Tallahassee Winter Festival preparations underway

WCTV’s Ben and Katie Kaplan will be MCing the Lighting Ceremony and hosting the parade.
The City of Tallahassee is preparing for the 35th annual Winter Festival, happening this Saturday.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:16 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 3:26 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The City of Tallahassee is preparing for the 35th annual Winter Festival, happening this Saturday.

The festival features movies at Kleman Plaza, Candy Cane Lane, the Jingle Bell Run, and the nighttime Holiday parade.

The family friendly event runs from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Saturday.

The event features four stages of entertainment, including a new feature at Kleman Plaza.

“On Kleman Plaza this year, we have some movies that will be shown from six to 10. We’ve gone with some shorts, so like ‘Shrek the Halls’, ‘Kung Fu Panda Holiday’, and ‘Merry Madagascar’ will be shown, they’re about 20 to 30 minutes apiece,” Mario Palmentieri, the City’s Special Events Supervisor said.

Palmentieri says there will also be take-away arts and crafts for children at Kleman Plaza, and the Challenger Learning Center will be distributing 1,000 bags of free popcorn for movie goers.

Candy Cane Lane is in McCarty Park on Adams Street; it will open Saturday during the festival and will then be open from 6-9 p.m. each night until December 12.

The Jingle Bell Run begins at 6:15; Palmentieri says it’s his favorite part.

“It’s a smaller fun run walk for people, so all ages, all groups. It’s great because you do see families together, and I’ve seen 3 year-olds walking with their parents, and strollers, and different things!” he said.

The Holiday Parade kicks off at 7:15 p.m. WCTV’s Ben and Katie Kaplan will be hosting the parade, which was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kaplans will also be MCing the Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m.

The City’s largest festival of the year involves every department.

“We have everything from the utilities division helps with electric and temporary water spigots for the vendors and things like that, to solid waste, to our parks division that’s part of our department puts in just, you know, a lot of hours, just to get things ready for us,” Palmentieri said.

Lofty Pursuits is a fan favorite during the event, and the local business will be participating in two ways.

“Of course the Lofty Pursuits ice cream truck will be set up, and in front of it we’re going to be selling our handmade candy canes. And then we are also going to have our marching band march in the parade!” said owner Gregory Cohen.

Cohen says the event matches his business’s mission.

“Lofty Pursuits is always about being happy, and this event is about the community coming together and being happy for the holiday season.”

Other events this month include the City’s annual Holiday Stroll through Cascades Park on December 11th, Elf Night at Dorothy B. Oven Park on December 16th, and Soul Santa on December 18th.

Lofty Pursuits will also have “A Very Lofty Christmas” event on Saturday, December 11, featuring handmade candy cane making, live music, and photos with Santa from 2-5 p.m.

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