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Pensacola, Fla. (Thursday, Nov. 21) – The Pensacola Bay Area is teeming with events, activities and more for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. With mild temperatures and winter deals on the horizon, this vacation destination has everything to offer people looking for a getaway this season. Here’s a roundup of everything happening throughout the winter season.
Visit Pensacola Holiday Cube: Nov. 15 – Jan. 2
It’s back and in a new location! Visit Pensacola is bringing a larger-than-life holiday cube to Plaza Ferdinand in downtown Pensacola. The cube, featuring holiday scenes from around the area, will be up and available for holiday photos Friday, Nov. 15 -early Jan 2. Visitors are encouraged to share their photos on social media using the hashtag #ExperiencePcola.
Elf Parade, First City Lighting Festival and Winterfest: Nov. 29 – Jan. 31
Pensacola kicks off the holiday season on Friday, Nov. 29 with the Elf Parade and the First City Lights annual tree lighting. The Parade Grand Marshall leads the merry crew of kids, parents, toys, and characters from the old Escambia County Courthouse to Plaza Wonderland at Palafox and Government Streets. Costumed kids of all ages march alongside an alligator “second line” brass band, Santa, and our characters from stops in the Winterfest Performance Tour. The six-block route takes about 20 minutes and includes a Christmas song battle, tumbling snowflakes, and plenty of cheer. Following, over 400,000 twinkling lights are illuminated throughout the streets of downtown and remain so through January.
Comedy in the Cola: Dec. 6 – 7
Whether you’re in search of chuckles, giggles or guffaws, we’ve got the perfect comedy to induce every kind of laughter. World renown comedians Red Bone, AG White, Bruh Man, and Coco Brown will be performing at the historic Saenger Theatre.
Lighted Boat Parade: Dec. 7
The Lighted Boat Parade will set sail at 6:30 p.m. from Sabine Marina and make its way around the Santa Rosa Sound to the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk where it will dock by 7:30 pm. Leading up to the boat launch, a kid’s party will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach. Directly following the boat parade, Santa will make his way to the Quietwater Shell to greet the children and a dazzling firework display will take place from the boardwalk at 8 p.m.
Surfing Santa Beach Parade: Dec. 8
Thousands of children, parents and other spectators make their way to Pensacola Beach on Sunday to see Santa Claus close out the annual Surfing Santa Beach Parade. Starting at 2 p.m. from Avenida 10, the parade will make its way down Via De Luna toward Casino Beach and end at the Gulfside Pavilion, where kids will be able to meet and greet with Santa until 3 p.m.
Flora-Bama Annual Santa Drop: Dec. 14
See Santa skydive onto our white sandy beaches. Activities, free sweets, hot chocolate, and juice will be available for the kids, but not too worry there are plenty of Bushwhackers at the bar for those of age. This special day is fun for everyone, especially Santa’s helpers who sing Christmas carols with the children.
2019 Cox Pensacola Christmas Parade: Dec. 14
Come join the fun beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 14, in downtown Pensacola. With over 90 floats, and eight bands from Escambia County, New Orleans and Mississippi, you will not want to miss this event that draws over 50,000 people each year.
Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip: Jan. 1
After celebrating New Year's Eve at the Flora-Bama there is only one way to start the new year .... by taking a plunge into the Gulf of Mexico with a few thousand of your friends. The Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip is the event of New Year's Day along the gulf coast. Groups and families gather in costume, swimsuits and some even in wet suits to feel the brisk saltwater on their face. Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico at high noon. Those who fully submerge will get a free draft beer and a free New Year's lunch of ham, black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread.
Santa Rosa Island Polar Bear Plunge: Jan. 1
Need an exhilarating rush to help kick off your new year? Head to Pensacola Beach and plunge headfirst into the Santa Rosa Sound at the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Hosted by Paradise Bar & Grill, hundreds of dippers and spectators – many dressed in costume – flock to the beach to participate in this long-established tradition.
Pensacola Comedy Festival: Jan. 2 – 5
Pensacola’s first comedy festival will encompass four days of improv, sketch, stand-up, theatre and more at multiple venues in in downtown Pensacola. Among the planned highlights are a revival of the hugely successful “Evil Dead: The Musical” at Vinyl Music Hall. Other events include workshops, seminars and panel discussions.
Pensacola Mardi Gras: Jan. 4 (kickoff), Feb.21, Feb. 25
It’s a tale old as time. Rich feasts, swanky costumes, all that glitters in gold and more to celebrate Carnival. With French roots that run deep, it’s no wonder that Pensacola was the stomping grounds for one of the first Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. With the turn of a new year, swarms of beads and Moon Pies will soon be flying overhead while the sounds of laughter and music fill the streets. Passionate krewes, extravagant parades, and decorated floats will soon be the talk of the town and you’re invited to the party.
The Gathering of Worshippers Dance Conference: Feb. 28 – 29
For two days, the Gathering of Worshippers Dance Conference will explore and teach various forms of art, dance, praise and worship. This event is open to all ages and all experience levels.
Pensacon: Feb. 28 – March 1
Sci-fi, superheroes, cult classics, horror and wrestlin' – if you're a fan, this is your jam. Pensacon: Pensacola Comic Con is an all-inclusive event that encompasses many genres of the fan community. Expect Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Comics, Anime, Gaming and more. For three days each February, Wookiees, Daleks, Hogwarts students and Ghostbusters become a common site in our historic downtown, and even the airport gets in the act, upgrading from merely International to the Pensacola Intergalactic Airport.
For more information on events and activities in the Pensacola Bay Area, visit www.visitpensacola.com. For information on deals, visit www.visitpensacola.com/plan-your-trip/travel-deals/.
About Visit Pensacola
Visit Pensacola is the destination organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication.