What’s Good Guide of Weekly Events in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 14-20, 2023

whats good guide of weekly events
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Unwrap a festive weekend with What’s Good and discover gingerbread houses, dances for the sugar plum fairy, orchestral performances and more. Make magical memories with Dance Alive National Ballet and The Nutcracker. Celebrate holiday traditions in Newberry with gingerbread houses, an enchanting parade and the 7th Annual Christmas on the Square. Hear songs from around the world as the Gainesville Orchestra performs Symphonic Season’s Greetings.

Be dazzled by a Winter Wonderland display of over 100,000 lights. Tee up Beatles music on the golf course at Groovin’ on the Green.

Read on for more of What’s Good.

Be safe and be well,
Your partners at Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

Be Informed: The below information was accurate at the time of publishing. 
Please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

ballet dancers

Make Magical Memories with Timeless Music and Beautiful Imagery as Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
Friday, December 15 – Sunday, December 17 | UF Phillips Center
3201 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611

The holiday classic, family-friendly ballet performance portrays the story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they go on a magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets for a regal show from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

gingerbread houses

Celebrate Christmas Traditions in Newberry with Gingerbread Houses, Festive Parade and Christmas on the Square

Newberry Main Street Gingerbread Contest and Snow Flurries in Barry Park
Saturday, December 16, 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Share sweet fun as whimsical and enchanting gingerbread houses compete for the judges. Enjoy snow flurries, snowball games and music leading up to the annual Christmas Parade.Sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

Christmas Parade in Downtown Newberry
Saturday, December 16, 5:30 p.m.
See vibrant floats, marching bands and holiday cheer fill the streets of Newberry. 

7th Annual Christmas on the Square at CountryWay Town Square
Saturday, December 16, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Visit with Santa and enjoy bounce houses, crafts, food, hot chocolate and more.

friends of the nature coast concert

Support Hurricane Relief with an All-Star Country Lineup at the Friends of the Nature Coast Concert
Thursday, December 14, 7 p.m. | Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center
23100 W Newberry Rd., Newberry, FL 32669 

The Friends of the Nature Coast concert lineup features music from Lee Brice, Randy Houser, Jerrod Niemann, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lance Miller and Rob Hatch. Proceeds from the concert benefit those still recovering from Hurricane Idalia along the Nature Coast of Florida. Learn more and get tickets online.

painting of umbrella

Experience Art Collections in a New Way at Museum Nights: Holidays in the Tropics
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Harn Museum of Art

3259 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32608

Join the Harn Museum of Art after hours for a festive celebration with an tropical theme. DJ AA brings the party with music from Latin America and beyond. Enjoy tours, art activities and dance performances inspired by the exhibition Under the Spell of the Palm Tree: The Rice Collection of Cuban Art. Admission is free.

Image: Alex Hernández, “Comfort Pattern 56,” (detail) from the series “Habana-Miami,” 2013, Collection of Susie and Mitchell Rice

dashing through history

Journey Through Time with the Matheson History Museum at Dashing Through History
Saturday, December 16, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Matheson History Museum

513 E University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

History and holidays intertwine with holiday magic celebrated through different eras. Enjoy festive historic décor, live music, delicious desserts, photos with Santa and more.
Sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

seasons greetings

(sold out) Find Holiday Cheer with Songs from Around the World at the Gainesville Orchestra’s Symphonic Season’s Greetings
Friday, December 15, 7:30 p.m. | Santa Fe College Jackson N Sasser Fine Arts Hall
3000 NW 83rd St., E-127, Gainesville, FL 32606 

Relish an international celebration of the most joyous time of the year including Saint-Saëns’ exalted “Organ Symphony,” “Dances of Tchaikovsky,” special guests, surprising favorites and a finale sing-along that will make your heart glow.

Before the Symphonic Season’s Greetings concert, arrive in the lobby at 6:45 p.m. and join the UF Trombone Studio and Gainesville Orchestra trombonists for “Yuleslide,” A Trombone Holiday Caroling Event. Sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

playlist at the pointe

Kickoff Your Weekend with Live Music, Good Food and Fun Times at Playlist at the Pointe
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Celebration Pointe

4949 Celebration Pointe Ave., Gainesville, FL 32608

Grab a chair or spread a blanket and enjoy singer-songwriter Lauren Woodall performing on the Promenade stage as the sun sets. Enjoy food and drinks from nearby Celebration Pointe restaurants. 

groovin on the green

Tee Up Beatles Music on the Golf Course with The Impostors at Groovin’ on the Green
Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Ironwood Golf Course

2100 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32609

Relax on the patio with food and drink specials and even take a swing at the driving range that lights up at night. The Impostors are one of Gainesville’s longest-running bands with a wide selection of The Beatle’s favorites. Admission is free.

operation santa delivery

Bring the Kids to See Santa Arrive by Helicopter at Operation Santa Delivery
Saturday, December 16, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Santa Fe College North Field

3700 NW 91st St., Gainesville, FL 32606

Get free pictures with Santa after a dramatic entrance. Enjoy games, kids activities, food trucks and more. Admission is free.

century tower

Hear 61 Bells Ring Out with Holiday Music at the Florida Carillon Festival
Saturday, December 16, 7:30 p.m. | UF Century Tower 

Guest Carillonneur Dick van Dijk presents a program of classic holiday arrangements and popular Christmas music. For an optimal listening experience, find a location at least 100 feet from the tower.

Join additional graduating studio recitals from Rayyan Merchant on Friday, December 15 at 6:15 p.m. and Anna Huber (assisted by Beth Blair) on Saturday, December 16 at 11 a.m. Music programs are available online.

UF’s carillon is one of 4 in Florida and consists of 61 bells, housed in Century Tower, a landmark structure completed in 1956 as a memorial for students and alumni who died in World Wars. The pipe organ located in the University Auditorium was a musical landmark in its day, unveiled in 1925 with 61 ranks and 4,101 pipes. 

winter wonderland light display

Be Dazzled by 100,000 Lights at the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Display
Fridays and Saturdays through December 30 | North Central Florida YMCA

5201 NW 34th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32605

Walkthrough the mesmerizing display show by Twinkle Nights Holiday Lights and experience an illuminated wonderland. Activities include character meet and greets, ornament making, cookie decorating, letters to Santa, snowball throwing, photo ops and more. Learn more and get tickets online.

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Pop-Up Markets and Retail Shopping

Flea and Farmers Market at VFW Post 2811
Saturday, December 16, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Vintage Crafts, Arts and Clothing with Grove Galleria at Flashbacks Recycled Fashion
Saturday, December 16, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

holiday markets at the the auk

Holiday Pop-Up Market at The AUK Market
Saturday, December 16, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Shop local boutiques and national brands at Butler Enterprises, Celebration Pointe, The Oaks Mall and Shoppes at Thornebrook.

Arts & Theatre

annie warbucks the musical adventure continues

Continue the Storie of Annie with New Laughs, Unforgettable Songs and Familiar Characters at Annie Warbucks at Star Center Theatre
Thursday, December 7 – Sunday, December 17

ultimate christmas show

The Ultimate Christmas Show(abridged)
Book by Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin
Now through December 23 | The Hippodrome Theatre
This audience favorite is back! The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) bursts with festive, slapstick fun as these cheerful comedians celebrate all of our favorite holiday traditions—at the same time.

achristmas carol

A Christmas Carol
Now through December 23 | The Hippodrome Theatre
“A Christmas Carol” is a beloved Gainesville holiday tradition featuring singing and storytelling people of all ages will enjoy. Join us as we celebrate Scrooge’s redemption through dance, laughter, and heartfelt songs, and become part of this cherished annual family and community event.

Untangle a Hilarious Web of Mistaken Infatuations at the of Opening Weekend of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Now through Sunday, December 17 | Acrosstown Repertory Theatre
3501 SW 2nd Ave., Suite O, Gainesville, FL 32607
William Shakespeare’s comedy follows Duke Orsino who is in love with the noblewoman Olivia. She, however, has fallen for his servant Cesario, who is actually Viola, a woman disguised as a man, who loves Orsino: confusion is rife. Meanwhile, Olivia’s arrogant steward Malvolio is cruelly tricked by her uncle Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and the maidservant Maria into believing his mistress loves him.

Get the Holidays on Track with The Christmas Express Departing from High Springs Playhouse
Now through Sunday, December 23
The nostalgic theatrical greeting card is full of holiday spirit. Meet eccentric small-town characters on their journey to find the true wonder of Christmas. 

“Christmas in Ireland” Irish Dance with Gainesville Dance Academy at the Historic Thomas Center
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m.

indepenDANCE Studio presents Happy HoliDances 2023 at University Auditorium
Saturday, December 16, 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Events & Festivals

Santa at the Square in Waldo
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Archer Christmas Celebration at Archer Community Center
Saturday, December 16, 6 p.m.

Gods and Monsters Student Circus Showcase at Gainesville Circus Center
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m., Saturday, December 16, 2 p.m.

alachua holiday nights with people on main street

Holiday Nights Shop Dine and Stroll at Main Street Alachua
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Holiday Lights Downtown Crawl with Go Downtown in Downtown Gainesville
Saturday, December 16, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Santa Visits Gainesville Harley-Davidson
Sunday, December 17, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Blacksmithing at Holiday Open House at Leslie Tharp Designs
Sunday, December 17, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Music & Performance

Jazz with Eric Diamond at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Singer-Songwriter Matthew McCartney at Lightnin’ Salvage
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Southern Rock with No Harm Done at High Dive
Thursday, December 14, 7 p.m.

Cody Canada and The Departed at Heartwood Soundstage
Thursday, December 14, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Community Choral Singing with 1000 Voices of Florida at Oakview Community Center
Friday, December 15, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Kiss 105.3 Concert Series with Claire Vandiver at Celebration Pointe
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Classic Rock with Enlightened Rogues at One Love Café
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Jazz with Nick DeCarlis Trio at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Friday, December 15, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Blues and Folk Album Release with Dan Stepp at The Bull
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m.

julia cole

Country with Julia Cole at Heartwood Soundstage
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Voices Rising Community Chorus Holiday Concert at First United Methodist Church
Friday, December 15, 7:30 p.m.

No Doubt Tribute with Subliminal Doubt at High Dive
Friday, December 15, 8 p.m.

florida songwriters round at looseys

Songwriters Round at Loosey’s Downtown
Friday, December 15, 8 p.m.

Sorry for Party Rockin’ 2010s Dance Night with DJ Drew Love at The Wooly
Friday, December 15, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Jazz with Swing Theory at One Love Café
Saturday, December 16, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Jazzy Christmas with Cathy DeWitt and Thomas Royal at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Saturday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Alt-Country with Whiskey and Co, Coffee Project Featuring Sooza Brass Band, Uncle Mosie and Rancho La Chua at Loosey’s Downtown
Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m.

Folk with Ron and Bari Duo at Theatre of Memory
Saturday, December 16, 7:30 p.m.

Punk with Eradicator, Wolf-Face, Shehehe, Teen Agers at The Backyard at Boca Fiesta and Palomino Pool Hall
Saturday, December 16, 8 p.m.

Rock with Five Eight at High Dive
Saturday, December 16, 8 p.m.

Jazz with Donnie and the Newcombs at One Love Café
Sunday, December 17, 11 a.m.

A Gainesville Big Band Christmas at Meizon Church
Sunday, December 17, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Punk with D.R.I. at Loosey’s Downtown
Sunday, December 17, 6 p.m.

Sally B’s Dashing Revue Live Burlesque Show at High Dive
Sunday, December 17, 6:30 p.m.

Traditional Irish Session at Lightnin’ Salvage
Tuesday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Craft Breweries

Image of the Sippin' Seven Ale Trail logo depicting a blue bison witj seven blue birds siting on the Bison's back. Photo also shows a pint glass with the same logo. Text on image says: Award-winning breweries. Gainesville. Alachua. High Springs. Visit

Here’s to the “Sippin’ Squad” and all the sippers who helped make the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County digital ale trail pass a great success!

Almost 4,000 pass holders and 15,000 check-ins showed us that visitors and residents love award-winning craft beer and making time with friends. Stay in touch with all the events and happenings with the trail breweries with Sippin’ Seven on Tap.

Jazz Bandits at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

holiday marketplace at swamp head

Browse Gift Vendors at Holiday Marketplace with Shop Otis’ Closet at Swamp Head Brewery
Saturday, December 16, 12 p.m.

Hops and Shop Night Market at High Springs Brewing Company
Saturday, December 16, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Florida Vintage Market at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Sunday, December 17, 12 p.m.

Brunch at the Brewery with Cheffrey’s at Swamp Head Brewery
Sunday, December 17, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

U-Picks and Farmers Markets

Grove Street Farmers Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. –7 p.m.

Archer Farmers Market at Archer Historical Society Railroad Museum
Tuesdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Union Street Farmers Market at Bo Diddley Plaza
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

GNV Holiday Market at South Main Station with Live Music from The Shambles
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Holiday Farmers Market at Celebration Pointe
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

High Springs Farmers Market
Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Haile Village Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

deck the stals festival

“Deck the Stalls” Holiday Festival at the Alachua County Farmers Market
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmers and Flea Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Bites and Brunch

Wine Time Festive Tasting with Nada Wine at Serpentine Plants and Provisions
Thursday, December 14, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Wine Tasting at Superette Wine and Provisions
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

Wine Tasting at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Thursday, December 14, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Wine Tasting at the Traveler Wine Bar
Thursday, December 14, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

wines and macarons

Free Wine and Macaron Tasting at Le Macaron
Friday, December 15, 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Whiskey Tasting and Chef Dinner Pairing at The Fat Tuscan
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Nutcracker Pop-Up Cocktail Bar at The Traveler
Friday, December 15, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m., Saturday, December 16, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

fete de lhiver

Holiday Cheer, Seasonal Grazing Table, Games, Music and More at Fête de l’Hiver at Petit Uppercrust
Saturday, December 16, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Winter Wine Celebration at Beaker and Flask Wine Co.
Saturday, December 16, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Tea with Santa at Teatime, Tranquility and Treasures
Sunday, December 17, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Winter Flavor Night at Sweet Dreams Ice Cream
Sunday, December 17, 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Parks & Trails

Free Timed 5K at Depot Park parkrun
Saturday, December 9, 7:30 a.m.

Christmas in the Park at O’Leno State Park
Saturday, December 16, 1 p.m.

Ranger-Led Rim Ramble Hike at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park La Chua Trail
Saturday, December 16, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

snowman riding a bike

Trek Holiday Lights Bike Ride at Depot Park
Saturday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

River & Springs

paddling on the santa fe river

Enjoy Cooler Weather and Explore the Outdoors and with Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures and Visit 8 Springs in 8 Miles
Friday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fed by the underground Floridan Aquifer, North Florida has one of the highest concentrations of springs in the world. Anderson’s Outdoor Adventure offers an easy way to experience 8 springs in 8 miles. Paddle along the Santa Fe River in a canoe or kayak and experience crystal clear water, see native wildlife and relax in a tranquil nature setting. 

tubing at the springs

Float or Splash Into Freshwater Springs
North Florida is home to the largest collection of first-magnitude springs in the United States. The springs make a perfect destination for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and relaxing in nature. If you’re looking for outdoor fun, we’ve got you covered with our list of nearby springs, great places to stay and fun things to do.

Museums & Galleries

Docent-led Weekend Tour at the Harn Museum of Art
Saturday, December 16, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

sign up here exhibit logo on different color backgrounds

Sign Up Here at The Historic Thomas Center
Now through January 19

“Vital and Veiled: Valerie Brathwaite and José Fernández” at the Gary R. Libby University Gallery
Now through January 26

Tom Petty with Guitar

Go Behind-the-Scenes with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer at the new Exhibit “Tom Petty: Among the Wildflowers”
Open Now through December 31, Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
811 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Tom Petty: Among the Wildflowers explores the joys, pains, and creative awakenings that Gainesville native Tom Petty experienced while pouring his soul into his magnum opus, Wildflowers, released in November 1994. The exhibit includes artifacts previously on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.  Explore three unique aspects of the Wildflowers creative process: songwriting, recording, and reception and delivery. The exhibit runs through December 31.

Chill with Cool Dinos at the New Interactive Exhibit “Antarctic Dinosaurs”
Now through April 21 | Florida Museum of Natural History
3215 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611 
Step back in time and discover life beneath the ice in Antarctic Dinosaurs. Uncover the history of the world’s southernmost continent and the unique species that have called it home in this interactive, family-friendly experience. Antarctic Dinosaurs is on display through April 21.

Save The Date

The Curry’s Christmas at Heartwood Soundstage, December 21

Christmas Tours at Carson Springs Wildlife, December 23

It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play, December 23

Flying Pig Parade in Downtown Gainesville, December 30

Tu Fiesta Radio New Year’s Eve Eve, December 30

Sparks in the Park at Depot Park, December 31

Spark Wonder at the Cade Museum, December 31

For a complete list of events please visit

Thank you for your continued partnership! Please keep in communication with us by sharing your events, updates and news with our team by emailing

Your participation, communication, and sharing of events and programs is a key way for us to market our community to visitors and to enhance the engagement of residents in all of the incredible programs you create.

Put simply, the more you share with us, the more we have to promote. Please read the attached PDF document for additional ways in which your organization can participate.

Visit Gainesville, Alachua County | (352) 374-5260 | 33 North Main Street, Gainesville 32601 Never miss an event: Follow Visit Gainesville, Alachua County on social media.

The images and materials included in the Alachua County What’s Good guide of weekly events may be copyrighted works and property of the content provider, and thus subject to legal protections. Display by the County of such does not authorize another to copy, reproduce, distribute, publish, display, modify, or in any way exploit any such works.

This publication contains information about events, venues and activities in Alachua County, Florida. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors or omissions in the information provided. For complete details, contact the host directly. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the information is correct, accurate, complete or non-misleading. We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.

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