Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park

By Lyndsay Brunstetter

Every year Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa turns into a winter attraction for people of all ages and their dogs to enjoy. This attraction will run from November 16 till January 5.

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The outdoor event presented by Tampa Bay Lightning overlooks the Tampa Riverwalk. It will have an outdoor ice skating rink. Tickets are $14 per person to skate for 90 minutes and includes rental skates. Private event skating packages can be accommodated for at the Winter Village 5,000 square feet of real ice in the rink.

The Winter Village will also have 10 boutiques from local businesses. Including Unlock Tampa Bay, The Modern Paws, JF Pop Up Shop, Jadufy Magic Shop, FroDough, Don Me Now, Chef Inspired Popcorn, Black & Denim, Cotton Candy Bar and Circa / FORMA. These boutiques have items such as food, decorative goods, clothing apparel, toys, jewelry, and even dog accessories.

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The TECO Line Streetcar partnered with Tampa Downtown to give guests the Winter Village Express experience on specific Sundays. Family and friends can indulge in holiday sweets, listen to holiday music and participate in winter games. This excursion is $5 a person and can be purchased on the streetcar. There are no purchases to be made beforehand as the streetcar is limited in seating.

The installation of lights on all of the trees is new this year. The lights will be synced with specific music at certain times to give guests a light show Winter Village. There is also an abundance of giant colored Christmas trees located opposite the water front’s edge. There are many colored waterspouts near the Christmas trees where small children can be found playing and racing through the water.

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“This was a great way to take a breather from all of my finals and just enjoy some hot chocolate by the water and watch a wonderful light show,” said Patricia Borczyk, junior at USF.

Guests can also take pictures by two giant sand sculptures created by Tampa Bay’s local artists, Sandtastic. Sandtastic art sculptures have become an annual appearance. They have been featured in the Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival.

There are a few stations such as the Icicle Craft Kitchen where guests can purchase coffee and or food. There are a lot of seating for families and friends to eat their food. The playground is still open for kids to run around on and benches for the adults to watch their children.

Guests can park at the William F. Poe Parking Garage which is in walking distance of the park. Visitors can park on the street after 6 pm on weekdays and weekends north of Kennedy Boulevard for free.

“I love this time of year and when I heard there was going to be an ice skating rink in the park, I knew I had to go and check it out with my friends,” said Eliana Buchholz, junior at USF.