TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Parkas, beanies and plenty of layers were out in full force in downtown Tampa on Christmas Day, as natives and tourists flocked to the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront park for a chilly holiday celebration.
“It’s extremely cold,” said Tara Homi. “I can’t feel my fingers. I’m wearing shoes, like sneakers, but I can’t feel my toes.”
Some skaters said it was warmer on the ice rink, under the canopy, out of the way of the wind.
“Well, I’m a native,” said Michael Hoskins. “So forties, 40 degrees to me is like snowing in every other place.”
Unfortunately for tourists, this wasn’t the beach they were planning.
“We had hoped to take a family vacation over the holidays to a warmer destination,” said Kristi Gibbs. “Unfortunately, Florida has had the coldest winter in 30 years.”
Gibbs and her family thought they were booking a warm Christmas vacation to Florida — coming from Omaha, Nebraska.
“It’s cold, I don’t like it,” said Gibbs. “I would much rather it be warm and 70 or 80 and be able to wear swimsuits and get a little bit of a tan so everybody back in Nebraska would be a little jealous.”
The Gibbs leave Monday, just as the mercury starts to creep back into a more comfortable range.
“We were staying at the Tradewinds for a few days,” said Gibbs. “It was cold on the beach and so we decided to come to Tampa. Still cold here but it’s better than Omaha.”
The weather in the Bay Area certainly could have been worse.
“At last I checked the coldest it got over the last couple days was -35 with about six inches of snow,” Gibbs said.
The ice rink at Winter Village is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day until January 4. Tickets are $17 per person.