Just because it’s getting colder outside doesn’t mean you need to stay inside. The holidays are right around the corner and there’s no better way to get in the spirit than getting out and enjoying what Pensacola has to offer. Whether you’re on the beach or downtown, there’s an event for you.
▶Christmas in Seville
Magical Winter Wonderland
Seville Quarter will already be showing its spirit at the “Blue Christmas” stop on the Winterfest trolley tour, but you can also take in their version of a winter wonderland.
“When we were breaking down the haunted house, we thought of turning the props into a fun, family winter wonderland,” said owner Buck Mitchell. “It’s really going to be neat.”
This interactive experience includes a visit to the toy shop, an island Christmas and a candy cane maze. The upcoming dates are Friday, Dec. 10, Saturday, Dec. 11, Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. With tickets priced at $5, you can take the whole family. Purchase tickets at Seville Quarter; for party reservations, call 723-5760.
▶“Christmas on the Coast”
The Pensacola Children’s Chorus will perform a Broadway-style holiday event featuring the best seasonal music, stunning costumes and staging and choreographed numbers at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre. “Christmas on the Coast” will be held Friday, Dec. 10 to Sunday, Dec. 12. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday performance begins at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $18 to $30. You can purchase tickets through ticketmaster.com or pensacolasaenger.com
Beat the chilly weather with spicy chili at Bamboo Willie’s Annual Chili Cook-Off. Proceeds benefit Deputy Jeremy Cassady who was shot in a hostage situation in late October. The event is Saturday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. To sign up your teams, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 916-9888.
“This is the first year for the event,” said Maureen LaMar, executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce. “We hope it’s a big turnout.”
▶Pensacola Christmas Parade
For its third year, the Cox Communications-sponsored parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 11 at 5:15 p.m., starting at the corner of Palafox and Wright streets. More than 50 floats with various themes will march through downtown Pensacola. The parade will feature marching bands from all Escambia County high schools, along with the Blue Angels flight team. U.S. Postal Service mail carriers will be walking alongside Santa’s sleigh to collect letters written to Santa. No postage is necessary.
▶Lighted Boat Parade
Saturday, Dec. 11 starting at 7 p.m., the Lighted Boat Parade will travel from the Pensacola Beach Marina to Flounder’s Chowder House. Children will be given lights to illuminate Santa’s arrival at the Flounder’s landing site.
“The Lighted Boat Parade and the Surfing Santa Beach Parade are the most popular events we have on Pensacola Beach,” said Maureen LaMar, executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber.
▶Surfing Santa Beach Parade
On Monday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m., floats will make their way down the island’s main street spreading holiday cheer, candy and trinkets for children of all ages. The parade begins at Via DeLuna and delivers Santa to the Gulfside Pavilion where children can talk to Mr. Claus himself.
▶Gingerbread Make and Take
Monday, Dec. 13 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tiki Island Golf and Games you are invited to create your most magical and delicious gingerbread beach house. The event is free, but you need to bring your own bag of hard candies. For more information, call Tiki Island Golf and Games at 932-1550.
▶Ice Skating at the Pensacola Civic Center
You don’t have to be an Olympic figure skater to enjoy the ice; in fact, falling down is half the fun.
On Sunday, Dec. 12 the rink is open for public ice skating from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 17, Monday, Dec. 27 and Thursday, Dec. 30 you can skate after the Ice Flyers hockey game from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. From Saturday, Dec. 18 to Thursday, Dec. 23 the rink is open to the public from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8, including skate rental. If you already have your own blades, tickets are $5, and if you’re in a group of 15 people or more the rate is $6 including skate rental. Tickets are available at the box office, 432-0800, Charge by Phone, 800-745-3000, or ticketmaster.com
Pensacola’s Saenger Theatre presents the ultimate holiday story. Performed by Pensacola Ballet, this annual event features the classic music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which accompanies the story of Clara and her dream Nutcracker Prince. The performances will run Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., while the Sunday, Dec. 19 performance will begin at 1:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary from $17 to $30. You can purchase tickets through ticketmaster.com or pensacolasaenger.com
▶Sip and Sing Caroling Tour
Get to the Sandshaker early to pick up your boarding pass for the open air bus which will stop at each island bar to entertain patrons. The tour begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. You must be 21 or older to ride. For more details, call 932-2211.
▶Santa Claus Look-Alike and Sexy Elf Contest
You finally have a reason to wear that red velvet suit in the back of your closet. The contest is Monday, Dec. 20 starting at 3:30 p.m. at Bamboo Willie’s. Sign-up is free—may the best Santa win.
“We just wanted to create an event that adults can enjoy during the holidays,” said general manager Robert Gleim in an e-mail interview. “Grand prize is bragging rights for a year and a few door prizes from beach businesses. It’s a great reason to come out to the beach. There’s no stress at this party.”
You can sign up the day of the contest or call ahead at 916-9888.
▶Santa and His Paparazzi Photo Session
From 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, you can get your picture taken with Santa in the Christmas Room at Island Style for a nominal charge. For more information, call 934-3100.
▶Pensacola Little Theatre Cabaret Singers Present “Holiday Revue”
Directed by Andy W. Davis, the “Holiday Revue” will include classic Christmas songs and modern holiday tunes. Almost two dozen local talents will sing and dance right into your heart.
Those talented locals are: Jerry Ahillen, Allison Bailey, Jessica Bare, Roy Bracken, Andy W. Davis, Scott W. Haring, Kathy Holsworth, Sam Holsworth, Jennifer Knisbell, Musetta Jensen, Emily Mixon, Sherron Moore, Caroline Gibson, A. Mark Palmer, Gavin Parmley, Joanna Robbins Hayes, Wes Shoemaker, Sheryl VandenBerg and Patrick Winkles.
Tickets are $17 for café seating and $10 for general admission. Performances are Monday, Dec. 20 to Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets at the Pensacola Little Theatre box office or by phone at 432-2042. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
▶Candlelight and Carols
You’re invited to join the choir of the Pensacola Community Church in their annual caroling tradition. The event is free and starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24.
No matter where you decide to enjoy the holidays, remember that there is a plethora of fun and free activities right where you are.
“We embrace the holidays,” said LaMar. “Santa is a magical spirit; he can be anywhere in the world. We encourage locals to embrace our community. We want to bring the community together to celebrate the holidays.”