A Dazzling Collection of Trees
Every year, countless cities and towns across the U.S. hold tree lighting ceremonies, but there are two here in The Palm Beaches that would - quite literally - be hard to top. On Thursday, December 5, both the Giant Holiday Sand Tree in Downtown West Palm Beach and the 100-Foot Tree in Delray Beach will flip the switches and light up the holiday season. Made of more than 400 tons of sand, the Giant Holiday Sand Tree takes center stage at Waterfront Commons and is surrounded by holiday-themed sand sculptures scattered throughout the downtown area. A few miles down the road in downtown Delray Beach, a soaring 100-foot-tall tree sits at Old School Square allowing you to walk inside, around and under its many branches. The setting also includes a holiday carousel, outdoor ice-skating rink, toy train and more. Back in West Palm Beach, pay a visit to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens for the Annual Festival of Trees, which will be on display December 7-14. Following this year's theme - Wonder of Words - the trees will be decorated by 30 guest designers to poetic themes and will be set to a synchronized light and music show.
Holiday Parade . . . on the Water
For a seasonal celebration, Florida style, take in any one of three boat parades, where vessels of all sizes are decorated to show their holiday spirit as they cruise the Intracoastal Waterway.
On December 7, the Boca Boat Parade begins at C-15 Canal, near the Boca Raton/Delray border. Bleacher viewing is available at Silver Palms and Red Reef parks in Boca Raton. Led by a traveling fireworks display, the Palm Beach Boat Parade casts off from North Palm Beach and goes north to Jupiter Lighthouse. Viewing sites include the North Palm Beach Country Club, Juno Park, Sawfish Bay Park, Jetty's (1075 A1A in Jupiter) and famous Square Grouper Tiki Bar (ages 21 and older). On December 13, the Boynton/Delray Boat Parade sets sail from Boynton Beach Marina. The maritime merriment heads south to C-15 Canal in Delray Beach.
A Holiday Classic
Take a step back in time at the Flagler Museum, the former Palm Beach estate of oil magnate Henry Flagler and now a National Historic Landmark, and enjoy Christmas at Whitehall. Throughout December, the first floor of the museum is decorated in traditional Gilded Age splendor. The focal point is a 16-foot-tall tree, which stands in the Grand Hall and is adorned with Gilded Age-style ornaments. From December 18-23, Holiday Tours go on an after-hours by the glow of the original 1902 light fixtures. Visitors will hear tales of the origin of American Christmas Traditions and enjoy holiday-inspired refreshments.