What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 15-21, 2022

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Bundle up and layer in the fun this weekend with What’s Good, beginning with the much-awaited seasonal favorite Dance Alive National Ballet’s The Nutcracker – featuring spectacular performances both at the UF Phillips Center and at the Legacy Park Amphitheatre. Enjoy a family-friendly adventure with the City of Newberry’s Gingerbread Village and Christmas on the Square or shop, dine and stroll at Holiday Nights on Main Street Alachua. Meet local artists and browse unique gifts at High Springs Art Walk.

No holiday season is complete without a trip to downtown Gainesville’s holiday headquarters: the Hippodrome Theatre. This year, the theatre features two live productions – the classic A Christmas Carol warming the hearts of audiences (and Ebenezer Scrooge!) and the laugh-out-loud Murder for Two, Holiday Edition. Head outdoors with the new Accessible Tram Tours at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, stargaze over the open Paynes Prairie sky from Hickory Ranch, or see the sky light up at Gainesville Raceway at the La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival.

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.

Dancers in costume for The Nutcracker

Create Memories with Timeless Music, Glorious Dance and Beautiful Imagery as Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 18, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. | UF Phillips Center
3201 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611

The timeless 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.

(sold out) Dance Alive National Ballet Presents Ballet Dance Class with Clara
Saturday, December 17, 4 p.m., – Sunday, December 18, 4 p.m.

dance alive nutcracker under the stars

The City of Alachua and Dance Alive National Ballet Present Nutcracker Under the Stars at Legacy Park
Friday, December 16, 7 p.m.
Bring a chair and experience the magic of The Nutcracker from Amphitheatre at Legacy Park. Enjoy hot chocolate and popcorn while supplies last. Admission is free.

christmas at the square

Enjoy Holiday Family Fun at the 6th Annual Christmas on the Square
Saturday, December 17, 6 p.m. | CountryWay Town Square
1739 SW NW 248 Terr., Newberry, FL 32669

Bring the family for holiday fun in Newberry with bounce houses, Santa, crafts, food, hot chocolate and holiday lights.

Also in Newberry, don’t miss the Gingerbread Village on Newberry Main Street ( 25438 West Newberry Rd., Newberry, FL 32669) with Nana’s Gingerbread House Decorating Contest at 3 p.m. and the annual Christmas parade at 5:30 p.m.

a christmas carol and murder for two holiday edition

Celebrate the Holidays with Stage Performances at the Hippodrome Theatre
No holiday season is complete without a trip to downtown Gainesville’s holiday headquarters: the Hippodrome Theatre! The magic of the mainstage is just the start – the Hipp has festivities throughout the building including delicious specialty cocktails at the bar and stunning decorations throughout the building – making it the perfect destination for your holiday excursions with friends, co-workers, visiting guests and the entire family.

Murder for Two Holiday Edition
Now through Friday, December 23
One of Hippodrome Theatre’s most popular productions returns with a festive twist. One actor plays the investigator, the other plays all 13 suspects, and both play the piano throughout. This ‘whodunit’ is the perfect blend of music, mayhem, murder and mistletoe.

A Christmas Carol
Now through Friday, December 23
Bah Humbug to dashing through the snow and sleigh rides in Florida. Staying true to the weighty themes of the original novel while delivering a gripping story, cheerful holiday music, and genuine laughs for the whole family, A Christmas Carol at the Hippodrome Theatre is one of Gainesville’s favorite holiday traditions.

high springs art walk

Meet Local Artists and Makers and Stroll Through Charming High Springs at the Downtown High Springs Holiday Art Walk
Saturday, December 17, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Downtown High Springs

Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies features Patrice Boyes, painting local springs and waterways landscapes in palette knife and acrylic paint inside the gallery. After Art Walk, join Old Florida Vibes for the opening exhibit reception at Good News Arts, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

colorful hot air balloons and crowd of people

Watch the Sky Light Up at La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival
Friday, December 16 – Saturday, December 17, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. | Gainesville Raceway
11211 N CR 225, Gainesville, FL 32609

Bring the family and enjoy roaming entertainers, live music and vendor market. Showing twice per night, the spectacular Night Glow and Laser Show features towering hot air balloons, lasers, and pyrotechnics synchronized to high-energy music. Tethered balloon ride experiences are available for purchase.

a christmas story

See Holiday Movie Moments Come to Life at the Stage Adaptation of “A Christmas Story”
Friday, December 2 – Sunday, December 18 | High Springs Playhouse
23416 W US Hwy. 27, High Springs, FL 32643

Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Moments from the movie take center stage including the boys’ experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost and Ralphie’s father winning a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg.

century tower

Hear 61-Bells Ring Out at a Florida Carillon Festival Performance
Saturday, December 17, 3 p.m. | UF Century Tower

375 Newell Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Century Tower is a 157-foot carillon tower in the center of the University of Florida campus featuring 61 bells. The Tower was built in 1953 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the university and was dedicated to UF students killed in World Wars I and II. For an optimal listening experience, find a location at least 100 feet from the tower.

Guest artist Wim Ruitenbeek performs a variety of holiday music including a Ukrainian Christmas Medley and music from movies and popular hits. View the musical program here (pdf).

main street alachua with lights

Shop, Dine and Stroll at Holiday Night on Main Street Alachua Saturday, December 17, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Main Street Alachua

Reserve a visit with Santa, enjoy live music from two stages, view a screening of The Santa Clause 3 and take a festive carriage ride. View a map of points of interest online.

the currys on stage

Sing Along to Holiday Favorites at Christmas with the Currys
Wednesday, December 21, 7 p.m. | Heartwood Soundstage

619 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Enjoy an outdoor concert on the lawn at Heartwood Soundstage. The Currys take the stage with their entertaining and high-energy renditions of seasonal songs.

Holiday Events and Tree Lightings

Spark Wonder 2023 at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Saturday, December 31, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

View more holiday events and celebrate the season at

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Pop-Up Markets and Retail Shopping

holiday market

Holiday Market at The AUK Market
Saturday, December 17, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops
Now through December 24

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

Arts & Theatre

shrek the musical

Be Transported to the Storybook Setting of DreamWorks’ Shrek The Musical at Gainesville Community Playhouse
Now through Sunday, December 18
“Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek….” The Gainesville Community Playhouse presents story of Shrek, a hulking green ogre content in his solitary life. When he comes to the rescue of a set of storybook characters, he ultimately finds true love. Shrek The Musical brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.

aint misbehavin

Go On a Musical Journey Through the 1920s-1930s Harlem Renaissance at the Musical “Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Star Center Theatre
Now through Sunday, December 18  
Experience the Tony Award-wining musical revue featuring the timeless music of Thomas “Fats” Waller. Jump and jive with memorable songs such as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Black and Blue,” “This Joint is Jumpin’,” and “I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling.” 

some old black man

See Family Dynamics Clash on Stage at the Dramatic Production of “Some Old Black Man” at Actors’ Warehouse
Now through Sunday, December 18
When Calvin moves his 82-year-old doggedly independent, blue collar, ailing, father from Greenwald, Mississippi into his Harlem penthouse, an argument over what to eat for breakfast turns into a generational clash over race, opportunity, and a decision that Calvin made years ago.

Events & Festivals

fiddlers convention

Florida Fiddlers Convention at O’Leno State Park
Friday, December 16 – Sunday, December 18

Circus in Wonderland at Gainesville Circus Center
Friday, December 16, 6 p.m., Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m.

kids drawing on an easel

Drawing Session with Figure on Diversity at A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center
Sunday, December 18, 12:30 p.m.

Music & Performance

Jazz with Decyo and the Newcombs at One Love Café
Thursday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Hard Rock with Apex at High Dive
Thursday, December 15, 8 p.m.

Florida Blues with Mr. Aullie at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, December 16, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

playlist at the pointe

Singer-Songwriter Lauren Woodall at Playlist at the Pointe at Celebration Pointe
Friday, December 16, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Ska-Punk with Joker’s Republic, Ebenezer and the Scrooges and Now Leaving Space at High Dive
Friday, December 16, 8 p.m.

Holiday Concerts with Voices Rising Community Chorus
Friday, December 16, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 17, 3 p.m.

harmony show chorus

Barbergators Chorus and Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus Present Holiday Harmonies IX – “It’s Party Time” at Westminster Presbyterian Church
Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Blues with Ramblin’ Mutts at the Kiss 105.3 Concert Series at Celebration Pointe
Saturday, December 17, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Jake Blount at Heartwood Soundstage
Saturday, December 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Metal with Purely Red at High Dive
Saturday, December 17, 8 p.m.

winter solstice celebration

36th Annual Veterans for Peace Winter Solstice Concert at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Saturday, December 17, 8 p.m.

Country and Classic Rock with Cole Terry at Lightnin’ Salvage
Saturday, December 17, 6 p.m – 9 p.m.

Classic Rock with Moondog at One Love Café
Sunday, December 18, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Sally B’s Dashing Revue with Live Music From Swing Theory
Sunday, December 18, 6:30 p.m.

Country and Classic Rock with Houston Keen at The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
Sunday, December 18, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

jazz at covey kitchen

Jazz Wednesdays with The Oak Trio at Covey Kitchen and Cocktails
Wednesday, December 21, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Craft Breweries

sippin seven

Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail Digital Pass
While you are visiting with family and friends, explore Alachua County’s unique craft breweries and sign up for free to the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail digital pass. Visit breweries, earn rewards and redeem your pass for “Billy the Bison and the Brew Birds” merchandise while supplies last.
Cheers to you and to Sippin’ All Seven!  

Celebrate Six Years of Blackadder Brewing Company
Thursday, December 15 – Friday, December 16, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Jazz Bandits at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Friday, December 16, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Holiday Market at Swamp Head Brewery
Saturday, December 17, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

sunday with santa

Sunday with Santa at Blackadder Brewing Company
Sunday, December 18, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Lights and Holiday-Themed Beers at Wonderland at the Wetlands at Swamp Head Brewery
Now through December 31

Holiday Movies and Beer Releases at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Now through December 31

U-Picks & Farmers Markets

Grove Street Farmers Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

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

GNV Holiday Market at South Main Station featuring Live Music
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

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

Alachua County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

newberry farmers market

Newberry Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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

Waldo Farmers Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Bites and Brunch

falafel salad bowl at cava

Now Open: CAVA
Select from bowls, pitas and more inspired by the Mediterranean way of life. Bold flavors of spicy harissa, braised lamb and crispy falafel are elevated with Kalamata olives, sprouted grain pita and a signature tangy preserved lemon vinaigrette. Find CAVA at 3730 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL 32608.

Breakfast With Santa at My Pizza Place On Main
Saturday, December 17, 9 a.m.


Ray’s Reindeer Rumble 3v3 Soccer Tournament at Jonesville Park
Saturday, December 17

Portal2 Speedrun Competition at West Networks
Saturday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

florida gators women's basketball

Gators Women’s Basketball vs. UNC Greensboro at Exactech Arena
Sunday, December 18, 2 p.m.

Parks & Trails

Free Timed 5K with parkrun at Depot Park
Saturday, December 17, 7:30 a.m.

Rim Ramble Ranger-Led Adventure at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Saturday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

tram car at sweetwater wetlands park

Accessible Tram Tours at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Saturday, December 17, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., advanced registration required

Stargazing at Paynes Prairie at Hickory Ranch at Paynes Prairie
Saturday, December 17, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

limpkin with snail

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, December 21, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

River & Springs

paddling on the santa fe river

Paddle 8 Springs in 8 Miles or Slowly Float Down the Santa Fe River at Poe Springs Park with Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures
Friday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Float or Splash Into Freshwater Springs
North Florida is home to the largest collection of first-magnitude springs in the United States.

Museums & Galleries

Weekend Tour at the Harn Museum of Art
Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

old florida vibes

Adventures in Old Florida Exhibit Reception at Good News Arts
Saturday, December 17, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Now on View at the Harn Museum of Art, AWE-some: time :: materiality :: meaning
Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.AWE-some celebrates new photographs recently bought for, or donated to, the Harn’s permanent collection. Its theme: recognition of several brilliant, dedicated photographers, their time, their actual prints (not on a screen) and why they made them.

Annual Faculty Exhibit Opening at Santa Fe College Gallery
Open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

return to forever

View Memories of Legendary Bands at a Legendary Music Venue at the Matheson History Museum’s Newest Exhibit “Return to Forever: Gainesville’s Great Southern Music Hall”
Museum Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The Matheson History Museum looks back at the state-of-the-art concert venue in Gainesville between 1974 and 1978. The Great Southern Music Hall hosted performers including Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Bob Seger and Steve Martin to name a few. The exhibit features a collection of live performance photos from the house photographer John Moran, Bo Diddley’s signature square guitar and other artifacts. Admission is free.

into out of

Into the Woods and Out of the Woods Exhibits at The Historic Thomas Center
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Pictured above, “Log (2)” by Benjamin Ingle

Explore the Solar System with the Cade Museum’s Scavenger Hunt
Now through January 2023
Engage with the Gainesville-wide “Wandering the Milky Way Planetary Partnership Scavenger Hunt” and visualize the scale of the galaxy. Get a map at the Cade Museum and make stops at locations throughout Gainesville including The Historic Thomas Center, Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and more. The scavenger hunt is an extension of the museum’s current theme, “Wandering the Milky Way.”

Speechless, Text and Image in Global Culture at the Harn Museum of Art
Now through December 30, 2022
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Discover a Unique African American Culture at Gullah Geechee – African Connections and Cultural Traditions in America at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Explore the Cosmos at the Cade Museum’s New Exhibit: Voyages – A Trip Through Space and Time
Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This featured exhibit is part of the museum-wide theme “Wandering the Milky Way – A Tour of the Solar System.” Discover how spacecraft from the 1970s still teach us about the galaxy and learn how scientists are designing a mission that spans generations.

fossil exhibit and museum attendees

Dig Into the Past at the Florida Museum’s Science Up Close: Fantastic Fossils
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Take a unique look behind the scenes, interact with scientists while they work and explore some of the museum’s coolest specimens. Get face-to-face with giant dinosaur skeletons, beautiful botanical fossils and ancient microscopic life. Plan your visit online. Photo by Florida Museum/Jeff Gage

Save The Date

Christmas Tours at Carson Springs Wildlife, December 24, 26

Sparks in the Park at Depot Park, December 31

Shen Yun at UF Phillips Center, January 2-4

For a complete list of events please visit

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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.

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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