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14 Christmas and Holiday Parades Around Tampa Bay

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2021 Tampa Bay Christmas and Holiday Parades

When it comes to the holidays, one of the most anticipated events are Christmas and Holiday parades in the Tampa area. Whether it’s the traditional street parade or illuminated boat parades, it’s always a very festive event for all to enjoy.

Parades usually include floats, cars, bands, entertainment, candy and lots of fun! Here are some quick tips to help you navigate the popular parade season.

Family-Friendly Tips for Christmas and Holiday Parades:

  • Visit the parade route before the day of the event and determine where you’ll be able to park.
  • Want a great spot? You may need to arrive up to two hours early for a close spot to the parade route.
  • Be prepared to walk. You may have to park further away in order to access the route.
  • Bring your own seating. If you arrive early, you’ll be able to stake a great spot for blankets or lawn chairs.
  • Bring water and snacks for the family. This will help to alleviate some stress and tantrums.
  • Bring cash. You may need to pay for parking and a lot of times, parades usually have holiday festivals to continue the celebration.
  • Have fun! Dress up and take lots of pictures. These are memories your family will always remember.




1. Santa Fest & Christmas Parade at Curtis Hixon Park









Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 1:30 p.m.

Tampa kicks off the holiday season on the first Saturday in December with heritage events that many families have grown up with. Tampa’s Christmas Parade, Santa Fest and Tree Lighting Ceremony are produced by the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department in conjunction with the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.
Tampa’s Christmas Parade features 90 colorful units and marching bands. Colorful floats, Krewes, dance groups, Girl & Boy Scouts troops, Star War characters, princesses & superheroes parade through downtown Tampa. The parade concludes at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park where Santa Fest and Tampa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony take place. Families eagerly line up for their free keepsake photo with Santa sponsored by the Friends of Tampa Recreation; enjoy continuous holiday entertainment; interactive games, face painting; bounce houses; rock wall, as well as Meet & Greets with their favorite Star Wars and superhero characters.
The fun continues as Tampa’s Mayor, and special guest Kris Kringle, light Tampa’s beautiful Christmas Trees and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park sparkle with a spectacular light display. As families snuggle together on their blankets, the evening concludes with a classic holiday movie The Grinch (2018).

2. Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade


Date: Friday, December 3, 2021 – 6:40pm – 8:30pm

Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats to the children in Spring Bayou. There is no charge to participate, but all vessels must be registered to enter. Registration forms may be obtained at the City Marina and at the Recreation Division administrative office. Trophies will be awarded to the best-decorated boats. The best viewing is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou.

Boats cast off at 6:30
6:40 – Parade through the Anclote River & Bayous
7:30 – Pass Mermaid in Craig Park for judging
8:00 – Return to home ports.





3. Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021, from 6-9pm at Dunedin Marina/Edgewater Park

The Dunedin holiday parade of boats begins at the Marina at 7 p.m.. Enjoy holiday music and smores while waiting for Santa to arrive by boat and lead the countdown in the lighting of the City’s Christmas tree. Limited seating, please bring lawn chairs.

2021 Boat Parade Route: The boat parade starts at Marker 1 Marina, travels south along the Intracoastal to Union Street, and returns north to the Dunedin Marina. Boats will arrive at Dunedin Marina at approximately 7:00 pm.

Photo Credit: Dunedin News, Dunedin Boat Parade




4. Annual Alafia Lighted Boat Parade & Chili-to-Go Fest

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021, 5-8 p.m.

Riverview Park & Civic Center, 11020 Park Drive, Riverview, FL 33560

Come out and watch the beautifully decorated boats float by! Or decorate your own boat. Chili-to-Go, Lighted Boats.
Overflow parking provided.

  • Free Viewing of Fabulous Christmas Decorated  Boats on the Alafia River.
  • Watch the Boats. Santa will arrive on one of them to see the children.

  • Chili Sale, Just $5.00 per personal bowl



5. Mainstreet Zephyrhills Christmas Parade at Festival of Lights


Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021, from 4-9 p.m. 

38537 5th Ave, Zephyrhills, FL 33542


Main Street Festival of Lights Parade is the highlight of the event which begins at 4 p.m., a fun-filled day & night for the whole family. There will be live local entertainment at the Eiland Bandstand from 4PM to 9PM plus lots of food, merchandise, and craft vendors to choose from at the event.



6. 48th Annual Pinellas Park Christmas Parade

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. 

5800 Park Blvd N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781-3250, United States

Join us for the 48th Annual Pinellas Park Christmas Parade! The parade begins at 6:00PM and proceeds eastbound down Park Blvd between 58th Street (Railroad Crosing) and 40th Street (The Shoppes At Park Place).
The parade can only be viewed from the south side of Park Blvd so grab your lawn chairs and come out early to claim your spot! For more information, visit our website at www.celebratepinellaspark.com


7. The Annual Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 6 p.m.

The parade starts at the docks of The Tampa Sailing Squadron, located on Apollo Beach Boulevard. The event is free. All boaters in the surrounding communities are invited to participate.

See the full Parade route.


8. Dunedin Old Fashioned Christmas and Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 4-9pm 
Downtown Dunedin, 500 Main St, Dunedin, FL 34698,

Parade begins at 4 p.m. on Douglas Ave from Beltrees to Skinner. Watch Santa arrive during the Holiday street parade then stay downtown for the festivities along Main Street and Broadway Avenue. 


9. Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 11, 2021 – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Parade Route: Starting at Manatee Plaza (Old Winn Dixie) Goes North to E. Lemon St., turns right, goes to S. Ring Ave., turns left, goes to E. Tarpon Ave., turns left, and takes Tarpon Ave., all the way to Spring Bayou.

Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade. After the parade, join us in Craig Park for the annual Candy Cane Hunt. Children up to age 12 can hunt for the lucky candy cane. We will have crafts, hot chocolate and even a visit from Santa. (Approx. 11:30am)





10. Safety Harbor Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 10:00 AM
Safety Harbor Main Street – Closed from Bayshore to 9th Avenue from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Floats, old fashioned cars, Shriners, and Santa are just a few of the highlights. Group applications available on our city website at SafetyHarborEvents.com. Parade application deadline is midnight Friday, November 19, 2021. No applications will be accepted after deadline.




11. Annual Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade 2021

Date: Sun, Dec 5, 2021 from 5:00 PM
Lowry Park, 7525 N Boulevard St
The Hillsborough River connects the opposite shores of the diverse neighborhoods of Seminole Heights and Sulphur Springs, the former largely white middle class, the latter one of Tampa’s lower income neighborhoods with a high minority population. The Sulphur Springs Neighborhood Association holds its annual community holiday party in conjunction with the event, which concludes with the grand arrival of this parade of illuminated boats at historic Sulphur Springs Park. Unlike the dozens of other holiday boat parades held annually in the Tampa Bay region, this event is free and open to anyone who has access to any type of watercraft who pledges to abide by the event’s safety rules and has long been known as “The Boat Parade for Everyone”. As the River connects these diverse communities, the event reminds us that we are all part of this city with a river running through it, Tampa’s primary natural resource that we may all access and enjoy either from the shore or on the water.


12. 55th Annual Festival of Lights Boat Parade

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm

The City of Madeira Beach is hosting its 55th Annual Festival of Lights Boat Parade on December 11th. Madeira Beach Lighted and decorated boats will light up the waterways.





13. The Downtown Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 18, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. 

Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will happen the Saturday before Christmas, December 18th, along the Hillsborough River in Downtown Tampa. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin and up to the Heights where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf where judging will occur and the parade will end. Judges are pairs from Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the sailboat and motorboat competitions will each receive a trophy.

14. Palm Harbor Holiday Parade 2021

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021, starting at 11 am

It’s Back!!! Come out and celebrate the holiday season with community leaders, local businesses, and even Santa!
We all missed this fun community event last year, and look forward to this great return!



See Upcoming Parades:

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