‘Monkey madness’ to Santacon, benefits & festivals take Tampa Bay this weekend

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This weekend is full of fun events for good causes across the Tampa Bay area, as well as plenty of Christmas cheer and appearances from Santa Claus.

From Santas strolling the streets of downtown Lakeland to ongoing tributes to Winter the Dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, there is no shortage of things to do this weekend as the holiday nears, no matter your interests.

These events are presented in no particular order. If you know of anything going on throughout the area in the future, send an email to online@wfla.com.

1. OnBikes Winter Wonder Ride

Location: 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa

The 10th annual OnBikes Winter Wonder ride will depart from Curtis Hixon Park at 4:30 p.m., but the park itself opens earlier at 2 p.m. General admission is $55.

Each year, the nonprofit holds the event during the holiday season for bike lovers to cruise around downtown and along Bayshore before returning to Curtis Hixon Park for a celebration.

Proceeds from the ride go to purchasing new bicycles for kids and families.

2. Sandy Claws Beach 5K Run

Location: 948 Beach Road, Sarasota

Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome for this one-mile fun run or 5K and holiday-themed costume contest on Siesta Beach.

Adult registration is $32.71 and youth registration is $23.36.

Participants will gather supplies to make the “ultimate cup of hot cocoa” along the course.

Proceeds of the event benefit “Summer in the Parks” Adopt-A-Camper scholarship program.

3. Monkey Madness Beach Christmas Bash

Location: 678 75th Ave, St Pete Beach

Local business “Minnie’s Monkeys,” which creates environmentally conscious, healthy, non-toxic monkey toys for dogs, is holding a fundraiser at Toasted Monkey in St. Pete Beach to benefit the Suncoast Animal League.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

There will be a live band, “painting with pups,” paw-print ornaments, doggie hot cocoa, hourly raffles, a silent auction and more. Local vendors will be on hand and will be donating 10% of their sales.

4. Santacon

Location:  115 W. Pine Street, Lakeland

Santas are set to take over downtown Lakeland once again this year for the annual “Santacon.”

Revelers are invited to get dressed up in their holiday best to visit downtown. The event’s kickoff is from 5-7 p.m. at Swan Brewing. There, folks can pick up a map of the eight other locations participating in Santacon before the costume contest at 6:15 p.m.

Molly McHugh’s, Rec Room, Federal Bar, Lakeland Loft Jazz Lounge, Linksters, Revival and Lakeland’s newest brewery, Dissent are among the stops along the way.

5. St. Pete Winter Market

Location: Warehouse Arts District and The Deuces Live, St. Petersburg

The inaugural St. Pete Winter Market will have 12 locations participating during the pop-up experience along the Pinellas Trail. There will be over 150 artists and makers selling their wares so you can find the perfect gift for the holidays.

The event is free and will take place Saturday from 3-9 p.m.

Santa and his helpers will host story time at the market. There will be DJs and live performance and yoga on the trail as well.

6. Santa Visits the Aquarium

Location: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa

Santa will be available for socially-distanced photos with kids and families visiting the Florida Aquarium every Saturday and Sunday this month.

Guests can see Santa in his “snow globe” and snap photos from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

7. Rescue Days at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Location: 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater

Less than a month after the passing of Winter the Dolphin, CMA will honor her and resident dolphin Hope with a celebration of their rescue anniversaries on both Saturday and Sunday.

Aquarium guests can check out rescue vehicles from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., learn about Winter’s rescue story during a “Tail Talk” presentation at the Window of Wonder at 12:30 p.m., watch a chalk artist create a Winter Tribute design and see Santa scuba dive on Saturday.

The aquarium is partnering with SPCA Tampa Bay, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Gulf Coast JFCS Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco Program, and Guardian ad Litem to bring awareness to finding homes for pets and children in need.

8. Coquina Beach Seafood & Music Festival

Location: Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach

The festival will feature live music and shopping for arts, crafts and other fine products in addition to seafood and live music.

Seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes will be cooked fresh onsite, alongside side dishes, desserts and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

The event starts Friday at 4 p.m. and will continue Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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