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Holiday traditions return to Tallahassee; see what's planned this December

Posted at 11:44 AM, Nov 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-27 11:44:14-05
  • There are multiple, free seasonal activities happening around Tallahassee this December.
  • The city is celebrating 37 years of winter festivals.
  • See the whole lineup of festivities in the news release below.


The City of Tallahassee is spreading festive cheer all December long! A joyful lineup of popular events including Winter Festival, Holiday Stroll, Santa Calling, Elf Night and Soul Santa have returned for the holiday season, and the spectacular light display in Dorothy B. Oven Park is open and shining bright each night.

Winter Festival - a Celebration of Lights, Music and the Arts

Celebrate the holiday season with the community on Saturday, Dec. 2, as the 37th annual Winter Festival fills downtown Tallahassee with holly jolly festivities from 3-10 p.m. In addition to food vendors, arts and crafts merchants and sparkling holiday lights, Winter Festival has multiple ways to enjoy the evening with your loved ones.

Start your evening with family-friendly movies and crafts in the children's activity area, and catch live entertainment as local actors, dancers and musicians take the stage at four locations downtown. As the sun begins to set, take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane. You can also still sign up to participate in the Jingle Bell Run to catch a glimpse of the magical holiday scenery ornamenting the city. Watch the Chain of Parks come to life with thousands of twinkling lights as the lighting ceremony commemorates the start of the season and be sure to secure your spot early for the nighttime parade.

For more information about this year's Winter Festival activities, visit [].

Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane in McCarty Park opens at Winter Festival on Dec. 2. Enjoy a stroll through the festive light display from 3-10 p.m. and embrace the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Candy Cane Lane [] will also be open nightly from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 3-10 for visitors to come back to enjoy later in the week.

Holiday Stroll through Cascades Park

On Saturday, Dec. 9, you can sing and dance to merry melodies as they fill the air of Cascades Park, 1001 S. Gadsden St., from 6-7:30 p.m. at the annual Holiday Stroll.

Hitting happy notes, about a dozen different acts will showcase their talents throughout the winding trails of Cascades Park, including within Althemese Pemberton Barnes Park at Smokey Hollow. The musical stylings include carolers, choruses, instrumentals and more!

As you stroll through the park letting the sights and sounds of the season warm your spirit, treat yourself to free hot cocoa and cookies, while supplies last. Check [] closer to the event date for more details.

Santa Calling

Let the City of Tallahassee add some extra holiday magic to the season by registering for a call from Santa for your little one. This heartwarming event takes place Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6-8:30 p.m. Registration opens Monday, Nov. 27, on [].

Elf Night at Dorothy B. Oven Park

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a whole host of elves will make an appearance at Dorothy B. Oven Park's annual Elf Night on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 5:30-8 p.m. Over 250,000 lights will twinkle against the night sky, transforming the park into a winter wonderland fit for Santa and all his arctic friends. Visitors are invited to take a stroll around the decorated grounds and let Santa know all the items on their holiday wish list.

If you'd like to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, upon arrival, check-in on the front lawn to be assigned a ticket number, which will allow you to enjoy the festivities until your number is called. While enjoying Elf Night, parents will want to have their cameras ready to record all the smiles and wonderment on their children's faces. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided by Santa's little helpers, while supplies last.

For safety reasons, vehicles will not be allowed to drive through Oven Park, which is located at 3205 Thomasville Road, during the event. Public parking will be available next to the park at Thomasville Road Baptist Church, 3131 Thomasville Road.

Motorists traveling along Thomasville Road are urged to drive with caution in the vicinity of the park that night. Drivers who typically use Thomasville Road and who are not attending Elf Night should consider using an alternate route. Delays are expected due to heavier than normal traffic along the road during the event.

The holiday light display is currently open through Jan. 1 from 6-10 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30-11 p.m. on weekends. Visitors can drive through or walk the grounds, weather permitting. Use caution if driving through the park.

For more information about Elf Night and the holiday light display at Dorothy B. Oven Park, call the special holiday hotline at 850-891-3555.

Soul Santa Events

Soul Santa and Mrs. Claus are on a mission to make spirits bright this holiday season with free gifts for children.

Soul Santa is for children up to age 10. Registration is required. Events take place on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Walker-Ford Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the LeVerne Payne Community Center from 2:30-6 p.m.

Registration will begin Dec. 2 and be available via []. An announcement will be posted on PRNA's Facebook [] and Twitter [] accounts once registration opens.

The LeVerne Payne Community Center is located at 450 W. Fourth Avenue, and the Walker-Ford Community Center is located at 2301 Pasco Street.

For additional information about other events sponsored by the City of Tallahassee's Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs (PRNA) department, visit []. You can also stay up-to-date by liking the department on Facebook [] or following @COTparks on Twitter [] and Instagram [].