Like many small American towns, Seaside celebrates the holidays with nostalgia and a bygone spirit. Beginning Thanksgiving Day weekend with the showing of the beloved Nutcracker Ballet and ending with a New Year’s Eve spectacular celebration, Seaside celebrates the most wonderful time of the year by preserving traditions and making memories.
Some Seaside events have been around for years, decades even. This year, Seaside is celebrating the 29th anniversary of the Seeing Red Wine Festival and the 10th anniversary of our Halloweener Derby. Both of these events were dreamed up by locals and longtime Seasiders. Each became a mainstay of the town, maintained as integral traditions.
This year, the town is excited to announce the start of a new tradition — the Seaside Holiday Market. “We hope this new event will get everyone into the holiday spirit,” says events director Kevin Boyle. “Consider Germany, with its centuries-old Christmas markets, or Disney World’s special Christmas events. Both of these offer immersive holiday experiences, which easily become long-time memories. We want to bring these experiences to our guests and locals.”
The Seaside Holiday Market will be in the Seaside Lyceum, which recently was recognized with a Special Award from the Congress for The New Urbanism (CNU) after the completion of the expansive addition of a stage, arcade and new colonnades, to name a few of the highlights of the project.
The market features photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painting, special vendors selling Christmas fare, and for the first time in Seaside — ice skating. Well, almost ice skating. “A company in Boston offers something called Synthetic or Artificial Ice Rinks. They’ve done work with Disney, ESPN, and a lot of events in the Southwest,” says Boyle. “It definitely feels like you’re skating on ice, it’s a lot of fun.”
Artificial or synthetic ice is made up of a special plastic polymer that best resembles the consistency of a giant white cutting board. The synthetic ice rink is pieced together in 4’ × 8’ sheets and is then sprayed with a special solution that reduces friction and enhances glide and speed, closely mimicking the traditional ice skating experience. “Our hope is that this becomes something guests come back to do year after year, and locals feel like they come back every weekend,” Boyle says. “We want to drum up some holiday excitement for our town and merchants.”
Guests can enjoy 30-minute skating times on the rink, including skate rentals. Guests can receive a photo with Santa and face painting from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests are able to come and go as they please, giving them a chance to visit the retail shops and restaurants around town. They also have access to special market vendors selling holiday food, crafts and more. Some of the vendors are familiar faces from the Seaside Farmers Market.
The market takes place all weekends in December — Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 8 p.m. and and Sundays 3 to 7 p.m. Face painting is from 4 to 7 p.m. during those event days. And kids can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the market on the weekends prior to Christmas. The event is free and open to the public.
The Nutcracker Ballet – Sun., Nov. 24, 5 p.m.
Holiday Farmers Market – Tues., Nov. 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Holiday Movie Night: “Elf” - Fri., Nov. 29, 7 p.m.
South Walton Holiday Parade – Sat., Nov. 30, 9 a.m.
Turn on the Town – Sat., Nov. 30, 5 p.m.
Holiday Market – Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 8 p.m. and and Sundays 3 to 7 p.m.
Holiday Pops Concert - Sat., Dec. 14, 5 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Celebration - Tues., Dec. 31, 5-10 p.m.
To see a calendar of events online, visit us at seasidefl.com/events.