A Guide to Holiday Happenings Around Town

By Giggle Magazine

By Mercedes Leguizamon

The holidays are a very busy time. Between buying and wrapping presents and getting your Christmas dinner together, sometimes holiday fun with the family falls to the wayside. This year, we have put together a list of some local holiday events you can attend with your family to keep in the merry spirit of the month!

November 24 – December 17

Kirby Family Farm’s Christmas Express

6–10 p.m.

Kirby Family Farm


Experience a train ride through thousands of Christmas lights, activities and amusement rides. There will also be live entertainment and a visit from Santa.

December 1

Light the Village

5–9 p.m.

Haile Village Center


Little ones will love this free holiday event packed with crafts, games and other fun activities.

December 1

Pond Lighting 2017

5:30–8 p.m.

North Florida Regional Medical Center


In benefit of Toys for Tots, this night will be filled with lights, music and fun, all outside of the North Florida Regional Medical Center.

December 1

Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa Visit

6–8 p.m.

Downtown Main Street Park


Enjoy a tree lighting ceremony followed by a visit from Santa Claus during this holiday celebration.

December 1–23

Festival of Lights

5:30–9:00 p.m.

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park


Ranked a Top 20 Event in the Southeastern United States, this festival will ignite the holiday spirit in the whole family. The Classic Festival of Lights is $3 per person and the Drive Through Only Nights are $2 per person. Children under 3 are free.

December 2

Santa Visits Do Art!

1:30–5:30 p.m.

Do Art with Yopp!


Create your own holiday gifts or Santa cookie plate. Santa will be in attendance and he will be available for pictures.

December 2

A Children’s Holiday at Santa Fe

2 & 6 p.m.

Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall


Bring the kiddos out to enjoy Winter Wonderland magic with crafts and refreshments before a Holiday musical performance they are sure to love. Do not miss your chance to see Santa Claus after the show! Children and UF Student tickets are $9, adults are $15.

December 2

Light up Micanopy

5:30–7 p.m.

Town of Micanopy


This community event has student performances, food, live and silent auctions and a visit from Santa and his special lady, Mrs. Claus.

December 2

Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

6–8 p.m.

Historic Thomas Center


Bring the family to watch the lighting of a giant holiday tree, listen to caroling and music from local groups, and see Santa himself! Admission is free.

December 3

Annual Homestead Holidays

Noon – 4 p.m.

Historic Haile Homestead


Enjoy a Victorian Holiday with free admission and carriage rides around the Victorian plantation homes. Visit with Santa, enjoy live music and sip hot apple cider all while perusing local vendors.

December 8

Candlelight Visits

6–9 p.m.

Historic Haile Homestead


Take this rare opportunity to see the Homestead house at night, glowing with candles and holiday spirit. Enjoy live music and refreshments. Tickets are $7 online in advance or $10 at the door. Children under 12 are free!

December 9

Christmas at the Park

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Worthington Springs


Join Santa and the Grinch for a festival at the Ballpark. If your child loves snow cones and bounces houses, this is the festival for you!

December 9

Danscompany presents Cinderella

1:30 & 7 p.m.

Philips Center for the Performing Arts


Bring the family out to experience this classic. Meet Cinderella, the Prince, and all of your favorite dancers after each show. General admission is $15; children under 10 are free with a new, unwrapped toy or book.

December 9

Alachua Christmas Parade

2–3 p.m.

Main Street


Take the kiddos out to see Santa, floats and bands as they make their way down Main Street in Alachua, Florida!

December 9–10

All Aboard! Holiday Train Show

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday: 1–5 p.m.

Alachua County Library District’s Headquarters Library

Take the family out to the library to enjoy a model train show and interactive displays including Thomas the Tank Engine. Admission is free.

December 13

The Nutcracker Mommy and Me on Stage

5 p.m.

Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts


With mommy’s company, children can join Dance Alive National Ballet in their final rehearsal for The Nutcracker.

December 16

Breakfast with Santa and Friends

Chick-fil-A at Oaks Mall

8–9:30 a.m.

Chick-fil-A at Oaks Mall


Be there for this Chick-Fil-A annual tradition. You can even take a picture with Santa Cow and better yet, enjoy a chick-fil-a breakfast with Santa himself!