The Best Upcoming Holiday Shows and Events in the Tampa Bay Area

Before the Thanksgiving leftovers are wrapped up, it’s time to think about making Christmas memories with tickets to a show or a visit to a light-filled attraction.

Many have already sprung up and many more are arriving from the weekend after Thanksgiving. Here are some highlights to consider.

Shows

The night before: This comedy at the Freefall Theater is reminiscent of classic holiday TV specials, but with a modern twist in its depiction of a “fabulous night with the family you choose,” created by Matthew McGee and Michael Raabe. McGee calls the show a mash-up of “Andy Williams meets ‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse.'” It runs from November 25 to December 25. 24. Tickets are $25 to $55 at freefalltheatre.com or 727-498-5205. 6099 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg.

Florida Orchestra: Holiday Pops: One of the most popular shows of the year has the orchestra playing all the favourites, from ‘Sleigh Ride’ to ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘White Christmas’, with the audience singing ‘Joy to the World’ and d other Christmas carols. Bob Bernhardt conducts with singer Denzal Sinclaire and the Tampa Oratorio Singers. Tickets are $18 to $60 for five shows Dec. 9-11 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Mahaffey Theater and Ruth Eckerd Hall. floridaorchestra.org.

Next Generation Ballet’s “Nutcracker” will be at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa from December 16-18. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times (2020)  ]

Nutcracker : The popular ballet can be found on Tampa Bay-area calendars, including Next Generation Ballet’s “Nutcracker” at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa Dec. 16-18. And at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, the show was renamed in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Talmi Entertainment has announced that its flagship production, “Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker”, has been renamed “The Nutcracker! Magic of Christmas Ballet” for three shows on November 25 and 26 at the Mahaffey.

Theme parks and attractions

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: For its 10th year, the Tampa theme park will once again be covered in lights starting Nov. 13. But new this year is a holiday-themed fireworks show starting November 19 on select nights, as well as a daily projection show on the Serengeti Overlook. building, a 32-foot-tall Christmas tree in the Jungala area of ​​the park, and stage performances ranging from a “Christmas on Ice” to “Elmo’s Christmas Wish” and a live show with Christmas carols and music. Irish dance. From Nov. 14 to Jan. 9, included with admission. buschgardens.com/tampa.

Thousands of lights decorate Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.  The event, now in its 10th year, runs until January 9.
Thousands of lights decorate Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. The event, now in its 10th year, runs until January 9. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times (2021) ]
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Enchant Christmas: Tropicana Field has been transformed into a huge maze of light including the new “Santa’s Magic Timepiece” created from over 4 million twinkling lights. There’s also a 100-foot-tall holiday tree, an ice skating rink, live entertainment, visits from Santa, and a village market. Kids are free Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 and 14. Open Nov. 25-Jan. 1. $35 and up, $20 for ages 3-17, $32 for seniors and military on enchantchristmas .com.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: This after-hours event with additional Magic Kingdom tickets started on November 8 and has already sold out several nights. It features a themed parade, fireworks, stage shows, dance parties and characters in cheerful outfits. Also look for holiday overlays from attractions such as Jungle Cruise (renamed Jingle Cruise), Space Mountain, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Mad Tea Party and Tomorrowland Speedway. Ticket prices range from $149 to $199, depending on the date. disneyworld.disney.go.com.

Max, the loyal and reluctant companion of the Grinch, is part of the ice sculpture exhibits at ICE at Gaylord Palms from November 18 to January 1.
Max, the loyal and reluctant companion of the Grinch, is part of the ice sculpture exhibits at ICE at Gaylord Palms from November 18 to January 1. [ Gaylord Hotels ]

Vacations at Universal Orlando: Islands of Adventure nighttime event features Grinchmas and ‘The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle’ light show, plus Universal’s Holiday Parade with giant Macy’s balloons winding through the streets of the park . The festivities are included with admission to the park from November 12 to January 1. At Universal Studios, Mannheim Steamroller performs at the park on December 3, 4, 10 and 11. Included with admission. universalorlando.com.

ICE at Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee: The fantastical ice sculptures return after a two-year absence caused by the pandemic and travel restrictions imposed on the Chinese artisans who build them. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will be the centerpiece, featuring a dozen scenes from the classic Dr. Seuss story in a display that uses food coloring and LEDs to enhance the sculptures and decor. There will also be tube sliding, gingerbread decorating, an escape room, and stage shows including storytellers and “Cirque: Spirit of Christmas.” The exhibit space is kept at 9 degrees, so bring your mittens and use the parkas provided. It operates daily from November 18 to January 1. 1. Admission prices vary by date, ranging from $29.99 to $39.99 ($19.99 to $26.99 for ages 4 to 11) on christmasatgaylordpalms.com. 6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park will shine with thousands of lights in holiday-themed areas of the zoo for 16 select nights from November 25 through December 30.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park will shine with thousands of lights in holiday-themed areas of the zoo for 16 select nights from November 25 through December 30. [ ZooTampa ]

Christmas in nature: ZooTampa at Lowry Park will shine with thousands of lights in holiday-themed areas of the zoo for 16 select nights from November 25 through December 25. 30. This year brings expanded light displays, including a new Asian newspaper “Lantern Lullaby”, and festive entertainment such as the new Gingerbread Jubilee, featuring Mayor Molasses and the citizens of Gingerbread Village. There will also be two sunset light shows with twinkling lights and festive music, animal encounters, and holiday-themed food and drink specials. Admission is $29.95 at zootampa.org. Members and those with a “Pay for a Day, Come Back All Year” are free, although there is a $5 reservation fee which will be refunded on entry in the form of a $5 voucher $ for food and merchandise. Event capacity is limited, so online reservations are encouraged. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on event nights from November 25 through December 25. 30. 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa.

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