City of Tampa Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa Fest and Christmas Parade set for December 4th

Tampa’s Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade are back!  Tampa is kicking off the holiday season with the City of Tampa’s Official Tree Lighting Ceremony, 40th Annual Santa Fest and Christmas Parade all on Saturday, December 4!

Festivities begin at 1:30 p.m. as the Christmas Parade rolls through Downtown Tampa.  Colorful floats, three marching bands and joining us all the way from the North Pole — Santa Claus! There will be beads, candy and other goodies tossed to onlookers as we usher in the holidays!

The parade begins at Madison and Pierce Streets. Heads west on Madison Street then turns north onto Ashley Drive, and ends at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.  The best viewing area is along Madison Street from Pierce Street to Tampa Street.  

Parade viewers are encouraged to arrive by noon to avoid road closure and to get a good spot along the parade route.  For parking options, please visit the City of Tampa Parking Division for a list and map of parking lots/garages.

After the parade, head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for 40th Annual Santa Fest from 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  Bring your little elves to Santa Fest for a free keepsake Photo with Santa presented by AdventHealth Care.

The Junior League MILO (Mobile Interactive Literacy Opportunity) will be handing out free books, and there will be continuous holiday entertainment on stage, face painters, make-n-take crafts, interactive games, bounce houses, a rock wall, and a Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt. Find all the candy canes and win stocking stuffed with all sorts of goodies!

At 6 p.m., WFLA’s Jennifer Leigh and Old Saint Nick will join Mayor Jane Castor on stage to light the seven Christmas Trees transforming Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park into an illuminated winter wonderland.

Once the trees are lit, the “bad banana” of the holidays, The Grinch, will be shown on big screen. The movie is presented by the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.  Stick around after the movie for a choreographed light show in the park.


Tampa’s Tree Lighting and Santa Fest are sponsored by WFLA News Channel 8, Magic 94.9, Tampa Bay Times, Advent Health and presented by the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.

For more information, please visit the Friends of Tampa Recreation on the web at or on Facebook.

City of Tampa Christmas Trees photo/Facebook

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