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Winter Village brings holiday spirit to Tampa

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By Jackie Benitez M U LT I M E D I A

E D I T O R

The Florida heat may not prepare Tampanians for the upcoming holiday season, but the Winter Village in Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa is attempting to create a merry atmosphere for those celebrating in the Sunshine State. “People come downtown to have the festive holiday experience and we have bits and pieces of that, but we really wanted to make it a collective brand and grow it year by year,” said Shaun Drinkard, Director of Place making at Tampa Downtown Partnership. This is the first year the City of Tampa has put on the Winter Village, which began on Nov. 18th and will remain open until Dec. 25th. Although there has been an seasonal outdoor ice rink in downtown for the past five

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years, this year the centerpiece of the Winter Village is the largest rink they have had and is surrounded by a shopping village and a cafe. “This year the ice rink is under an iconic structure,” said Drinkard. “It’s a large shaped structure that was donated by the Glazer Family. On the underneath side of the structure there’s a large light show that plays each evening.” Throughout the month there will be events featured around the Winter Village like the Santa Fest, the lighted boat parade and the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Today, Curtis Hixon will celebrate its Tree Lighting Ceremony, a tradition that has been going on in the park for years. City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will begin the countdown to the lighting of the tree. In addition to the lighting of the Christmas tree, there will be a free screening of A Christmas Story projected in

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This is the first year the City of Tampa has put on the Winter Village, which began on Nov. 18th and will remain open until Dec. 25th. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ “This was really the the park. The Late Night Brass, the event is more than just a Tampa Bay horn band, will ice skating. He said college opportunity to grow and make also be performing live music students specifically would a whole kind of experience,” enjoy the waterfront cafe, said Drinkard. “We wanted during the event. The Tampa Downtown which has man-made snow a great holiday experience Partnership expects to have every night from 6 p.m. to 8 downtown and it was about around 40,000 people visit p.m., as well as the unique extending a larger holiday retailers showcased at the experience throughout all of throughout its run. downtown.” Drinkard is convinced park.


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Calendar of Events

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Monday

Tuesday Wednesday

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Thursday

Waterfront Light Display opens @ 5 p.m. and continues through the month. Cost: Free

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Friday

Saturday

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Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town opens @ 6 p.m. and continues through the month. Cost: $99

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The Florida Orchestra holds a holiday-themed performance at the Sundial in St. Petersburg @ 11 a.m. Cost: Free

26 Holiday: First day of Kwanzaa

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Holiday: Winter Solstice

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4

11

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25 Holiday: Christmas, first day of Hanukkah

Tampa Theatre shows Love Actually @ 7:30 p.m. Cost: $10

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Sunday

Tampa Theatre shows White Christmas @ 3 p.m. Cost: $10

Tampa Theatre shows It’s a Wonderful Life @ 7:30 p.m. The show is open until Dec. 22 Cost: $10

Tampa Theatre shows Elf @ 7 p.m. Cost: Free

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Tampa Theatre shows Holiday Inn @ 3 p.m. Cost: $10

Holiday Hayride @ 6:30 p.m. at Forbes Rec Center in Pinellas Park. Cost: Free

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31 Busch Gardens’ New Year’s Eve opens @ 9 a.m. Cost: $99


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Frightening Festivities:

Krampusnacht

After a successful event last year, Jug and Bottle Department is making Krampusnacht an annual event. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE By Nicole Cate L I F E S T Y L E

E D I T O R

Signs of the impending holiday season could be spotted as soon as October when products like Christmas decorations start popping up in stores. They’re usually adorned with the jolly, plump red-cheeked man that Westerners have come to identify as the main symbol of Christmas: Santa Claus. He brings joy, cheer and presents to millions of good children, with his only requirement being that they must have been good all year. But what happens to the naughty kids? In parts of Europe — mainly Germany and Austria — people celebrate Krampus instead. He’s a half-goat, half-demon creature who punishes deviant children. Unlike their darker European counterparts, many American’s do not identify this macabre beast with the Christmas season, but the people at Jug and Bottle Department are hoping that their annual Krampusnacht becomes a Tampa tradition. Jug and Bottle Department, which opened its doors in July 2015, is a Seminole Heightsbased store with “a strong focus on regional and local craft beer, natural and boutique wine and unique sundries,” according to

owner and general manager, Aaron Schaub. Last year, Schaub, along with Jug and Bottle Department co-owner, Ryan Fouche, and “local folklore extraordinaire,” Justin Arnold came up with the idea to put on Krampusnacht. The word translates to ‘Krampus night’ and is celebrated in participating countries on Dec. 5. “It’s just kind of a funny alternative,” Schaub said. “We like weird stories and weird folklore and we were just trying to give some parents a funny picture for their Christmas card.” On the day, people can take pictures with the Krampus, as well as buy and sample goods from different local vendors who set up tables and stalls at the event. There will also be a food truck for hungry patrons. “It’s basically just a feel-good, family-oriented good day,” Schaub said. The event was a hit last year, with attendees asking for it to be put on again. So, the team at Jug and Bottle Department decided to make it an annual affair. This year, it will be held Dec. 10 and is slated to start at 4 p.m. Almost 500 people have already showed their interest on

n See KRAMPUS on PAGE 14


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Lights to see in Tampa

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By Breanne Williams O P I N I O N

E D I T O R

A staple of celebrating the holidays is inarguably taking a drive to see a community decorated with Christmas lights. Luckily, Tampa has multiple locations offering a twinkling display, ranging from festive houses and interactive experiences to parades. If you and your friends pile into a car and grab thermoses of hot chocolate there are multiple housing divisions full of Christmas lights. Large suburbs like Tampa Palms and Hunter’s Green are often filled with decorated homes, however for an extra dose of festivities head to 3212 Bella Garden Lane in Plant City. Two homes there are quickly becoming showstoppers sharing 35,000 lights timed to music between the two houses. Many of the lights were used in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and again at Disney World during their Christmas display on the Streets of America.

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The light show will begin at sundown from now until Dec. 31 and is free for any who attend. Bay News 9 has a holiday home interactive map available where people who decorated their homes can post pictures and tag their house, allowing those searching for lights to construct a quick list of where there are guaranteed decorations instead of driving aimlessly through unlit neighborhoods. The Edge District in St. Petersburg is also full of holiday lights, window displays, and a Santa shuttle along with themed events like outdoor holiday movies and yuletide yoga. The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds will be hosting the Wonderland of Lights, which will include a Christmas village, train rides and the iconic fair food and games. The event will run you $20 to $35 from now until the end of December. The ride-through light display at the event will be priced based on the size of the vehicle going through and was designed by North Pole Productions, which has specialized in creating holiday displays in community

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parks and fairgrounds since 2001. Many of the large shopping plazas also will feature holiday shows and decor. The Brandon mall has a giant tree set up in the mall center with a photo shoot inside the tree where children have the ability to meet Santa and take pictures. International Plaza opened its Santa’s Flight Academy on Nov. 11 and it will run until Dec. 24. Kids can join Santa’s elite flight crew and try on a virtual fly suit and dance under lights and fake snow. Pictures packages are available for purchase following the experience. Wiregrass will hold it’s annual Symphony of Lights with a tree lighting, holiday music and concerts and snow. The Florida Botanical Gardens also will feature a holiday display with over 1 million lights. There will also be performers and entertainers spaced along the pathways winding through the park. Donations are recommended at $4 for adults and children under the age of 12 are free.

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Christmas Parade and Santa Fest: free family fun

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By Elisa Santana

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Christmas is a time to spend surrounded by family and friends doing holiday activities or around a table full of food. This means that it can also be a tough time for our wallets and paychecks. Luckily for USF students, Friends of Tampa Recreation is offering up an affordable alternative for a fun holiday season. “Our mission is to provide free family-friendly events for the people of Tampa,” Kitty Lyons, executive director of Friends of Tampa Recreation, said. Tampa’s 35th annual Christmas parade and Santa Fest are ringing in the holidays today and Saturday. The events are open to the public and completely free. The festivities – at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park – start

on Friday after the tree lighting by Mayor Bob Buckhorn. People can enjoy a free showing of “A Christmas Story,” a Christmasthemed market and costumed characters. The night starts at 6 p.m. On Saturday morning, families can head to downtown Tampa to see the Christmas parade. The celebration starts on the corner of Morgan and Madison streets and ends on Cass Street. At the parade, people will see multiple floats from organizations such as Tampa’s krewes, the Girl Scouts and Miss Latin. They can also participate by catching beads and candy canes from the floats. Lyons said these two events are very popular with Tampa residents, and there are supposed to be about 6,000 citizens at the tree lighting and 14,000 at the parade. The latter starts at 11 a.m. so she suggests that people show up early if they want a front-row

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seat. The day continues back at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest. Also celebrating its 35th year, SantaFest brings Christmas cheer to town with multiple activities for the whole family. People can enjoy face painting, a free picture with Santa, rock climbing, bounce houses and Make-nTake holiday crafts. The iceskating rink at Curtis Hixon is also available for everyone to ice skate for $5 per person. There will be plenty of entertainment during the event with the City of Tampa’s Dance Troupe and Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy Dance Troupe taking the stage along with 14-year-old Julie Williams singing Christmas songs. “It’s a great time,” Lyons said. “Families come up to me and say they came here 35 years ago when they were kids 6,000 citizens are expected at the tree lighting with an expected and now they bring their own 14,000 at the Christmas parade. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE kids.”


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Krampusnacht

In parts of Europe — mainly Germany and Austria — people celebrate Krampus. He’s a half-goat, half-demon creature who punishes deviant children. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

KRAMPUS

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Facebook. “Everybody from young parents bringing their kids to get their first Christmas card (come). It’s 20 year-olds bringing their dogs to take pictures. It’s grandparents coming out to take pictures with the Krampus,” Schaub said. “Last year, we had people drive all the way up from Sarasota and Miami who were from Austria who wanted

to come take pictures with Krampus because it reminded them of home. It’s really, across the board, an event for everybody.” Schaub hopes that it becomes an annual tradition in the area, because he sees it as a great way for people to have fun experiences and collect happy memories. As for those who want to know more about who will be Krampus on the day, he has a surprise for them. “It’s actually Krampus,” Schaub said.

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PHOTO: JACKIE BENITEZ

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12-02-16 Holiday Guide  
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