COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Central Florida holiday lights, festivals to get in the spirit this season

Holiday markets, drive-through displays and more

Homeowners in the Water's Edge community in Port Orange say they put their Christmas lights spectacle up early every year. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s that time of year again!

The time to take in the cool nights and enjoy holiday lights.

There are so many options this holiday season, from markets to festivals to drive-through displays.

If you have any events you’d like added to the list, please send information to

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Brevard County

Light Up Rockledge and Festival of Trees

  • When: Dec. 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Where: Rockledge Civic Hub
  • What: Free entry, just bring a canned item. Enjoy a Christmas tree stroll, food trucks/vendors, gift vendors, a Christmas tree silent auction, live holiday music and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Click here for more info.

Light Up Viera Holiday Parade

  • When: Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Viera High School
  • What: This wonderful annual community event begins with a fireworks display at 6 p.m. The parade begins immediately following the fireworks. Click here for more.

Cocoa Village Holiday Boat Parade

  • When: Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Cocoa Riverfront Park
  • What: Join Cocoa Village Main Street for the largest charitable holiday boat parade on the Space Coast! All proceeds will benefit the Sharing Center of Central Brevard. Click here for more info.

10th Annual Edgewood Holiday Art & Craft Fair and Food Truck Event

  • When: Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Edgewood Jr/Sr High School
  • What: Enjoy holiday shopping from unique crafters, artists, and vendors. This event fundraises for Edgewood Project Graduation Class of 2024. Click here for more.

Holidays in Space 2023

  • When: Dec. 15-30
  • Where: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
  • What: You can watch a nightly projected show on the massive exterior of Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex that will take you on a journey with Starflake as she travels through the stars, Earth and beyond.

Flagler County

Palm Coast Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • When: Nov. 25 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Town Center
  • What: Join Santa Claus, the Palm Coast City Council and the Rotary Club of Flagler County in the countdown to the lighting of a beautiful tree. Santa will arrive on a Palm Coast Fire Engine.

Fantasy Lights Festival

  • When: Nov. 25 - Dec. 30
  • Where: Fantasy Lights Festival
  • What: Every night will feature our 55 animated light displays, and music throughout the park. Santa’s Village has several elf houses for the kids to explore, Santa’s Merry TrainRide nightly (weather permitting) and Santa will be there every Sunday night before Christmas Eve and snow on weekends! On certain nights, live musical performances will be held on the stage. Click here for more.

Lake County

Clermont’s Hometown Holidays

  • When: Nov. 11 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Clermont
  • What: Jump aboard a complimentary train journey, capture memorable moments with Santa Claus, encounter the Grinch, enjoy a delightful pony ride, savor the harmonious tunes of holiday carolers and experience a diverse array of live entertainment. Click here for details.

36th Annual Light-Up Eustis

  • When: Nov. 24 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Ferran Park
  • What: Watch the ceremonial tree lighting and enjoy food and craft vendors in the park, pictures with Santa and more! Click here for details.

Light Up Mount Dora

  • When: Nov. 25 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Elizabeth Evans Park
  • What: Holiday lights, 40-foot Christmas tree, musical performances, a holiday aerial show and fireworks. And of course, SANTA! Click here for more.

Leesburg Christmas Festival and the 56th annual Leesburg Christmas Parade

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 2; festival starts at 1 p.m., Parade starts at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Towne Square and Main Street
  • What: The festival features ice skating, live music, vendors, visits from the Grinch and Santa and more. The parade will have dance and music groups, businesses and Santa Claus.

Lady Lake Annual Holiday Parade “Christmas in Space”

  • When: Dec. 2 at 10 a.m.
  • Where: Old Dixie Highway between Guava Street and Griffin View Drive
  • What: Classic cars, twirlers, clowns, candy, marching bands, floats and Santa and Mrs. Claus on their intergalactic sleigh.

Light Up Lady Lake

  • When: Dec. 8 at 6:15 p.m.
  • Where: Log Cabin Park
  • What: Step into a winter wonderland as we light up Lady Lake with thousands of lights. Enjoy carols by the Villages Elementary of Lady Lake and join Santa as he counts down to the grand lighting. Click here for more.

Snow in the Park

  • When: Dec. 9 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Elizabeth Evans Park in Mount Dora
  • What: Snow sledding, music, food and activities. Bring a toy donation to benefit the Community Toy Drive and nonperishable foods to benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry.

Marion County

Light Up Ocala

  • When: Nov. 18 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Square
  • What: Kick off the holidays with live entertainment, festive sounds, a holiday parade and a kids zone. The lighting up of downtown Ocala will happen at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more.

The Ocala Christmas Light Spectacular

  • When: Nov. 24-Dec. 30
  • Where: 11851 Southwest 16th Avenue
  • What: Drive through a 1.8-mile route of dazzling lights “designed to bring your favorite Christmas tales to life.” There will also be a skating rink, mini train rides, Santa’s Special Land and other walk-through areas to feel the joy of the season. Click here for tickets.

Winter Wonderland at World Equestrian Center

  • When: Nov. 24-Dec. 23
  • Where: World Equestrian Center – Ocala
  • What: The halls of the WEC Grand Plaza will be decked with spectacular show-stopping features for the season, including a walk-through Christmas tree, lighted horse-drawn carriage and plenty of splendid holiday décor. Meet the real Santa Claus at this family-friendly event and enjoy festive entertainment on the weekends, including a full rotation of singers, face painters, balloon artists and cheery caricaturists. Click here for more.

Orange County

Dazzling Nights

  • When: Nov. 24 - Jan. 6, 2024
  • Where: Leu Gardens
  • What: Moroccan lanterns hanging from trees, interactive lights, laser lights, snow and more at this festive event. You do have to purchase tickets for a specific time and date and tickets are not available at the door. For more information, click here.

Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration

  • When: Dec. 1
  • Where: Lake Eola Park
  • What: The event will include holiday performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, food trucks and a holiday market on International Plaza within Lake Eola Park. Returning this year at Lake Eola is the downtown Merry Market, available each weekend through Dec. 23. Enjoy snowfall in Florida, shop local from over 30 vendors and be sure to stop by for a visit with Santa! Click here for more.

Apopka Tree Lighting

  • When: Dec. 1 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Where: Kit Land Nelson Park
  • What: Enjoy holiday music, photos with Santa, kids activities and more at the annual tree lighting event in Apopka. To learn more, click here.

Holidays in Winter Garden

  • When: Dec. 1-2
  • Where: Historic Downtown
  • What: Light Winter Garden, Christmas Parade and Holiday Market will take over downtown during the first weekend of December. Click here for times and details of the events.

Winter Park Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade

  • When: Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Where: Park Avenue
  • What: The event has been held each December for more than 65 years, making it the oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida. Over 80 organizations that participate, including marching bands, local police and fire departments, scouting groups, local dignitaries and, of course, Santa Claus. Click here for more.

Maitland Season of Light

  • When: Dec. 2 from 5-8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Lake Lily Park
  • What: Bring the family for snow sledding, carnival games, fireworks, vendors, live music, a tree lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa. Admission is free. For event information, click here.

College Park Holiday on the Drive

  • When: Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.
  • Where: College Park Main Street, Along Edgewater Drive
  • What: The College Park Main Street District invites families and friends to Holiday on the Drive parade featuring live music, Santa Claus in Albert Park and other holiday festivities. Click here for more.

Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival

  • When: Dec. 7-23
  • Where: Lake Nona Town Center
  • What: Holiday market, photo-ops, snow (yes, in Florida), Santa’s Cottage, a tree trail and more. Click here for more.

Osceola County

Holiday Nights at Island H2O

  • When: Nov. 15-Dec. 31
  • Where: Island H20 Water Park
  • What: Celebrate the season island-style and experience a dazzling immersive spectacle with tons of photo moments, kids activities, festive shows and holiday eats! Activities are included in the price of admission. Click here for tickets.

Now Snowing

  • When: Nov. 26 - Dec. 31
  • Where: Celebration Town Center
  • What: This month-long event features strolling Charles Dickens style carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, train rides, ice skating and nightly snowfall at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Admission is free and you can learn more by clicking here.

St. Cloud Holiday Festival

  • When: Dec. 2 & 3 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown St. Cloud
  • What: The festival features over 100 crafters, carnival-type fare, entertainment, a classic car show and a kids’ holiday fun zone with Santa. Click here for more information.

Polk County

43nd Annual Lakeland Christmas Parade

  • When: Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Lakeland
  • What: The Junior League of Greater Lakeland and the City of Lakeland will host the 42nd annual Lakeland Christmas Parade. A fireworks display over Lake Mirror will kick off the festivities at 7 pm. For more information, click here.

Seminole County

Oviedo’s Tree Lighting Celebration

  • When: Nov. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Center Lake Park
  • What: Tree lighting ceremony, free photos with Santa, food trucks and holiday activities for the children.

Central Florida Zoo Asian Lantern Festival

  • When: Select dates November through January
  • Where: Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • What: The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens will transform at night into the Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild! Tickets must be purchased online. Limited tickets are available per night. Tickets must be purchased for specific entry times: 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., or 8:00 p.m. Click here to learn more.

Holiday in the Park

  • When: Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Central Park at Lake Mary City Hall
  • What: Ice skating, over one million holiday lights, food trucks and light shows. Click here for more.

Wekiva Island Christmas Tree Forest and Snow Flurries

  • When: Dec. 1 - Dec. 31, 7-11 p.m.
  • Where: Wekiva Island, located at 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood
  • What: Enjoy thousands of lights and the 30 foot tall Christmas Tree surrounded by dozens of other decorated Christmas Trees while snow flurries fall from the sky. For more information, including full schedule, click here.

Light Up the Holidays

  • When: Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
  • What: Watch as the park comes alive with spectacular holiday displays featuring 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree. There will be a fireworks show, live music, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and holiday light displays. Click here for more.

Celebrate the Season

  • When: Dec. 8 from 6-9 p.m.
  • Where: Reiter Park located at 311 West Warren Ave in Longwood
  • What: This holiday street party will feature an array of activities including photo opportunities with Santa, music by DJ Dennis, performances by One School of the Arts, an inflatable snow maze, giant fun slides, a petting zoo, a trackless train, 10+ food trucks and a major laser light show throughout the event. To learn more, visit here.

Sumter County

Lake Sumter Landing Tree Lighting Festival

  • When: Nov. 25 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Lake Sumter Landing
  • What: Live music, food vendors and lighting ceremony with Santa. Click here for the full lineup.

Brownwood Tree Lighting Festival

  • When: Dec. 1 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Brownwood Paddock Town Square
  • What: Live music, food vendors and lighting ceremony with Santa. Click here for the lineup.

Volusia County

Magic of Lights

  • When: Nov. 17 - Dec. 31
  • Where: Daytona International Speedway
  • What: The Magic of Lights is a holiday lights drive-through experience and will be open from 6-10 p.m. daily. It includes a drive through the state-of-the-art motorsports facility and ends in the midway display area outside of the facility. There is a cost for this event and ticket prices can be found here.

Light Up DeLand

  • When: Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Volusia County Historic Courthouse
  • What: There will be carriage rides, shopping, seasonal food and drinks, a skating rink, live entertainment, Santa’s Workshop, and Santa will even be skydiving in. It’s the kickoff event for Winter Wonder DeLand, happening all month long. Click here for more.

Light Up Orange City

  • When: Dec. 1 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Block of City Hall
  • What: Enjoy the tree lighting, food trucks, kid zone, train ride, Santa photos, and a holiday movie. The city will provide free hot cocoa and cookies. Click here for more.

North Pole Drive-Thru in South Daytona

  • When: Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Reed Canal Park
  • What: Drive through the North Pole at Reed Canal Park and see Santa. Treats will be given along the way! Enter at 919 Reed Canal Road. Click here for more.

Christmas in the Park in Port Orange

  • When: Dec. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kenneth Parker Amphitheater
  • What: Come to City Center Park to celebrate the holidays with the official tree lighting ceremony, a performance by the Navy Jazz Band, a live choir performing classic Christmas tunes, meet and greet with Santa, hayrides and MORE! Click here for info.

Tree Lighting Ceremony in Daytona Beach Shores

  • When: Dec. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Veterans Park
  • What: Come and enjoy The Florida Chamber Brass Band, DJ Dave and Santa Claus! Light refreshments will be served. Click here for more.

Orange City Christmas Parade

  • When: Dec. 9 at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Volusia Avenue
  • What: Volusia Avenue will be closed from Wisconsin Avenue, south to Rhode Island Avenue, starting at 4 p.m.. Roads will reopen at 6:30 p.m.

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.