Tampa Bay decking the halls for the holidays with ‘Santa Fest Christmas Parade’

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The City of Tampa and the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc. announced this year’s holiday happenings in downtown Tampa. Get your calendars ready.

The City of Tampa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2016. A 10-piece horn band called Late Night Brass will be playing as the tree lights up.

The Buckhorns, who are Tampa’s first family, will do the honors of officially lighting the 30-foot Christmas Tree around 8 p.m.

After the tree lighting, you can enjoy the iconic holiday movie “A Christmas Story” for free.

And for you chicken lovers, the Chick-Fil-A Cows will be handing out free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches throughout the night.

Santa Claus comes to town the very next day on Saturday, December 3, 2016, during the 35th Annual Santa Fest and Christmas Parade.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. and you can expect to see floats, dancing troops, marching band, crazy characters and of course Santa Claus himself.

The parade begins at Madison and Pierce streets. Heads west on Madison Street then turns north onto Ashley Drive and ends at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The city said the best viewing area is along Madison Street from Pierce Street to Tampa Street. So get your spots early!

The city said you can park along these streets:

  • Royal Street, 1200 N. Tampa Street
  • Jackson Street, E. Kennedy Blvd & Jackson Street
  • Ft. Brooke Garage, 107 N. Franklin Street

After the parade, the fun continues in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with Santa Fest. Bring your little elves to take a free photo with Santa. The holiday entertainment also continues featuring the Tampa Gym & Dance Show Stars, Jordan Williams, Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy, Blake High School Choir and the City of Tampa Pre-School Ballet. There will also be interactive games, bounce houses, a rock wall, make-n-take crafts and giveaways until 4 p.m.

For more information, please visit the Friends of Tampa Recreation on the web at www.friendsoftamparec.org.

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