Thanksgiving leftovers won’t even have worn out their welcome by Friday, but the Christmas celebrations will already be in full swing. Brighten up your Black Friday with these events:
Santa arrives at Pier Park at 9 a.m. Friday and will share cookies and hot chocolate with all the kids before taking up his chair at Santa’s Beach House on the boardwalk, where he will be available for photos. Santa’s Beach House will be open daily through Dec. 24. Details: Facebook.com/ShopPierPark.
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting will be 6-7 p.m. Friday at Pier Park, as Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst lights the 20-foot Christmas tree, followed by holiday carolers performing.
Over in Watercolor off County 30A, children can have breakfast with Santa 9-11 a.m. Friday morning at Fish Out of Water restaurant. Reservations: 534-5975; father/son football is 1-5 p.m. at Camp WaterColor Field at a cost of $10/player; and at 5 p.m., “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will be shown in Marina Park.
Alys In Winter Wonderland will be10 a.m. to noon Friday at Fonville Press in Alys Beach. Join Santa for cookie decorating and holiday cheer. They are also accepting unwrapped children’s gifts to donate to a local Angel Tree program.
Rosemary Beach’s Christmas Tree Lighting follows at 6 p.m. Friday on South Barrett Square. Help “turn on the town” and welcome in the holidays with caroling, Santa’s big arrival and carriage rides. Immediately following the tree lighting, visit Town Center merchants for a special evening of open houses, holiday shopping and refreshments.
Catch a public showing of the modern Christmas favorite “Elf” at the Seaside Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Bring low back chairs and blankets.
And here are more happy holiday happenings scheduled for the season:
Breakfast With Santa is 8-10 a.m. Saturday at the Rosemary Beach Town Hall. Bring the kids to Santa’s Workshop for a magical morning including a continental, bagged breakfast, a professional color photo with Santa and a special goodie bag from Gigi’s. Tickets, $10, available at the door.
FESTIVALS and MARKETS
RosemaryBeach Town Centerwill host the annual Holiday Market 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Get a jump on your holiday shopping, browse booths filled with hand-crafted gifts, pottery, jewelry, paintings and more.
Winterfest is 4-10 p.m. Saturday at the Downtown Panama City Marina with craft vendors, food vendors, a chili cook-off, kids’ activities, and a live band. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to watch college football on a 20-foot inflatable screen. The Boat Parade of Lights will pass around 5:40 p.m.
Deck The Palms from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 at the Palms Conference Center, 9201 Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, where you can get all your Christmas shopping done in one place. (If you want to be a vendor, you must RSVP by 5 p.m. today to 624-4150 or email email@example.com.) Shopping hours are 4-8 p.m. Nov. 30 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1.
The Ark will have its annual Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at 12902 Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach. Shop for hand painted ornaments, pine needle baskets, walking sticks, framed art, jewelry, leather crafts and more. Proceeds benefit Food4Kidz. Booths are available for rental. Details: 249-1980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olde Time Holiday Market will be4-8 p.m. Dec. 14-15 at the Boardwalk on Beck Avenue in St. Andrews. Step back in time with the sight and sounds of our illuminated Holiday Market, reminiscent of European Christmas markets. Details: WaterfrontMarkets.org, 763-7359 or 785-1899.
CONCERTS and PLAYS
GulfCoast StateCollege’schoir will have its annual Holiday Concert at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at GCSC’s Amelia Center Theatre. Admission is free and open to the general public.
The Chancel and Rite One Choirs of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, 222 N. Bonita Ave., will present their annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. The vocals will be enhanced by several soloists, organ, piano, flute and a string quartet. Details: 747-4000.
SeasideRepertory Theatre will present the ever-popular “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)” at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 6-29, at the Seaside Meeting Hall Theatre. For details and tickets: SeasideRep.org or 231-0733. Tickets ($12.50 for students, $25 for adults) are also on sale at Amavida Coffee in Seaside and Rosemary Beach. Get a sneak preview of the play at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, for $10 admission.
The Classic Russian Nutcracker will be at the Marina Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The Willis Ballet, in conjunction with the Harmonic Motion Ballet Theatre of Rockwall, Texas, will present the annual production including artists from the St. Petersburg (Russia) Classic Ballet Theatre in featured roles. Details: WillisBallet.com or 319-5122.
The Rader Family will host their 35th Annual Country Christmas Show at2 p.m. Dec. 15at theArnold High School Fine Arts Center, 550 Alf Coleman Rd., Panama City Beach. Admission is free. The doors open at 1 p.m. The facility is handicapped-accessible. Winter visitors are welcome. Details: Wayne Rader at 234-8983 (do not call the school).
The Annual South Walton Holiday Parade is at 4 p.m. Saturday, starting in front of the Seagrove Plaza (home to Garrett Realty and Bruno’s Pizza), and rolling past the rows of spectators down Scenic 30A, ending in Seaside, where the celebration continues with the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the 24-foot Christmas tree, along with some other surprises. Details: SeasideFL.com or Facebook.com/SeasideFlorida.
The 26th Annual Boat Parade of Lights is4-10 p.m.Saturday in Panama City with festivities at the Downtown Marina (where the Downtown Improvement Board is hosting Winter Fest) and St. Andrews Marina, which will host a Boat Parade Market. This year’s theme is “Caribbean Christmas.”
The annual Panama City Christmas Parade hosted by the Panama City Jaycees starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 1. Details: PCJaycees.org. The parade will wind along Harrison Avenue in downtown Panama City. This year’s theme is “A Toyland Christmas.”
The 12th Annual Millville Community Children’s Christmas Parade will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 7 along Third Street in Millville. Details: 872-3010.
The Panama City Beach Christmas Parade will begin at 5 p.m. Dec. 8 at Pier Park. Floats from businesses, schools, entertainment and community groups, individuals, marching bands and car clubs will travel throughout Pier Park and down the Boardwalk to Front Beach Road.
The Ninth Annual Festival of Trees is Monday through Dec. 1 at Bay Banquet Hall, 5420 Hickory St. in Panama City. This year’s festival takes you back to the post-war 1940s when jazz, swing and big band music were popular with the “It’s a Wonderful Life” theme. Families and individuals alike can enjoy the sights and sounds of the season during special mini-events or during general admission.
All proceeds help Bethel Village, the Rescue Mission's home for recovering or homeless women and mothers. Tickets are required, so call ahead to RSVP/get tickets for special events and general admission. General admission tickets also are available at door. Details: Amanda Bawn at email@example.com or 481-1093.
Oaks by the Bay Park Christmas Tree Lighting will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 off Beck Avenue in St. Andrews.Join friends, family and neighbors for a hometown event. Special holiday greetings and music will be provided before the traditional flipping of the switch. Details: HistoricStAndrews.com, or call 785-1899 or 872-7208.
OTHER HOLIDAY EVENTS
Somethin’s Cookin’, 93 E. 11th St. in Panama City, will have a course on Holiday Appetizers at10:30 a.m. Dec. 4. Watch Hannelore Holland prepare warm gumbo dip with French baguette, a baked Camembert with pears and mushrooms and a bleu cheese appetizer, which all can be made ahead for holiday parties. Eat the dishes prepared, then leave with the recipes. Reservations and pricing: 769-8979.
The Panama City Publishing Museum in St. Andrews will have its Dickens Christmas Village on displayduring its regular operating hours1-5 p.m. through Dec. 20. See more than 100 illuminated miniature buildings, figurines and snow-covered landscaping details. Information: 872-7208 or HistoricStAndrews.com.
A Bay County Christmas will be 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 6 at Boardwalk Beach Resort, 9450 S. Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach. It’s a great big Christmas party with a live DJ, dancing, food, cocktails and fun, benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bay County. Admission is $25 per person (with a limited number of tickets available). Details: 763-2076 or 258-4784.
Downtown Panama City will host one Dickens of a Christmas 5-9 p.m.Dec. 7, 14 and 21, with horsedrawn carriage rides, free ice skating, carolers, concerts and extended shopping hours.
The JL 5K Reindeer Race & 1-Mile Santa Shuffle is Dec. 8 at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach. Race-day registration begins at 7 a.m.; 5K starts at 8 a.m.; 1 mile shuffle begins at 9 a.m. under a balloon archway and makes one down-and-back lap along the flat loop of the park.
Ages 12 and under receive a custom reindeer medal upon completion of the 5K, and the top three finishers in numerous age groups receive handmade reindeer ornament medals. Little racers receive a “squishy Santa” at the completion of 1-mile shuffle.
The 5K costs $20 through today, $25 after; 1 mile costs $10 through today, $15 after that. (No additional fee to enter the park for race participants and their families on race day.) First 300 paid participants receive a race T-shirt. Registration forms: Active.com. Details: JLPanamaCity.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pier Park will host a Pet Photo Day 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9in the Santa House next to Kilwin’s on the Boardwalk.Many pet owners view their pet as an integral member of the family and are just as extravagant in caring for their pets as their human family members. However, some customers may suffer from pet allergies, so the Pet Photo event is scheduled to allow extensive cleaning following the event to remove dander, etc.
The Fifth Annual South Walton Elf Ride is at 2 p.m. Dec. 9, with participants biking, walking or skateboarding from the Seaside Post Office to the South Walton Fire District’s Watercolor Fire Station. Adults and children meet at 1:30 p.m. Each family is asked to bring at least one gift to benefit the SWFD’s Angel Tree. There will be a bike decorating contest, fire truck tours, Santa and refreshments, including Bruno’s Pizza. Details: (850) 502–0017 or email email@example.com.
Toys for Kids Foundation Charity Christmas Ball will be Dec. 15 atEdgewater Beach Resort. Those wanting tickets must register as a user on the website, ToysForKidsFoundation.com. Tickets will be mailed to those with a verified mailing address.
The Christmas Art and Book Ball will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at CityArts Cooperative in Panama City, featuring music, refreshments, and the work of local authors and artists for sale. Details: MichaelLister.com or CityArtsCooperative.com.