TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Holiday spirit was in full swing in downtown Tampa as residents gathered for Santa Fest and the annual tree lighting ceremony.

“My favorite part about this whole thing is having everyone here together,” said Mason Sam. “Just having fun.”

The 11-year-old Houston, Texas resident is here with his family for a cruise. They decided to stay a couple extra days and visit Santa Fest at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where Santa hats and holiday outfits were everywhere.

“To me, [Christmas] means family,” Sam said.

The day kicked off with a Christmas parade with plenty of beads thrown from the floats, then vendors under tents selling food, crafts, and more at tents around the park.

6-year-old Mia Gerber was there with her mom and grandmother.

“Of course [she liked] Santa,” said Linda Ison, Geber’s grandma. “She got a picture with the Grinch, so she was so excited about that. But she just loves Christmas. We all do.”

Various ensembles and acapella groups from Berkeley Preparatory School performed Christmas carols and other songs.

“This is a really great event,” said Ava LeBeau. “It’s really unique to be able to perform for our city. I think it’s really awesome that Berkeley has this opportunity to showcase our music program.”

This is the second time the senior and her friends performed at the festival.

“The energy is great, so I’m really excited to be performing tonight,” LeBeau said.

Even young Gerber knew what the holidays are all about.

“My favorite part of Christmas is spending time with family,” Gerber said.