Holidays ‘Round the Bay


Geek LightsVisit Santa at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at his sleigh Dec. 6, 13 and 20 during the holiday concerts from 6-8 p.m. and during the Tuba Christmas event from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9.

Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop at Destin Commons now through Dec. 24 (book at and at HarborWalk Village weekends until Dec. 17 from 1-4 p.m.

Baytowne on Ice | Now–Feb. 4 | Village of Baytowne Wharf
Dust off those skates and get ready for the holidays at The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Baytowne on Ice. Ice rink is open Now – Sunday, Feb. 4. Hours vary daily. Visit

Festival of Trees | Now–Dec. 25 | Grand Boulevard
The Festival of Trees at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin runs Nov. 21 through Christmas Day 2023. Participating non-profit organizations compete to win cash prizes totaling $7,000. Cast your vote for the People’s Choice award. Festival of Trees is an annual event in the park at Grand Boulevard shopping center showcasing uniquely decorated Christmas trees from 12 local non-profit organizations.

Christmas Reflection Displays | Nov. 25-Dec. 31 | Defuniak Springs
The City of Defuniak Springs lights up Chipley Park lights with its annual Christmas Reflection Displays, a light display like no other in our area with more than 10 million lights reflecting on the lake and throughout the park. You can view the lights by walking, driving or even taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. A variety of Victorian, animal and toy soldier cutouts, Santa’s workshop, and the grandfather clock ticking away are among the thousands of decorations that adorn these historic grounds. Admission is $5 per person and children 5 and under are free. (850) 978-2999.

Merry Main Street | Nov. 25-Dec. 23 | Defuniak Springs
Free to attend, Merry Main Street boasts live music and theatrical performances, an outdoor market, food trucks, rides on the Choctaw Express Train, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, kids character appearances by The Character Clubhouse and more. Baldwin Ave. in downtown DeFuniak Springs. 5 p.m. Fridays and 3 p.m. Saturdays until Christmas. (850) 296-9051.

Wesley House Holiday Guided Tours | Now–Jan. 9 | Eden State Gardens | Santa Rosa Beach
The Wesley House at Eden State Gardens will be open for holiday guided tours Thursday–Monday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on an hourly basis. This year’s theme is “A Victorian Christmas and all are invited to attend.

Nights of Lights | Dec. 1-31 | 6, 7 & 8 p.m. | Events Plaza Lawn
Enjoy a free, festive light show every night of December in The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin and featured during the special holiday edition of the Wednesday Night Concert Series. The tree lights in the events plaza will dance and blink to music at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Visit

Blue Christmas | Dec. 1 | 6 p.m. | Alaqua Animal Refuge
Swing to “The King’s” Hits. Join Alaqua for a Las Vegas-style evening with the sensational Ron Adams Entertainment, also known as “the shadow of the king.” Purchase tickets at: Proceeds go directly towards the care and protection of animals. Visit

2023 Niceville Valparaiso Community Christmas Parade | Sat., Dec. 2 |
10 a.m.
The 2023 theme is “Create Hope in the World.” Sponsored each year by the Niceville Valparaiso Rotary Club, the annual Christmas parade is made up of civic and youth groups, organizations, churches, businesses and individuals take part in the festive procession. Watch the parade on John Sims Pkwy. and Partin Dr. along the route. The Eagle Pride Marching Band is usually in the lead. Visit or its Facebook page to participate or for more info.

Santa in the Park | Sat., Dec. 2 | 5-8 p.m. | Niceville Children’s Park
Join Santa in the Park and meet the Jolly Old Elf himself. Enjoy a craft, face painting, refreshments and a whole lot of fun! Be sure to stop by the Police Department between 5 and 7 p.m. for Cocoa with a Cop!

Wonderland Luncheon | Dec. 2 | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. | E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
There will be a mimosa mixer, gourmet lunch, cookie swap, gingerbread house decorating and vendors to shop from. Purchase tickets at

City of Freeport Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting | Sat., Dec. 2 | 5:15 p.m. | Freeport Elementary School
The 2023 themed “Many Faces of Christmas” annual parade assembly is between 2 and 4:45 p.m. Parade route is approx. 1.0 mile beginning at the school and ending at S.R. 20 and Blueberry Rd. The tree lighting will take place after the parade at Freeport City Hall. Live music, food and craft vendors and photos with Santa. To participate, submit an application and liability form at For questions: 850-333-7423.

7th Annual Troon Goon Christmas Lightshow | Dec. 2 – Jan. 5 | 6-9:30 p.m. | Bluewater Bay area
A free, residential graphic light show that combines classic Christmas songs with modern versions for a fun and energetic twist of entertainment. The hi-tech light animations dance to the music and feature the house, mega tree, arches and other standalone features for an unlimited amount of pixel combinations. The 30-minute show starts every hour and half-hour. It’s a different show every year and you can vote online for your favorite song versions while you watch. View from your vehicle while listening on your car stereo at 101.3 FM. The lightshow will run nightly from Visit or Facebook for the latest news.

“Geek Lights on the Corner” | 6-9:30 p.m.–Sun.-Thurs. | 10:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. & holiday eves
Located at the corner of Bluewater Blvd. and Antiqua Way in Bluewater Bay, the shows loop every 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m., with the last show starting at 9:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., and 10:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. and holiday eves. Now in its 16th year, the free show consists of Christmas lights and other themed display elements, all under computer control and synchronized to music and usually is lighted and available to the public through the first week of January. All donations this year will support Healing Paws for Warriors. The show is the technical and creative wizardry of Jeff Werner, the “Northwest Florida Geek” and Wendy Werner, his “spouse peripheral.”

Toast ‘n Jam | Sun., Dec. 3 | 10:30 a.m. | Henderson Beach Resort, Crystal Ballroom Destin
The first “jam” session features the Grammy Award-winning string trio, Time For Three (TF3). Tickets are $95 per person and includes valet service, an elegant brunch, Bloody Mary and Mimosa full cash bar.

Holiday Concert Series + Visits with Santa | Dec. 6, 13 & 20 | 6-8 p.m.
Tap your feet to some of your favorite sing-a-long classics every Wednesday in December at the Holiday edition of The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Wednesday Night Concert Series. Each concert features visits with Santa.
December 6 | Fort Walton Beach High School Choir
December 13 | Alissa Steffens Vocal Studios
December 20 | Matt McCarty Band

A Christmas Carol | Dec. 8 – Dec. 22
From the first “Bah humbug” to the final “Wassail,” this timeless classic is sure to rekindle your holiday spirit. Join all your favorite Dickens characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come, and of course, everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge.
560 Grand Boulevard, 2nd Floor, Miramar Beach. Purchase tickets:

Holiday Pops | Fri., Dec. 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center
Features Brian Stokes Mitchell, dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Sinfonia’s main event of the season featuring this A-list star will perform holiday classics, Broadway tunes and classic favorites with the Sinfonia Gulf Coast orchestra. Stokes is a two-time Tony Award winner with a versatile career spanning Broadway, television, film and concerts. Receiving critical acclaim and awards for his performances in Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha, and Ragtime, Stokes has collaborated with renowned conductors like John Williams and Gustavo Dudamel performing at Carnegie Hall and the White House. Some of you might remember him as Trevor in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Tickets range from $30-$75 for adults. Seats at tables of 10 are from $55 per person.

Seaside Pops | Sat., Dec. 9 | 5 p.m. | Seaside Amphitheatre
Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents a concert featuring seasonal and pop favorites in the Town of Seaside. Bring a low-back chair or blanket. Seaside Pops is free and open to the public.

Winter Extravaganza | Dec. 9 | 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. | E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
Join the Center for games, food trucks, animal encounters and even a visit from Santa Claus himself! Don’t forget to bring a coat for the coat drive this year! Tickets: $10 for adults, $7 for ages 4–12. 4956 State Hwy. 20 E. Freeport, FL

Yule of Yesteryear | Sat., Dec. 9 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida
Enjoy carols, food vendors, craft vendors, Walton guard reenactors, school choir groups, bake sale, raffle ticket prizes, letters to Santa and more! 115 Westview Ave., Perrine Park, Valparaiso.

Christmas Concert | Dec. 10 | 4–5:30 p.m. | Crosspoint Church Niceville
Enjoy a free evening of festive, holiday music featuring the Crosspoint Chancel Choir, Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, Flute Choir and Hand bell Choir and includes a wide variety of musical styles entertaining to all ages. Everyone is welcome!

Niceville High School Chorus Holiday Concert | Mon., Dec. 11 | 7 p.m. | Mattie Kelly Arts Center
This concert features holiday favorites from all seven Niceville choirs, plus special guest singers from Bluewater Elementary, Edge Elementary, Lewis School and Plew Elementary. Tickets available at

Live Nativity | Thurs., Dec. 14 — Wed., Dec. 20 | 6–8:30 p.m. each night |corner of 2nd St., and Church Ave.
First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach will present the FREE, 35th Live Nativity celebration next to the First Baptist Church sanctuary. Parking is available in the church parking lot. When you walk through, you can have a photo taken with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, as well as the three wise men. Your photo will be waiting for you as you depart. In the Shepherd’s Field, the visitors can pet and feed the miniature donkeys, sheep and Naomi the Camel!

A Jingle Jangle Christmas Musical Revue | Sat., Dec. 16–2.30 p.m. | Tues., Dec. 19–7.30 p.m. | Thurs., Dec. 21 –7.30 p.m.
Enjoy classic holiday songs from some of your favorite Christmas musicals like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Snow” and, of course, “White Christmas.” The cast will invite you to join in some beloved Christmas carols as well.
560 Grand Boulevard, Grand Boulevard Town Center, 2nd Floor, Miramar Beach. Purchase tickets:

A Victorian Christmas Tea | Sat., Dec. 16 | 1-3 p.m. | The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida
Members $20; Non-members $25. 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso.

LuLu’s Annual Billy Claus and The LuLuBelles | Sat., Dec. 16 | 3 to 5 p.m.
Free photos with Billy Claus and the LuLuBelles as well as crafts and treats. Billy Claus is Santa’s warm weather-loving brother who lives in the Caribbean, but comes this way every year to help Santa during the holiday season. The LuLuBelles are Billy’s version of Santa’s elves. The children’s book written by LuLu’s owner, Lucy Buffett, “Billy Claus and the Spirit of Christmas Island” is available in the gift shop or on-line. From 5 to 7 p.m., enjoy the movie, Dr. Suess’ The Grinch. Come back on Dec. 20 for the Christmas movie, The Polar Express at 6 p.m. with free crafts and treats. 850-710-5858.

LJ Schooners’ 7th Annual Santa Paddle Parade | Sat., Dec. 16, | Noon | Bluewater Bay Marina
All paddlers welcome; if you can paddle it, bring it! Paddle on a stand-up paddle board, canoe, kayak, paddle boat or surf skis. Group photo is at noon with paddle starting at 12:10 p.m. Santa Clauses leave BlueWater Bay Marina and paddle east to Rocky Bayou Bridge, north to North Shore of Rocky Bayou and back to the marina. Registration $10 or 15 canned goods. Must paddle in Santa suit and provide your own suit. Proceeds benefit Sharing and Caring of Niceville. To register, call Bluewater Bay Marina Ship Store at (850) 897-2821 or visit

Annual Christmas Boat Parade | Sat., Dec. 16 | 5:30 p.m. | Bluewater Bay Marina
Skippers meeting at 4 p.m.; parade staging at 5 p.m. The parade course exits Bluewater Bay Marina north to Nelson’s Cove, around Rocky Bayou, south to the Rocky One marker and then returns to Bluewater Bay Marina. Boats must pre-register. After the Boat Parade, LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant will host a Christmas party with DJ Christ Saylor, 6-10 p.m.; ugly sweater contest at 9 p.m. Call 850-897-2821 or visit to register.

2023 Niceville Val’p Rotary Christmas Boat Parade | Sun., Dec. 17 | 5:30 p.m. | Emerald Coast Marine
The boat parade will feature a traditional display of fun onboard holiday-themed lights and decorations. Festivities include complimentary hot cocoa, a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and the elves, provided by the Rotary. The parade route travels southwest from Emerald Coast Marine to Tom’s Bayou, past Lincoln Park, then east toward Lions Park, returning back to Emerald Coast Marine. All proceeds raised benefit Sharing and Caring Niceville. For more information, visit

Noon Year’s Eve | Dec. 31 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | LuLu’s Restaurant
Noon Year’s Eve is just for kids at LuLu’s Destin. It’s the 8th annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration Tues., Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with non-stop, free kid-friendly fun. There will be arts and crafts, inflatables, face painting, live music and more. Kids can have their fun by counting down to Noon with kid-safe “fireworks” and a huge Beach Ball Drop. Visit or call (850) 710-5858.

Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party | Sun., Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.–1 a.m. | LJ Schooners
Ring in 2024! Dance the night away with DJ Diamond Dan, Roaring 20s! Dinner specials will run from 5–10 p.m.

Baytowne Countdown | Sun., Dec. 31 | The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Two breathtaking fireworks displays at 8 p.m. and midnight. Enjoy a family-friendly evening from 6-8 p.m. with face painting, kids’ activities and LIVE music on the Baytowne LIVE stage. Dance the night away with LIVE music from DJ Q$, 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. at the Events Plaza Stage! End the night with spectacular fireworks. *21 & over after 10 p.m. 20 & under must be accompanied by a legal guardian after 10 p.m.