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12/1/2010 10:12:00 PM
Festival of Lights begins Saturday at Stephen Foster State Park, one of six parks hosting holiday events

TALLAHASSEE – Holiday cheer and spirit is filling the air and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging Floridians to step into a Florida State Park and enjoy the festive magic and splendor of a holiday light display. Featuring millions of bright lights draped across beautiful landscapes, these state park exhibits are the perfect venue to celebrate the holiday season.

“From intricate and dazzling to simple and elegant state park light displays are a result of dedication and hard work from volunteers and employees sharing their holiday spirit,” said DEP Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “I encourage everyone to take a break from the busy holiday schedule and to come soak up the spirit with their family and friends.”

The following is a list by event date of state parks hosting light displays in Florida during the holidays:

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs

December 4-31, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Experience the ultimate high voltage holiday of more than four million lights on display including the majestic oak trees adorned with thousands of lights, an antebellum museum dressed in full holiday splendor, Santa’s runway and more. Admission is $2 per person and includes complimentary hot chocolate and popcorn. For more information, call (386) 397-4331.

CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW

Three Rivers State Park, Sneads

December 10 and 17, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Three Rivers State Park invites visitors to a scenic drive through the park to enjoy all the beautiful light displays. Admission is waived for the event. For more information, call (850) 482-9006.

13TH ANNUAL NIGHT OF LIGHTS

Fort Cooper State Park, Inverness

December 12-16, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

The park will be adorned with lights and luminaries for visitor’s enjoyment, sponsored by the Citrus County Chronicle. Admission is the donation of non-perishable foods or new un-wrapped toys to benefit the Citrus United Basket. For more information, call (352) 726-0315.

LIGHTS ON THE BAY BOAT PARADE

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne

December 18, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Inspired by a forty-seven year tradition, approximately fifty boats will sail out of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club decked out in holiday lights and sail around Biscayne Bay. Food, beverages and music will be available at the Boaters Grill. Admission is waived for this event. For more information, call (305) 361-9171.

CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa

December 18-24 and 27, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

The park will be decked out for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights and Christmas decorations during this multi-evening event sponsored by the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Admission is $2 donation for adults and $1 for children. For more information, call 352-628-5343.

SANTA OVER THE RAINBOW

Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon

December 26 and 27, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Walk through the wonderland of lights that decorate the headsprings area of Rainbow Springs State Park for the last time of the holiday season. Admission is $1 per person. For more information, call (352) 465-8555.

About Florida State Parks

Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org







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