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The Tallahassee Winter Festival kicked off 2017’s holiday season on Dec. 2

tonycurtis1 By tonycurtis1 | December 22, 2017 | United States

Florida is home to 67 counties and over 400 cities, towns and villages—each with a unique local character. Looking for proof? Look no further than the distinct holiday celebrations hosted by communities across the Sunshine State.

Tallahassee, Fla. -- For the past 31 years, our state capital has kicked off the holiday season with the Tallahassee Winter Festival.  Although it started as a small tree lighting ceremony outside City Hall, the event has become one of the largest festivals in the southeast. 

 Now, every year Tallahassee’s McCarty Park is transformed into a Candy Cane Lane.  Floats are endowed with Christmas lights for a nighttime parade.  The Lighting Ceremony in Bloxham Park kicks off a Jingle Bell Run where runners take a nearly 2-mile hike dressed in Christmas garb.

 “The festival appeals to families and people throughout the community regardless of what their holiday tradition is,” said Ashley Edwards of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department.  “It’s something that brings the community together to kick off that holiday season, which is why we’re so happy to do it each year.”

 But turning Downtown Tallahassee into a winter wonderland is no small feat.  “We’ll begin planning next year’s festival as soon as this year ends,” said Edwards.  Although the Parks & Recreation Department heads up the event, everyone from police and fire to utilities and solid waste play a part.

 “It’s a labor of love,” Edwards said. “Everyone involved sees the joy on the kids’ faces when Santa rides down Monroe in a fire truck and they’re back to help out next year.”

 The Tallahassee Winter Festival kicked off 2017’s holiday season on Dec. 2

Join us for the 31st annual Winter Festival - A Celebration of Lights, Music and the Arts. This Saturday, Dec. 2, from 3-10 p.m., downtown Tallahassee will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with holiday wreaths, merry music and sparkling lights. Winter Festival 2017 includes the usual crowd-pleasing elements of the lighting ceremony (6 p.m.), Capital Health Plan Jingle Bell Run (6:15 p.m.), Nighttime Holiday Parade (7:15 p.m.) and lots more. The festival also features five stages of local live entertainment, a Candy Cane Lane exhibit with special live candy making demonstrations by Lofty Pursuits, a children's activity area on Kleman Plaza, food vendors, arts and crafts merchants and holiday illumination displays. This year's theme is "Flurries of Fun."

Source: Keep It Local Florida

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