christmas Tree Lighting/Light Up Milton
4:30- 9 pm, Dec. 6
Downtown Milton – Willing St. and area
Celebration features church bells ringing, chorus singing and a snow machine is turned on to enjoy Santa’s Reindeer Parade. Enjoy the festive lights of Historic Downtown Milton along with caroling, carriage rides, Christmas market, the Pyrates Lighted Boat Parade and ending the night with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. More info: sracf.org/light-up-milton.
Winterfest at St. Mary’s
12-7 pm, Fri., Dec. 6
9 am – 2:30 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
St. Mary’s Episcopal – 6842 Oak St., Milton
Annual Winter Arts and Crafts Fair is held at the historic church’s parish hall just in time for Christmas shopping. Enjoy a day browsing one-of-a-kind custom jewelry, art, woodcrafts, candles and other creative handiwork. Retail sales vendors will also showcase their great products as well, along with a bake sale and lunch items including hamburgers or gumbo. More info: 850-623-2905.
Sowell’s North Pole Christmas Lights display
5-9 pm, Nov. 29 – Dec. 27
7650 Sowell Rd., Milton
Annual Christmas light show put on by the Sowell family. Open every night, including Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Cost $10/vehicle to drive through. Train rides additional $2/person. Event was featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” More info: facebook.com/sowellsnorthpole.
Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm
10 am – 5 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
1603 Penton Rd., Milton
Choose and cut a Christmas tree while enjoying other fun Christmas farm-themed activities. More info: floridachristmastree.com or Mike at 850-304-1559.
First City Lights
November 29 – January 31
223 Palafox Place, Pensacola
Experience the Holidays in Pensacola and brighten your holidays strolling through the beautiful lights in Downtown Pensacola. Now through the holidays, the city of Pensacola illuminated by 400,000 lights. The official lighting ceremony on Black Friday, Nov. 29 comes on the heels of the Winterfest Elf Parade, an annual procession featuring characters from the Peanuts Gang, the Island of Misfit Toys and other Christmas classics that makes its way from the T.T. Wentworth Museum to the steps of the Artel Gallery amidst a backdrop of faux snow and “reindeer games”. Come and watch the cast flip the switch to light up downtown and officially launch the holiday season at approximately 5:15 pm…that is, if the grumpy Grinch doesn’t stop the festivities.
Hours vary thru December 24
Song and dance, arts and crafts during the holidays. Pensacola Winterfest’s tours, the plaza show, photos with Santa, and carriage rides take place in Plaza Wonderland at the corner of Government Street and Palafox Place. More info: pensacolawinterfest.org
Christmas Caravan Home Tour
10 am – 3 pm, Fri., Dec. 6 & Sat., Dec. 7
St. Christopher’s Episcopal – 3200 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola
Get into the Christmas spirit and inspire your decorating ideas. Take in the St. Christopher’s Christmas Caravan tour of 4 seasonally decorated homes in Pensacola. $15.00 tickets can be purchased at the homes or church on the day of the event. The home locations are: 1205 East Garden St. – Dr. Terry & Kendall Neill, Jr; 2861 Jackson St. – Tripp & Allyson Hale; 2720 Banquos Trail – Dr. Shane & Keri Medlock
And 2620 Dunsinane – Jeff & Lacy Phillips.
Santa’s Lego Building Party
11 am – 2 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
Artel Gallery – 223 Palafox Place, Pensacola
Be in elf in Santa’s workshop for a day at Santa’s Lego-building party! Children under age 12 are invited to build a Lego creation in the Christmas courtyard or bring their very own masterpiece from home. The top three creators will receive special prizes from Santa himself.
Christmas Gala at Pensacola Lighthouse
3-7:30 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
Pensacola Lighthouse – NAS Pensacola
Meet and greet with Santa and his Elves. Free Cookies and Hot Cocoa. Pensacola’s Tallest Christmas Light Display. Blue Anchor Belles performing live. Free admission. More info: pensacolalighthouse.org
11 am – 2 pm., Sat., Dec. 14
Flora-Bama – 17401 Perdido Key Dr.
Santa drops in by parachute at the Flora-Bama on the beach. Bring the family and enjoy the fun.
Times vary – Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Winterfest’s premier tour features nearly 20 performances along a 60-minute trolley trip through Downtown Pensacola. Singing guides accompany you into a world of wonder with scenes from your favorite holiday memories. Along the way, Scrooge, The Polar Express, Peanuts, and even the Grinch will get on board to share the spirit of Christmas. 2019 stops will feature The Nativity, Island of Misfit Toys and other elements, including a new stop inspired by Home Alone.
WALTON BEACH/DESTIN AREA
Hours vary through Dec. 24
Destin Commons- 4100 Legendary Drive
Children can visit Santa’s Wonderland in Bass Pro Shops, have a free photo taken and enjoy free crafts and games.
Dust off those skates and get in the winter spirit at Baytowne on Ice. For those visitors who miss the cold and ice, our seasonal ice rink is the perfect opportunity to share some of your favorite holiday traditions. More info: http://www.baytownewharf.com
Cheer Santa on as he makes his way to Baytowne and watch as he lights our Village tree! Enjoy face-painting, kids’ crafts and a beautiful fireworks display! Free admission. More info: baytownewharf.com
Destin Christmas Tree Lighting
6-9 pm, Thurs., Dec. 5
Destin Community Center – 101 Stahlman Ave.
33rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting is an outdoor event for the entire family with a visit from Santa Claus, entertainment from local choruses, musical groups plus refreshments. Donations of canned food will be collected for families in need. More info: 850-654-5184.
Fort Walton Beach Tree Lighting
12-7 pm, Sat., Dec. 7
Fort Walton Beach Landing – 139 Brooks St. SE
Traditional City of Fort Walton Beach Tree Lighting Event at 5:30 pm. Christmas shopping with local vendors and businesses, food vendors and restaurants, live entertainment, kids activities and much more. More info: shop.downtownfwb.com.
Christmas Miracle Children’s Fiesta
2-7 pm, Sun., Dec. 15
Santa Rosa Mall – 300 Mary Esther Blvd.
15th Annual Emerald Coast Christmas Miracle Children’s Fiesta is a free, Latin-flavored party open to all and focused on giving area children and their families an opportunity to have a great and enjoyable time together. More info: unitedforagoodcause.org or 850-218-2419.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Event Plaza is turning into a Winter Wonderland full of real snow! Slide down the ice slide, make snow angels and enjoy a day of frosty fun for the whole family. More info: baytownewharf.com.
10 am – 4 pm, Mon., Dec. 23
Emerald Coast Science Center – 31 Memorial Pkwy.
Open special hours because it will be snowing at the Science Center for a day of fun snow-themed activities. Between making snow slime, participating in snowball fights, and crafting glitter snowflake or snowman ornaments, there’s tons of fun for everyone. More info. ecscience.org
NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS
New Year’s Eve Gala
8 pm – 12 am, Tues., Dec. 31
Navarre Conference Center – 8700 Navarre Pkwy.
Celebrate the New Year in “The Roaring 20s” fashion with the Pink Pirates of Navarre, a local non-profit with a mission to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise money to fund mammograms for those who do not have insurance. The New Year’s Eve Gala includes a prime rib dinner, live music, dancing, raffles and a midnight champagne toast. For more information email Frankie Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/pinkpiratesnavarre.
11th Penguin Plunge ‘n Paddle
12 – 4 pm, Wed., Jan. 1, 2020
1451 Navarre Beach Causeway
Celebrate the first day of the year and “freezin’ for a reason.” The event benefits local suicide prevention groups. For more information, call 850-939-1092 or visit www.juanaspagodas.com/PenguinPlunge.htm.
3rd Annual Pirate Plunge
10 am – 4 pm, Wed., Jan. 1, 2020
8579 Gulf Blvd., Navarre Beach
Arrr you ready to take the plunge? This charity event for Healing Paws for Warriors features a plunge into the Gulf of Mexico at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier followed by an after party at Broussard’s Bayou Grill & Bar. The Rowdies will rock the stage along with food and drink specials. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PiratesOnThePanhandle.