We may not get snow, but we know when it’s wintertime in Florida. Maybe we pull out our Capri shorts and put away our Bermuda length. Some of us may even need to turn on the heater.

And, we love celebrating just about any reason during any season.

The holidays bring a lot of the standard fun things like going to see The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol. There are a number of places where you can go caroling or do sing-a-longs.

There are places where you and your friends can go drink and paint or create a wreath. Although we can’t guarantee the final result will be perfect, it will bring a smile to your face every time you look at it.

And, even before the holiday season officially starts, there are Harvest festivals and holiday markets where you can support your local community by buying specially made presents.

So here are our favorites in and around Riverview. Maybe we’ll see you there.

Winter Wonderland

Toodle on over to the Centerpoint Church in Valrico for a lot of fun with your family. Every year they put on the Winter Wonderland, a free family event. They have a train, free hot cocoa, and a variety of amusements and attractions.

This year they’re adding in a holiday market for local crafters and artisans. Many local businesses still could use your support. So look locally for presents this year.

The event will be Saturday, December 18 from  4 pm – 8 pm.

It’s located at 1720 S. St. Cloud Avenue in Valrico, Florida 33594.

You can call at (813) 689-1906 or email HolidayMarket@centerpointfl.org

Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade

where can we see a Christmas boat parade in Tampa
Do you love watching boats all lit up as they parade down the harbor? The TSS will be holding their annual Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade again this year!

You need to pay in advance. And what you’ll get is a fun festival including a chili cook-off. There are four categories of boats that will each win awards.

If you have a boat, why not decorate it

It’s Saturday, December 11 from 6 pm until 9 pm.

It’s located at the Tampa Sailing Squadron Deck/Pavilion at 1250 Apollo Beach Boulevard in Apollo Beach, Fl 33572. You can call (813) 6458377 or email Gary Mull  gary@garymull.com.

Alafia Boat Parade

Not to be outdone, come to the Riverview Alafia Boat Parade at Riverview Park & Civic Center. It’s hosted by The Rotary Club of FishHawk Riverview. There will be a chili cook-off here as well, and you can buy a bowl for $5.

There will be lots of kid-friendly activities including Santa arriving on one of the boats.

There will be multiple viewing stations along the route, so there should be a good view for everyone. The money generated will be donated to Friends of the Parks.

It’s Saturday, December 4th from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM.

It’s located at the Riverview Park & Civic Center at 11020 Park Drive, Riverview, FL 33560. You can get more information at alafiaboatparade.com. You can also contact Kimberly Tyson at 813-765-2618 or email her at hummingbird133@fastmail.com.

Other Fun Ideas

Some neighborhoods love to work together and put on a lovely holiday lights display. Online community sites like Nextdoor often set up maps. It’s a fun (and free) tradition to start by filling up a thermos with hot cocoa and driving around to see the lights.

Our local malls put up holiday decorations, and it can be fun to walk around. Some malls set up gift-wrapping stations. They’re often fundraisers for local schools or groups.

Look for local annual Christmas parades as well. The DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton will be hosting its annual parade on Saturday, December 4th at 5:30 PM. Go on out and cheer on the participants.

Busch Gardens sets up Christmas Town in the park. All 335 acres are decorated with holiday lights. There are holiday-themed shows and visits with Santa and his famous reindeer. It’s open from November 12th until January 2nd.

Premier Escape Adventures is offering a holiday-themed escape room called Crisis at the North Pole. It’s a 60-minute escape room adventure that’s fun for the whole family or a group of friends looking to get into the holiday spirit. It’s not easy, though. World of Escapes rated it three out of four for difficulty. They’re located at 7369 52nd Place E., Bradenton, Florida 34203. You can find out more information and availability at their website.

And if you’re down in Bradenton on Friday, December 4th from 6 pm to 9 pm or Saturday, December 5th from 11 am to 4 pm, go to the Village of the Arts at 1017 12th Avenue W and visit the art walk. While the monthly art walks are always a fun time, December’s is even better. The walk is decorated, and there’s strolling entertainment, unique holiday gifts, and tasty treats.

So gather up friends and family and plan to get out and celebrate the season. And don’t forget to bring a sweater. It might get a little chilly.

And, if you will be out and about driving all through the Tampa area this winter, CLICK HERE to see the high traffic areas to avoid.