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Celebrate the Season with a Full Month of Holiday Events

Are you looking for 2015 holiday events in Polk County this December? We’ve compiled a list of fun, holiday events throughout the county that the entire family can enjoy. Have your calendar ready to mark the events your interested in, and scroll through the list of events categorized by ongoing, library, city and county, college, local theater, and attraction events below.
 

If you’re looking for 2016 events, please click here.


Happy Holidays!
 

Ongoing Events:

Festival of Wreaths
Date: Friday, November 20-Saturday, December 12
Location: Polk County History Center, Bartow
Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Details: Decorated wreaths will be displayed in the History Center from Nov. 20 through Dec. 12 at this fifth annual event. This event promises to be fun and festive for both decorators and bidders alike. Wreaths with exceptional decorating themes will be recognized with the Santa’s Choice designation during the display period. For more information, contact the History Center at 863-534-4386.
 
Winter Walking Tours
Date: Friday, November 27-Sunday, January 3
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2:00 p.m. Sunday
Details: Volunteers lead visitors on an hour-long winter walking tour, sharing information about the flora and fauna and guiding visitors through the Gardens from the Visitor Center to the Singing Tower. Included with general Gardens admission.
 
Elves Shelves Gift Shop
Date: Saturday, November 28-Sunday, December 6
Location: Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1:00 p.m.-5:00 pm Sunday
Details: This special secret shop is for children only! Gifts will be reasonably priced for children to purchase holiday items for family and friends. Elves Shelves fun includes a wrapping station. Admission is free. Prices vary per item.
 
1930’s HoliDAYS
Date: The following Tuesdays: December 1, December 8, December 15, December 22
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Details: Be sure to see the vintage Model A’s outside Pinewood Estate, meet historical characters from the 1930s, and catch a few surprise personalities from the past. Tuesdays throughout December. Included with general Gardens admission.
 
BeFly Bike Tours – Christmas Lights Tours
Date: Fridays & Saturdays: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19
Location: Beginning at Concord Coffee, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Details: Light lovers can enjoy a magical experience with opportunities to “ooh” & “ahh” over gorgeous holiday displays, much good cheer, and creatively-decorated bikes (and cyclists). Tours cost $30 per person and are limited to 7 adults per group. Bring-your-own-bike is open to all. Reservations required.
 
Lights of Lakeland
Date: December 4-6; December 11-13
Location: Highland Park Church, Lakeland
Time: 6:30 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Details: Lights of Lakeland 2015 is the TENTH ANNUAL, free walk-thru Christmas experience that the whole family can enjoy! Experience an evening of excitement and wonder filled with your favorite holiday sights, smells and sounds. With over 500,000 lights on display, your family will be able to enjoy: The Grinch, Santa’s Workshop, a reindeer barn, pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, food trucks, the Sweet Shoppe, a Bethlehem experience with live animals, the General Store for children to Christmas shop on their own and photos with cartoon characters.
 
Christmas Bricktacular
Date: Saturdays and Sundays: December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27;
Monday, December 28-Wednesday, December 30
Location: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (December 20; 26-30)
Details: Bring in the holiday season with a 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas tree made of 270,000 LEGO bricks, life-size LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh, festive decorations, LEGO build activity, a LEGO Santa Scavenger Hunt, holiday entertainment and nightly fireworks. LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier make daily appearances in the Park providing a perfect family photo opportunity.
 
Florida Flywheelers Christmas in the Village
Date: Friday & Saturday: December 11-12; December 18-19
Location: 7000 Avon Park Cutoff Road Fort Meade, FL 33841
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: The best kept Christmas secret around…the Florida Flywheelers bring a holiday village of sparkling lights, refreshments, & Santa & Mrs. Claus to their tractor site located between Avon Park and Fort Meade. Families can journey through the village on a tram pulled by a tractor while enjoying fun Christmas displays. There are also stops for free hotdogs, cookies, hot chocolate, eggnog and cider along the way. Admission is a monetary or toy donation.
 
Holiday Workshops
Date: Saturday, December 12; Saturday, Dec. 19; Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 21-23
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. or 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Details: Decorations and holiday fun for kids of all ages. On December 21-23, children can choose to attend Santa’s Workshop at 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and/or Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen at 1 p.m.-3p.m.
 
Season’s Screenings
Date: Saturday, December 12; Saturday December 19; Tuesday, December 22
Location: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Details: Bring your chairs and blankets for Haines City’s Christmas-themed movie series in the park. Popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase.
December 12- A Christmas Carol; December 19- Elf; December 22- The Polar Express
 
Winter Ice Skating
Date: Sunday, December 20-Sunday, January 3
Location: The Lakeland Center (George Jenkins Arena)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: Public ice skating returns to The Lakeland Center this winter with morning, afternoon, evening, and late evening sessions on various days. Click the title link to see times and dates.
 

Library Events:

Milk And Cookies With Santa
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bartow Public Library (Pamplin Art Gallery on second floor)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: Stop by the Bartow Public Library on Saturday, December 5 to meet with Santa Claus and share some milk and cookies to celebrate the holidays.
 
Polar Express Pajama Party
Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: Lake Wales Public Library
Time: 4 p.m.
Details: Wear your pajamas, and come join us for the movie, crafts, and hot chocolate.
 
Holiday Fun
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Lakeland Public Library & Larry Jackson Branch, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Main Library); 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (Larry Jackson)
Details: Family fun with a special story-time and crafts.
 
Elf Party
Date: Tuesday, December 22
Location: Mulberry Public Library
Time: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Details: Join the library for the Elf movie and Elf-themed snacks and fun.
 
Christmas Movie Extravaganza
Date: Tuesday, December 22; Wednesday, December 23; Saturday, December 26
Location: Winter Haven Public Library
Time: 2 p.m.
Details: Watch Christmas movies at the library during the week of Christmas. The lineup of movies includes Arthur Christmas (Tuesday), Polar Express (Wednesday) and Home Alone (Saturday).
 

City & County Events:

Holiday Tree Lighting Party
Date: Thursday, December 3
Location: Downtown Auburndale
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join the City of Auburndale in kicking off the holiday season with refreshments, entertainment, tree lighting, Christmas lights and more.
 
First Friday – Holiday Hometown
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Downtown Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Free holiday-themed family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art reception, car show, and more.
 
Holiday Tree Lighting Party
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Eloise Resource Center (710 Snively Avenue, Eloise)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation holiday family event will feature sweet treats, arts and crafts, coloring contest, and a family movie.
 
Jingle Bell Rock Party
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Wabash Community Center (1230 Southern Ave., Lakeland)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation community holiday event is for the whole family. This event will feature sweet treats, a hot chocolate bar, games, arts and crafts, and a family movie.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Auburndale
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Auburndale Civic Center
Time: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Details: Auburndale Parks and Recreation presents the annual breakfast with Santa event. Admission is $8.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Bartow
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Carleton Hall of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Bartow (500 West Stuart St.)
Time: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Details: The annual Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be presented by the Zonta Club of Bartow and the Women’s Care Center. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet children. Free craft activities for children included with the pancake breakfast. Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.
 
Glitter, Glisten & Snow
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: This fun-filled event appeals to all ages and features lights, activities, Santa, reindeer, snow slides, and entertainment including Sisaundra Lewis from season six of NBC’s The Voice.
 
Carols in the Park
Date: Saturday, December 5; Saturday, December 6
Location: Central Park, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Details: Find free photos with Santa (2-4 p.m.). a candy cane corner, kids crafts, train rides, games, holiday music, Elves Cafe, handmade items, and more at this 27 year Winter Haven holiday tradition.
 
Holiday Party
Date: Friday, December 11
Location: Wilfred Smith Resource Center (135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation holiday event for the whole family. Families will enjoy sweet treats, arts and crafts, coloring contest, and a family movie.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Haines City
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Egg City, Haines City (35510 US Hwy 27)
Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Details: Join Haines City Parks and Recreation at Egg City where Santa and Mrs. Claus will great the children and pose for pictures. Admission is included with the purchase of a meal. Bring your cameras.
 
Breakfast with Santa at the Y
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Fontaine Gills Family YMCA, Lakeland (2125 Sleepy Hill Road)
Time: 9 a.m.
Details: Join the YMCA of West Central Florida for the annual FREE holiday event at the Fontaine Gills Family YMCA featuring professional pictures with Santa, bounce houses for toddlers and school-age children, cookie decorating, crafts and more.
 
Christmas Notes
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Homeland Heritage Park (249 Church Avenue, Homeland)
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join Polk County Parks and Recreation for live music, photos with Santa, refreshments, a holiday kid zone, outdoor movie, and more. Admission is free.
 
Winterfest
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Downtown Davenport (Lake Play & Bay Street)
Time: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Winterfest festivities will include a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, electric night time parade, cookie decorating, lighting of Lake Play Park, and a cruise-in with classic cars, vendors and SNOW.
Classic Car Cruise In – 4-8 p.m.
Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus – 4:30 p.m.
Lighting of Lake Play Park – 6 p.m.
Nighttime Electric Parade – 7 p.m.
 
Holiday Extravaganza
Date: Thursday, December 17
Location: Winter Haven Recreational & Cultural Center
Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join us for a fun-filled night that the entire family can enjoy. The event which is open to all ages will feature holiday crafts, gingerbread house making contest, musical chairs and more! Refreshments will be served.
 
Snow Central
Date: Thursday, December 17
Location: Central Park, Winter Haven
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Bring the family downtown to frolic in Winter Haven’s very own winter wonderland. There will be 70 tons of snow making up the snow slide and snow pile for children and adults to enjoy. After the kids are done visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus, they can take a train ride, jump in the bounce house, and enjoy all the other activities that will be available.
 
Dixieland Christmas
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Dixieland, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Don’t miss the opportunity for free photos with Santa at Access Church (6-8), live music and holiday drinks at Concord Coffee (6-9), adult coloring at Art Centric Studio (7-9), a special Christmas raffle at A Kind Place (6-8:30), and special deals and desserts at Fat Maggie’s, all located in Dixieland (6-8:30).
 

College Events:

Symphony Guild: ISO Christmas Concert
Date: Thursday, December 3
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Contact Polk State College for details on this event.
 
SEU Christmas Concert
Date: Friday, December 4; Saturday, December 5
Location: Southeastern University, Bush Chapel
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: To celebrate the birth of the Savior, the ensembles and faculty from the Department of Music come together for two evenings of worship on a grand scale. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. You may purchase tickets at the door or online.
 
Over 55 Show Band Concert: “It’s Christmas! – And All That Jazz!”
Date: Sunday, December 6
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: The Over 55 Show Band will perform at the Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre. The cost for the concert is $10.
 
Home for the Holidays: The Christmas Gala
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Florida Southern College’s Branscomb Auditorium
Time: 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Details: The FSC Music Department’s Christmas Gala has become an essential holiday music tradition for the college and greater community. This year’s edition, Home for the Holidays, offers a wonder-filled array of musical favorites performed by music department students and faculty, joined by special invited guests from FSC’s musical theatre program and the Florida Dance Theatre.
 
Polk State College Winter Christmas Gala
Date: Saturday, December 12 & Sunday, December 13
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 7 p.m. (Saturday); 2:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Details: Polk State Music will present its annual holiday concerts, and just as audiences have come to expect, the repertoire will feature a mix of traditional favorites and a few surprises, too. Admission for the general public is $7.
 
Florida Dance Theatre Presents: TCHAIKOVSKY’S The Nutcracker
Date: Saturday, December 19; Sunday, December 20
Location: Florida Southern College’s Branscomb Auditorium
Time: 7:30 p.m.(Saturday); 2:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Details: Lakeland’s own professional dance company, the Florida Dance Theatre, brings its celebrated annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to the stage of Branscomb Auditorium. Performed with charm and perfection by the dynamic dancers of FSC’s company-in-residence, this breathtaking production features colorful scenery, dazzling costumes, and entrancing choreography. As a special treat, community children join the professional dancers, creating a family-friendly, feel-good performance event.
 

Local Theater Events:

Christmas at the Ramon
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Ramon Theater, Frostproof
Time: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Details: This celebration of the Christmas Season featuring choirs and individual performers, coming together for a family-friendly gathering, with songs and community caroling. Donations of non-perishable items will be collected to benefit the Frostproof Care Center.
 
The Christmas Orange Luncheon
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Ramon Theater, Frostproof
Time: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Details: This festive holiday celebration event is guaranteed to bring back back memories of the days when a Florida orange (perhaps from Frostproof) in your stocking was a special treat. Enjoy a light lunch and live “old fashioned” entertainment, an original historical holiday skit with Frostproof at its heart. Tickets: $20
 
A Canadian Brass Holiday
Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: The Lakeland Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m.
Details: The Imperial Symphony Orchestra welcomes the world-renown Canadian Brass to the stage to celebrate the sounds of the season with this Masterworks concert.
 
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Date: Friday, December 11; Saturday, December 12; Sunday, December 13
Location: Lakeland Community Theatre (Lake Mirror Theatre)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: This is a Theater for Youth production based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson. Cost: $15 Adults; $12 Children (12 & Under)
December 11: 7:30 p.m.; December 12: 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; December 13: 2:00 p.m.
 
The Crystal Nutcracker
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: The scenes are filled with creative costumes, exciting dance movement, a variety of rhythm and sounds including Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, and African drumming. Performed in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Swing, Jazz, African, and, Hip Hop this dance spectacular is not the typical holiday nutcracker. General Admission: Adult $20; Children 12 and under $15
 
HUMBUG! The Musical
Date: Sunday, December 13
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: HUMBUG! features a lively original score by Harnick & Legrand, high production values, evocative lighting, and video projections that bring the audience right into Dickens’s classic tale of redemption and eternal hope.This world premiere re-tells the beloved Christmas story with a tunefulness that highlights its humor, humanity, and heart-warming sentiment.
General Admission: Adult $15; Ages 5-12 $10; 4 and under free
 
Johnny Dee & The Starlights Christmas Sock Hop
Date: Tuesday, December 15; Wednesday, December 16
Location: Theatre Winter Haven
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: Rock out while this incredible band takes you back to the 50’s, Christmas style featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Ronettes and much more. Advance tickets: $27; Subscribers: $24
 
Dinner and a Movie: Christmas Vacation
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: Dinner: 6:30 p.m.; Movie: 7:30 p.m.
Details: HUMBUG! features a lively original score by Harnick & Legrand, high production values, evocative lighting, and video projections that bring the audience right into Dickens’s classic tale of redemption and eternal hope.This world premiere re-tells the beloved Christmas story with a tunefulness that highlights its humor, humanity, and heart-warming sentiment.
Tickets are $20 for dinner and the movie. Movie-only tickets will be available for $5 at the door the night of the showing. General Admission: Adult $15; Ages 5-12 $10; 4 and under free
 
Thelma Kells Christmas Organ Concert
Date: Sunday, December 20
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Details: The 1st Annual Thelma Kells Christmas Organ Concert with Guest Artists.
 
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Date: Wednesday, December 30
Location: The Lakeland Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: The ultimate holiday tradition for the youngest to the seniors in every family, seeing Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker creates holiday memories that last a lifetime. The renowned, award-winning principal dancers and corps de ballet thrill audiences with their expertise, dramatic expression and stunning leaps, drops and turns.
 

Attraction Events:

Children’s Holiday Workshop during Downtown Holiday Walkabout
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Decorations and holiday fun for kids of all ages while parents work on their shopping list during the Downtown Holiday Walkabout.
$12/members; $15/non-members; Pre-registration/pre-payment required
 
Bartow Ford Winter Wonderland
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bartow Ford
Time: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Details: Bartow Ford and 97 Country have teamed together to create a FREE Winter Wonderland event featuring a 30 foot snow slide and snow play area, free photos with Santa, the Polar Express train, musical guests Elsa, Anna and Olaf, a bounce house, face painting, food from Uncle Mike’s Barbeque for purchase, and more.
 
Santa’s Workshop with Family Fundamentals
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Family Fundamentals, Lakeland (1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd.)
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Details: Enjoy a traditional Christmas experience with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event will include photos with Santa, hands-on holiday activities, and holiday storytime. Santa will also hand out books to the children.
 
Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon as they perform together during one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Families and friends are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and experience a magical evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain. $20 adults / $8 children (5-12) / $18 members
 
Caroling with Kerry A Tune
Date: Monday, December 7
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Details: Stir up the holiday spirit! Families are invited to a music lesson snippet with Kerry, followed by caroling together.
 
Holiday Home Workshop
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: Local artist Catherine Price leads a workshop designing beautiful holiday décor using palm fronds to create “boondoggles.” $15/person. Supplies included. Reservations are required.
 
Carillon & Chorale Concert plus Holiday Home Tour Open Late
Date: Sunday, December 20
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: Enjoy an hour-long carillon concert with a live choir under the evening stars. Before or after the concert, visit Pinewood Estate for a special nighttime tour complete with hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a unique opportunity to visit the Gardens after normal operating hours. Enjoy a light dinner at the Blue Palmetto Café before the concert for an additional fee. Last entry to Pinewood Estate is at 9:30 p.m. Concert Only: $5/person; free for members. Concert & Home Tour: $13/person; $7 for members.
 
Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens
Date: Friday, December 25
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (Last admission at 5 p.m.)
Details: Bok Tower will distribute 1,000 time-specific tickets for the Holiday Home Tour on a first-come, first-served basis on Christmas day. Enjoy the café, gift shop, Holiday Home Tour, gardens and carillonneur Geert D’hollander. Regular Gardens admission rates still apply.
 
Kids’ New Year’s Eve
Date: Thursday, December 31
Location: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND Florida where the giant LEGO brick drops at a very kid-friendly midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) – otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST. Other event elements include fireworks and a dance party DJ.
 



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