It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Tampa's Tree Lighting, Santa Fest and Parade

This notice is archived content and this information may no longer be accurate.

Tampa is kicking off the holiday season with the 8th Annual Tampa Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa Fest, and the Annual Christmas Parade!


Tampa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 30, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.  Sing along with Late Night Brass as they perform your favorite holiday carols. Magic 94-9 Morning Show’s Danielle will make one lucky person’s holidays merry and bright with the MAGIC $1000 Secret Santa Giveaway contest! WFLA New Channel 8’s Keith Cate will join Mayor Buckhorn and his family to officially light the Tree at approximately 7:20 p.m. (new time!).

Come early to get a good seat. The Chick Fil-A Cows will be handing out free Chick Fil-A sandwiches while supplies last.  Just after the Tree lights up; the holiday classic movie, The Santa Clause, will be shown on the big screen.  The movie is presented by Tampa Theatre and the F.E. Lykes Foundation. 


The Annual Santa Fest Christmas Parade will roll out in Downtown Tampa on Saturday, December 1, at 11 a.m. This year’s parade is the largest Christmas Parade ever held with 80 colorful units. There will be beads, candy and other goodies tossed to onlookers as the floats, Krewes, dance groups, and others take part in this much anticipated annual event.

The parade begins at Madison and Pierce streets. Heads west on Madison Street then turns north onto Ashley Drive, and ends at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.  The best viewing area is along Madison Street from Pierce Street to Tampa Street. 


Parade viewers are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. to avoid road closure and to get a good spot along the parade route.  Suggested parking options:

  • Royal Street, 1200 N. Tampa Street
  • Jackson Street, E. Kennedy Blvd & Jackson Street
  • Ft. Brooke Garage, 107 N. Franklin Street


After the parade, the fun continues in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with 37th Annual Santa Fest.  Bring your little elves to Santa Fest for a free keepsake photo with Santa sponsored by the Friends of Tampa Recreation; continuous holiday entertainment, interactive games, bounce houses, a rock wall, presented by Centra Care, and make-n-take crafts presented by F.E Lykes Foundation.  The festival continues until 4 p.m.


Tampa’s Tree Lighting and Santa Fest are sponsored by Magic 94.9, Tampa Bay Times/tbt, and Chick Fil-A, and presented by the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.


For more information, please visit the Friends of Tampa Recreation on the web at or on Facebook.

Contact: Kitty Lyons

(813) 966-5505

Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.