Pinellas News

Another good turnout expected for Tarpon holiday event

TARPON SPRINGS — Residents can expect a little yuletide tune-up this Friday as There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs comes back to downtown for another holiday season.

The event provided a pleasant, albeit hectic, surprise for organizers during last year’s inaugural go-around.

“Last year sort of snuck up on us,” said Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce President Sue Thomas with a laugh.

The organizers only expected a few thousand in 2012, so when 30,000 total showed up it was ”quite a surprise,” Thomas said. ”It was crowded, but because they came and went it wasn’t like it was a mob scene.”

Given the near guarantee of yet another snow-less Christmas in west-central Florida, the allure of falling flakes apparently appeals to the masses.

Ten tons of the white stuff is being shipped in for the Friday evening event, which will start at 4 p.m. About 90 minutes later, when the sun is setting, snow will be blow from rooftops, creating the a temporary winter wonderland.

The falling snow is one of numerous attractions Friday. Two live reindeer will be on display in a grassy area near the SunTrust Bank on Tarpon Avenue, and hay rides and horse-drawn carriage rides will depart from near Tarpon Tavern on Safford Avenue.

Toward the end of the evening’s festivities, the Holiday Illuminated Boat Parade will pull into Spring Bayou. The boat parade, with captains cruising their decked out vessels from the Sponge Docks to the bayou for display.

Organizers have added the block of Tarpon Avenue between Pinellas Avenue and Spring Boulevard to the event. Unbehagen Advisors, located along that stretch, is a movie sponsor and will present the Will Ferrell holiday comedy “Elf.” Families can even go see Santa Claus himself across the street from Unbehagen, at The 1910 Inn. Children can bring their Christmas wish lists to place in Santa’s Mailbox.

Two local Girl Scout troops have helped highlight the Christmas theme this year, Thomas said. Senior Troops 915 and 920 have affixedhomemade paper snowflakes to the storefront windows of downtown businesses. The flakes add to the other decorations already hung by the city and the tree at Tarpon and Pinellas avenues.

“They’re putting those snowflakes up all over storefronts up and down Tarpon Avenue to go along with There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon,” Thomas said of the Girl Scouts’ efforts. “It really looks fantastic already and we can’t wait to see it on Friday.”

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