By Diane Feen
November 22, 2023
You don’t have to go to the North Pole or Disneyland to discover the magic of the holiday season in Delray Beach.
They didn’t call Delray the most fun small town in America for no reason. There are parades, Festive celebrations of light, music, art, shopping, Santa and a blizzard of activities.
The good news – there will be no blizzards and no freezing temperatures. The even better news is that there will be good cheer and fun in the sun. There will also be cool things to do when the sun bids adieu.
The holiday begins with the lighting of the glorious 100-Foot Christmas Tree on Tuesday November 28th from 6 to 9pm at Old School Square. Fun facts: There are 18,000 ornaments, 31 miles of garland, 15,000 pounds of branches and 13 miles of lights.
The 100-foot Christmas Tree is so brilliant that it just won the prestigious Gold IFEA Award from the International Festivals & Events Association. The award was given at the 66th IFEA Convention and competed against submissions from renowned festivals and events worldwide.
You could call that a win-win for Delray, and for everyone who enjoys the holiday rituals and fanfare of the holiday season. The twinkle of lights soar as high as Santa and his reindeers would possibly climb on a typical Tuesday night.
The Yuletide Street Festival kicks off the same night at 6pm and includes children’s activities and games, food, live musical performances, a silent disco, Victorian Carolers, crafts, and Santa. There will be vendors on Atlantic Avenue and Pineapple Grove, three entertainment stages and more.
The Delray Beach Holiday Village will transform Old School Square into a winter wonderful from November 28 to December 31st. This festive holiday village has everything to make the little ones (and grown-ups) smile. There’s a skating rink, carousel rides, Santa’s house, photos with Santa, the tree village and Gingerbread house.
On December 7th (from 5 to 7) the festival of Hanukkah will be lighting up the night with a huge Menorah Lighting at OSS. There will be luscious Latkes and donuts, a bounce houses, face painters, games and crafts for kids. There’s also a DJ, festive Hanukkah music and good vibes. They will also be giving out menorahs.
The Holiday Boat Parade takes place Friday December 8th at 6 pm. It features dozens of beautifully decorated boats decked out in their finest dazzling holiday decor. The festive boats will light up the Intracoastal and can be seen in Delray from Deck 84, Del Fuego, Veterans Park and Knowles Park.
The next day – Saturday December 9th - is the City of Delray Beach’s Holiday Parade - Frosty in Florida. It goes from the Intracoastal Bridge to NW 5th Avenue. Over 70 floats, marching bands, dance teams and walking groups will march along Atlantic Avenue to NW 5th Avenue. Awards will be given to the Grand Float, Best Non-Profit, Best Dance-Cheer Group, Best Business -Commercial, and Best Marching Band. Santa will ride along with The Delray Beach Fire Department as well.
On December 20th will be Cocoa, Cookies & Crafts at Old School Square from 6pm to 8. This festive holiday event brings together tradition (the cocoa and cookies) with craft gift items (holiday shopping), craft workshops and a festive night of celebration.
If you want to swing a few and score for the holiday, check out Putt’n Around miniature golf courses. Starting December 1st there will be a winter wonderland with 10,000 lights and Santa’s workshop and friends to brighten up your holiday. There will be book readings with Santa for kids with milk and cookies. These outer-worldly decorations will light up the kid in everyone. This Santa dreamscape is open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well at 350 NE 5th Ave in Delray Beach.
The Delray Beach Jingle Bell Jog 5K takes place Saturday, December 23 from 7:30 am to 9:30 am At Anchor Park. The run is another holiday activity that will get you moving and working off those holiday cakes and cookies.
The holiday is not just good cheer and great food (though it does make a good point for celebrating). There is also culture in our small town with big aspirations. At the Delray Beach Playhouse they have a Lunch Box Matinee called a Christmas Carol on December 2 and 3rd. With a full regalia of 24 roles from a steamer trunk, Timur Kocak does a 70-minute one-man version of Charles Dickens’ 1843 holiday classic, A Christmas Carol! You get lunch when you purchase a ticket.
What would the holidays be without live music? That’s why the Arts Garage is hosting musical holiday vibes. December 10th is a Very Diva Christmas, a classic Christmas tribute with songs from Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters and more. December 15th is Dick Lowenthal’s Big Band with Lisanne Lyons: Royalty of Jazz Salutes The Holidays. They’ll be the Jazz of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman, and festive music from the big bands. On December 22nd Anthony Nunziata is performing a holiday musical called: My Italian Christmas!
To say goodbye to the old and hello to the new, Delray Beach is hosting their family-friendly New Year's Eve Party at OSS on December 31st from 6 to 9pm. There will be fireworks and a D.J.
If you believe that to do good is to be good, don’t forget the 33rd Annual Delray Holiday Toy Drive by the Delray Citizens for Delray Police. Donate toys for children ages 5 to 16 at your business for pick-up or send a check for the purchase of a new toy. Toy Drop Off Sites are at all Delray Beach Fire-Rescue Stations. For information go to http://www.mydelraybeach.com or contact
LT Rachel Reed (561) 243-7000 ext. 2911.
Welcome to the most fun small town in America. We think big but keep it small so everyone can luxuriate in good holiday cheer!
Friends of Delray