The shopping. The lights. The festivals. Special time spent with friends and family. The holiday season is quickly approaching!
It’s a wonderful time of year with so many festivals and special events planned across the Southeast. We are honored to serve our communities – communities we love. To join in the festivities hosted throughout our unique towns and cities during this special time of year, we put together a guide to holiday events. It’s the perfect time to gather with family and friends, celebrate the joy of the season and join in hopes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Enjoy!
The Haile Village Center’s Light the Village Night – December 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. A tree-lighting celebration with caroling, live music and tasty cuisine will entertain revelers. Train and horse-drawn carriage rides, bounce houses and photos with Santa will be available.
The Kirby Family Farm Christmas Express – November 23 through December. Experience the train ride of the season through thousands of twinkling Christmas lights at the Kirby Family Farm. Enjoy outdoor classic Christmas movies, an antique car ride, carousel, hayride and a spin on the Monster Bus.
Christmas on the River at the Jacksonville Landing – Late November through December. The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place at the Jacksonville Landing’s courtyard. The 56-foot-tall tree features 78,000 lights and more than 100 ornaments. Nightly tree light shows will continue through New Year’s Eve.
Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade – November 24 at 7 p.m. More than 200,000 people line the banks of the St. Johns River to see festive decorated and lighted boats celebrating the holiday season. The event ends with fireworks and entertainment.
Yappy Hour Christmas Pawty – December 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. Celebrate the holiday season at the Jacksonville Landing Courtyard, which will be decorated for the holiday season with Christmas trees, lights and ornaments. Live entertainment and an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest for dogs will take place. Santa will be on hand to take photos.
Light Up Ocala – November 17 from 4 to 9 p.m. Enjoy the 35th annual holiday celebration with live entertainment on four stages, food, crafts and two kids’ zones. There’s a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Santa will make an appearance.
Panama City Beach
Optimist Club Christmas Parade – The annual parade brings marching bands, civic groups, local sports teams and floats together for a traditional holiday parade through the streets.
New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop – December 31. Two ball drops, including an early one for families with young children, will ring in the New Year, along with fireworks, bands and entertainment.
Winterfest – November 23 through December. Catch the Polar Express and Grinch tours. See daytime tours with Scrooge and Puppet Magic, or see holiday characters celebrate on a trolley ride through downtown in the Performance Tour.
The 25th Annual Nights of Lights – November 17 – Januarly 31. A wonderland of three million lights will adorn the historic district, and downtown businesses stay open later, letting you dine and shop amongst the lights. Seasonal train, trolley and horse and carriage tours will be available, as well as special tours from the water and by air.
Christmas Tour of Homes – December 2 from noon to 5 p.m. This walking tour of homes within the historic downtown area is an annual tradition hosted by The Garden Club of St. Augustine since 1969.
The Winter Festival – December 1 from 3 to 10 p.m. Children’s activities will include hands-on arts and crafts and bounce houses. There will be a Candy Cane Lane through the park, a lighting ceremony and a Jingle Bell Run.
Peppermint Pops – Dec. 8. A longstanding tradition, Albany Symphony Orchestra’s Peppermint Pops Instrument Petting Zoo features familiar family favorites from the holiday season and includes festive sing-alongs for all ages.
Atlanta Christkindl Market – November 30 – December 23. The popular German holiday market at Atlantic Station, which features food and holiday gifts in a festive atmosphere, brought in 250,000 visitors in 2017.
Children’s Christmas Parade – December 1 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Founded in 1981, the well-loved traditional parade features floats, balloons and marching bands celebrating the holidays in midtown.
Stone Mountain Christmas – November 10 – January 6. With more than two million lights as a festive backdrop, the event features music and visits from some of the most famous holiday characters.
Food Truck Friday – November 16 at 5 p.m. Head to Lake Lanier Olympic Park, join your friends and tempt your tastebuds with a variety of food trucks.
Festival of Lights Christmas Parade – December 13. The traditional parade, one of the largest in South Georgia, is always a festive event for community members.
Christmas Tree Lighting – November 30. The annual Valdosta tree lighting brings the community together on the front lawn of City Hall.
Greater Valdosta Community Christmas Parade – December 1. A community favorite, this annual evening holiday parade travels through downtown Valdosta and includes a float contest.
Okefenokee Agricultural Fair – November 6-10. Annual fair at the Okefenokee Fairgrounds, with livestock shows, rides, games, local entertainment and more.
Christmas at the Park – December 1. Annual holiday event at Laura S. Walker State Park, with crafts and sweets, Santa visits and a campfire.
Beaufort Holiday Weekend – December 7-9. A family-friendly weekend celebrating the holiday season that includes local choirs, dance groups, the Light Up the Night Holiday Boat Parade and the Beaufort Christmas Parade.
Holiday Festival of Lights – November 9 – January 1. The beloved Holiday Festival of Lights returns to James Island County Park for its 29th year. Featuring an estimated two million shimmering lights, it’s one of Charleston’s most popular holiday events.
Holiday Parade of Boats – December 8. Get on board with a Lowcountry holiday tradition as this display of lighted and festive boats proceeds through the Charleston Harbor.
28th Annual Reindeer Run – December 8. The Reindeer Run is a family-oriented, pet-friendly 5k run/walk through the lower peninsula of downtown Charleston.
Vista Lights – November 15. For more than 30 years, this holiday open house of shopping, dining and live entertainment has ushered in the holidays in Columbia.
52nd Annual Governor’s Carolighting – November 26. Held at the South Carolina State House, this popular event features a grand tree lighting and holiday caroling.
United Community Bank Ice on Main – November 24 – January 15. A favorite holiday tradition, this open-air ice skating rink has been enjoyed by more than 86,000 skaters and countless spectators since its inception in 2011.
Christmas Parade – The annual Christmas parade brings marching bands, floats, special entertainment and Santa Claus to the downtown area.
Victorian Christmas – December 9. Enjoy a trip back in time with turn-of-the-century desserts and hot chocolate. The annual holiday event features crafts, music, wagon rides and traditional decorations.
Christmas Tour of Homes – December 1. Started in 2005, the annual tour of some of the South’s finest homes features lavish holiday décor and community gatherings including lunch and an after-hours event.