Winter Village opens in downtown Tampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You can call the first night of Winter Village a success. 8 On Your Side saw so many smiles, and it’s not just the people who come out here that smile, but the local economy as well.

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and Tampa is giving us an early start to the holiday season.

“I love it. I haven’t fallen yet. I haven’t fallen yet,” said Kat Blazick, who is skating with family.

At the center of all the fun of Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park is the ice skating rink.

“It’s our first time. It’s pretty exciting because I never really have, the only time I’ve skated is with rollerblades and not regular skates, so it’s new,” said London Simmons, who is skating for her birthday.

Come alone, come with friends, or come with family, the fun here is made for all.

“It’s a special day. It’s a Friday. Spending time with family. We’re having a great time,” said Kat.

Outside, the Christmas trees are up; the perfect place for a photo-op. Vendors have the tasty treats, winter brews, and for the adults, the right kind of holiday spirits. For these small businesses, the Winter Village is an early gift.

“My shop is online, and this is just for the holidays, this pop-up. It’s a great opportunity for us to gain some exposure and get to talk to people, and see their reactions,” said Diana Albrecht, owner of Apartment No. 3, an online store.

Finish with music and trees decorated with lights around the park.

“It’s so cool. Just the atmosphere. Everyone here is smiling or in a good mood, and that’s super contagious. So it’s great,” said Steven Blazick who brought his family ice skating.

For the next month, there are so many other events planned for Christmas in Tampa. On certain weekends, there will be a choo choo for young kids and their families. There will be the tree lighting ceremony, Santa Fest, the boat parade, holiday movies at the park, and the Winter Village Express.

A streetcar takes you through downtown to Ybor and back and there are stories told, sing-a-longs, and cookies! Find more information by going here.

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