TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Winter Village opens tonight in downtown Tampa and there’s going to be more holiday fun in store than ever before for the whole family.

It will feature new weekly activities and a record amount of vendors. There’s never been a more important year to shop small.

“I was just laughing and my husband and I were saying, I can’t wait for Winter Village this year because this is always a boost, not only for the holidays but also a second location,” Don Me Now Owner Danielle Evans said. “It really helps out for the season.”

Danielle Evans is one of 40 vendors who will set up shop at the 8th annual Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa.

There will be gift ideas catered to everyone.

“Before you might’ve come to Winter Village once or twice in a season,” said Rachel Radawac, Public Space Operation and Programming Director. “Now, each week there’s a different reason to come back and a new experience to be had.”

Radawac was referring to the new themed days. Instead of just ice skating there’s going to be sensory ice skating every Monday for those with special needs. Fridays are silent disco nights.

“We’re really starting to become that holiday staple,” Radawac said.

Every day will have a different theme:

  • November 21 – “Do You Know The Gingerbread Man?” – National Gingerbread Cookie Day
  • November 28 – “The One With The Holiday Armadillo” – Friends Night
  • December 5 – “Let’s Glow Skating” – Neon Night
  • December 12 – “Tacky Threads” – Ugly Sweater Night
  • December 19 – “When Lightning Strikes” – Tampa Bay Lightning Night
  • December 26 – “The Spirit of Holiday Past, Present, & Future” – Decades Night

“So there are small fees to you know obviously ice skate, or catch the streetcar but it’s free to experience winter village to be surrounded by the lights, the sounds of the holidays 100% free,” Radawec said.

Women’s fashion, sports gear, and plants are just a few of the items you can purchase.

“In terms of ‘shop small this holiday season,’ I don’t think there’s ever been a holiday that it’s been more important,” Evans said. “We’ve seen so many of our small business front who’ve unfortunately had to close so I think in order to give back to Tampa, give back to your small business community, I would just emphasize really coming down here.”

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, and will continue through the month and all of December. The light shows are at 7, 8, 9, and 10 every night.

The Winter Village will be open rain or shine.