The holiday season kicked off with color this week in our area of the Florida West Coast. A long list of events was available, the overlapping opportunities impossible to visit for one person. One of the up and coming seasonal events of the region is Snow Place Like Tarpon in the small coastal town of Tarpon Springs, Florida. This Christmas themed attraction is held on the main street through the town, lined with vendors, food carts, and music trucks. Like its name implies, this Florida town blows manufactured snow from the street corners to add to the holiday cheer.
This event became an immediate favorite for the region for a multitude of reasons. This year had all the items the crowd has come to expect. First was the snow. Aside from the “flakes” floating down onto the street corners, the town also filled a vacant lot with snow. The gated area let the kids in for a snowy experience they were not like to get anywhere else inside the state. While it was not the powder you would find in the mountainsides of Colorado, the kids didn’t seem to mind at all. That part of the street was filled with children and came with all the volume of children’s voices you might expect.
The street was trimmed with holiday decorations. A large Christmas tree at the corner of the main intersection into town stood adjacent to a parking lot that was being used as a dance floor with a circle of children enjoying music.
The food was another big hit. While a few of the trucks were what you might expect, plenty of others served specialty foods. The smells filled the street and drove insane anyone who hadn’t made their dining choice yet. Carnival style foods topped off the choices, lending to the fun atmosphere.
In addition to the food and holiday wares sold by the vendors, there were plenty of other activities. Grade schools, middle schools, and high schools brought out their dancing troupes earlier in the night. Visitors were treated to multiple shows at once as the teams danced their routines in the streets dressed in red, white, and sequins. Along the side streets, pubs were going full bore while along the brick paved back roads of Tarpon Springs other attendees were enjoying themselves on open carriage rides and hay rides.
At the end of it all, the crowd moved as one toward the bayou where the waterfront became a giant amphitheater for the lighted boat parade which is a lot of fun to see.
All in all, it might be the best holiday event of the region. While the event has only run for a few years, it has already gained a following. The street had thousands of people strolling at the height of the event, how many thousands attended this year is yet to be announced but from the looks of it, it might have done better even than last year. This event has all the trademarks of a tradition that could survive for decades if not, perhaps, even longer.