It’s about time to make your list and check it twice…for holiday events, that is. Before you know it, a new year will be here, so enjoy what’s left of 2011. Whether you’re waiting for Santa’s debut at the Christmas parade or riding the Winterfest trolley, it’s the most wonderful time of the year to have holiday fun in Pensacola.
Christmas Open House
The 9th Avenue Design District will hold its Open House Thursday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Home décor stores along 9th Avenue such as Urban Objects, Duh and Inside the Home (to name a few) will be participating. Enjoy drinks and food, as well as extended shopping hours to get those gifts you didn’t buy last week.
Nights Before Christmas
The 5,000 ft. indoor interactive walk-thru features a candy-cane maze, pictures with Santa and a magical sleigh ride tunnel. The walk-thru will be every Friday and Saturday from Dec. 2 though Dec. 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Seville Quarter, 131 E. Government St. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. For more information call 434-6211 or go to sevillequarter.com.
Winterfest creates a Winter Wonderland in downtown Pensacola. All Winterfest tours begin at Christmas Town Wonderland in front of the courthouse. Santa’s Workshop Revue performs free entertainment for those passing by or waiting for Santa’s Express Tour and the original Performance Tour, which takes passengers through 11 stops to see holiday characters such as Frosty the Snowman and the Whos of Whoville. Prices and dates vary for each tour. For more details go to pensacolawinterfest.org.
A Christmas Carol
University of West Florida presents the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” This is UWF’s fifth season adapting the holiday tale. The play opens Thursday, Dec. 1 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 4 then again from Thursday, Dec. 8 to Sunday Dec. 11. To purchase tickets call the box office at 857-6285.
44th Annual Snowball Derby
There may not be snow, but the Snowball Derby is an unexpected way to celebrate the season. The races begin Thursday, Dec. 1 and end Saturday, Dec. 3. Pits open at 8 a.m. at the Five Flags Speedway. For those who have the need for speed go to 5flagsspeedway.com.
No holiday is complete without a walk around the Gulf Breeze Zoo. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and take a ride on the train. Starting Friday, Dec. 2, the Zoo Lights continue every weekend of the month of December from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19 you can see the lights during the week. Tickets are $8, $5 for zoo members and $3 for train rides. For more information go to gulfbreezezoo.org.
Christmas on the Beach
Pensacola Beach has plenty to do for the young and young at heart. Start the season at Our Lady Catholic Church for Joy for the Beach, presented by the Pensacola Beach Optimists Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Also check out the Lighted Boat Parade, Friday, Dec. 9 starting at 6 p.m. at the Sabine Marina. Saturday, Dec. 10 start the day at Surf Burger for breakfast with Surfing Santa at 8 a.m. At 8 p.m. head to Bamboo Willies for the Santa Look Alike Contest. On Sunday, Dec. 11 Island Style is having a free ornament making event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. At 2 p.m. the Surfing Santa Parade begins at Via de Luna and ends at Casino Beach. After the parade you can make your own gingerbread house at the Gulfside Pavillion on Casino Beach. Friday, Dec. 16 it’s a Christmas Cupcake Factory at Tiki Island starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18 take your picture with Santa at Island Style at the Santa and his Paparazzi event. On Christmas Eve attend Candlelight at Carols at Pensacola Beach Community Church at 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2 you can help light the 150 ft. Christmas tree and tour the decorated Keeper’s Quarters at the lighthouse. Listen to Christmas stories in the parlor while nibbling on cookies and sipping hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Santa will also be in attendance. On Thursday, Dec. 22 visit the lighthouse for an old-fashioned Christmas tea. There will also be hot wassail, hot chocolate and cookies. More information at pensacolalighthouse.org.
Holiday Evening in Old Seville Square
The McGuire’s Pipe Band will kick off the evening with Jared Willets and the Channel 3 morning team reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The event is presented by the Pensacola Heritage Foundation at Seville Square. Join the fun, Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Thursday, Dec. 22 sing along at the Carols in Old Seville Square from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. More information at pensacolaheritage.org
1940s Radio Hour
The Pensacola Little Theatre presents a show within a show. The old-fashioned situation comedy revolves around the last broadcast of a small New York radio station during Christmastime 1942. The play opens Friday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 11 and continues Friday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 18. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $14 to $30 and are available at pensacolalittletheatre.com.
A Tuna Christmas
A comedic alternative to the holiday classics, “A Tuna Christmas,” takes place on Christmas Eve in a small Texas town. The town’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” may not take place because of unpaid electric bills and a Christmas Phantom is destroying lawn decorations. Not your typical yuletide tale. The Theatre West production runs Friday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 11 and continues Friday, Dec. 16 to Sunday, Dec. 18. For more information go to: sanctuarytheatrewest.com. Tickets are $15 and may be reserved by calling the theatre box office at 912-4087 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas in the Coast
It’s almost like caroling only you don’t have to walk door-to-door and you don’t have to sing. The Pensacola Children’s Chorus shines on the Saenger stage Friday, Dec. 9 to Sunday, Dec. 11. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows start at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 to $34 and are available at ticketmaster.com or pensacolasaenger.com.
Pensacola Christmas Parade
It’s an obvious choice, but a good one nonetheless. Saturday, Dec. 10 at 5:15 p.m. you can hear Escambia County’s high school marching bands, see the Blue Angels flight team and of course catch candy and beads. After the parade, is the Christmas Parade Dash sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association. More information can be found at coxpensacolachristmasparade.org.
Pensacola Civic Band Holiday Concert
The Pensacola Civic Band will be playing holiday tunes at the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium at Pensacola State College Monday, Dec. 12 and Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5, reserve yours by calling 484-1847.
The quintessential holiday performance. Ballet Pensacola will be performing “The Nutcracker” Friday, Dec. 16 until Sunday, Dec. 18. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday shows start at 1:30 p.m. at the Saenger Theatre. Ticket prices are $20 to $32 and are available at ticketmaster.com or pensacolasaenger.com.
Ho Ho Hustle 5K
Bring the whole family for this friendly 5K sponsored by Running Wild. Kids can participate for free in the Santa Sprint following the race. The race begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3012 E. Cervantes St. Early registration fee is $20. Sign up by Friday, Dec. 16. Race day registration is $35. More information at werunwild.com or 435-9222.
It’s like a live Christmas mix tape. All of your favorite seasonal tunes are sung in “Holiday Cabaret.” Presented by Pensacola Little Theatre, “Holiday Cabaret” involves the talent of almost two dozen local performers. The event runs from Monday, Dec. 19 to Tuesday, Dec. 21. Ticket prices are $10 to $17 and are available at pensacolalittletheatre.com.