Merriment and Cheer will Help Make Spirits Bright
Nothing is going to prevent the Space Coast from enjoying an abundant dose of holiday cheer, particularly after the year we have all endured.
Yes, the celebrations might look different and will involve some common-sense stuff such as masks and social distancing, but unless current conditions deteriorate, several holiday happenings are in the works for pandemic-weary Brevard.
SPACE COAST LIGHTFEST
If there is a holiday event tailor-made for the times, it is Space Coast Lightfest, where attendees can bask in family togetherness and holiday glory from the safe bubble of their vehicles. The one-mile-plus meandering drive through Wickham Park features more than three million lights and all the accoutrements of the season.
HOURS: From 6:30 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 3, this festival of lights welcomes visitors.
If you would rather stroll than drive, visit Dec. 4, 5 and 6, when, weather permitting, the drive-through becomes a walk-through. Hayrides and Santa will also be available throughout the event with social distancing protocols in place.
COST: $15 covers up to 10 guests per car for the drive through. Strolls are $5 a person, as are hayrides. Bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Kids and receive a $2 discount.
Purchase tickets at the entrance or online at spacecoastlightfest.com.
HOLIDAY LOVE ON PARADE
Cocoa-Rockledge Holiday Parade, which precedes the Cocoa Holiday Festival, commences at 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, from Rockledge High School, traveling north on Florida Avenue and concluding at the waterfront Lee Wenner Park.
The Merritt Island Holiday Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, starting at Merritt Island High school and moving south on Courtenay Pkwy to end at Edgewood Junior/Senior High School on Merritt Ave.
Shop ‘til you drop from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, when downtown Titusville merchants host Merry Mimosas, which means you can enjoy complimentary holiday mimosas and fauxmosas made with sparkling cider.
Each shop will feature a different mimosa to sip as you do your holiday shopping. Participating businesses will have holiday specials and sales of gifts for the special people on your list.
The Town of Indialantic will host its traditional tree lighting-by-the-seaside event at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, at scenic Nance Park, 201 N. Miramar Ave. This year, the event has been designed to accommodate social distancing.
Nance Park is within walking distance of 5th Avenue restaurants such as Scott’s on 5th, Nini’s Cuban Cuisine, Skewer’s Mediterranean Grill and Islands Fish Grill, so you can do local and eat local, making an evening of it.
In the Eau Gallie Arts District, the band Groove Affiliation will play at the bandshell while Santa receives little visitors during the Christmas tree lighting, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 4.
“The Mayor will light up the Christmas tree and the park will be beautifully decorated by George Alexander (owner of Eau Gallie Ace Hardware), who does it every year with assistance from the city and Boy Scout Troop 300,” said Lisa Packard, director of EGAD.
Restaurants will be open for dining. The Junior League of South Brevard is scheduled to host a gift-wrapping station and libations tent at their headquarters, 540 Montreal Ave., at the southern end of Highland Ave.
“Santa will be wearing a mask and people will be encouraged to have one on them,” added Packard.
“Alternatively, they can stand next to him. Last year, we had a great sleigh that we’re hoping to use again.”
IT’S SANTA, DUDE!
Before Santa heads off to work delivering gifts, he catches waves at 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning in Cocoa Beach. Cool.
Surfing Santas, the annual Cocoa Beach tradition that attracts hundreds of festive festooned surfers, will go as planned this year on the beach at 2 Minuteman Causeway by Coconuts on the Beach.
Watch them ride in on the waves and kick off your holiday weekend in true holiday fashion at this free event. www.surfingsantas.org.
In downtown Melbourne, the festivities for the popular Candlelight Shopping holiday evenings will run through Dec. 19, with evening hours from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 12 and a day full of fun on Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Rumor has it that the Grinch will be in attendance at some of these dates, but not to worry, this Grinch has seen the light and is a holiday merrymaker. Downtown’s signature free horse and carriage rides will be available during the events.
But wait, there’s more! At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28, the city will host a lighted bike parade in downtown Melbourne. “We’ve never done this before and are super excited about it,” said Kim Agee, executive director of Melbourne Main Street. The city is encouraging social distancing and masks. Although some stores do not require masks, many do.
HOT COCOA HOLIDAYS
Hot Cocoa (Village) Holidays events offer fun for everyone in the charming little village enclave.
Pick up presents during the Art and Craft Holiday Bazaar, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6.
Fur family members will enjoy a photo op with Santa at the Santa Paws in the Village on Sunday, Dec. 6.
Cocoa Village’s scenic Riverfront Park will be the site of the Cocoa Holiday Festival, from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12. Tree lighting, Santa, food vendors and holiday music await visitors. The Holiday Boat Parade also happens the same day.
On Dec. 18, hop on a gaily decorated bike for the Holiday Bicycle Parade from 6 to 8 p.m. Prefer cars to bikes? The Village has you covered, with a Christmas Car Show from 4 to 7 p.m., Dec. 19.
CHRISTMAS OF YORE
Travel back to Christmas past with Museums of Brevard’s inaugural Christmas Tour of Historic Homes, a must-do during a year when normalcy is a thing of the past.
Unique architecture and stunning seasonal decorations are the selling points for the six historic homes that are part of a tour guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood.
Field Manor, Green Gables at Historic Riverview Village, Historic Pritchard House, Lawndale, Historic Rossetter House and Gardens, and Sams House at Pine Island will offer tours for one special price that is discounted at half of what it would cost if purchased separately.
Each house will be beautifully adorned, and some will serve sweet treats and holiday beverages. Guests who visit all six homes will receive a special Victorian House Christmas ornament. The tours at Field Manor, 750 Field Manor Drive , Merritt Island.
A list of historic home locations and operating hours are available at the website below. All houses follow current CDC precautions during the pandemic. Tickets are $35 and allow entrance to all six Victorian homes. All proceeds benefit the participating house museums. Purchase tickets at brownpapertickets.com/events/4774103 or at the individual houses.
Get a jump on holiday parties at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19, with the Santa Stumble Pub Crawl at Cocoa Village. Guests are encouraged to wear holiday garb, since there will be a costume contest and other shenanigans.
Tickets are $18 in advance or $25 on the day of the event. Tickets are good for six drinks and food will be available at most stops.
The Stumble starts at Elks Lodge #1532 at 315 Florida Ave., where parking is available, and continues on to George & Dragon, Murdock’s Southern Bistro, Pub Americana, Village Biergarten and Dog N Bone.
More details and tickets are available at www.madhatterpromotions.com or by calling 321-543-1346.
Maria is a prolific writer and most excellent proofer for various Space Coast publications and an adjunct professor at Florida Institute of Technology’s Nathan M. Bisk College of Business. When not writing, teaching or traveling, she can be found waging a one-woman war against her lawn and futilely attempting to maintain order among the chaos of a pack of extremely clueless wirehair dachshunds and an angst-driven basset hound.