What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 2 – 8, 2021

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Add to your weekend plans with holiday lights, live music and theatre performances, gift markets and a heaping cup of What’s Good. Put a twinkle in your eye with Light the Village at Haile Village Center, and with the Newberry and City of Alachua Christmas Tree lighting events. Head to downtown Gainesville for the family-friendly Bears and Lions concert, then follow Santa and Ginger on the firetruck as they head to the historic Thomas Center for the tree lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides, live music and more.

Find one-of-a-kind treasures at North Central Florida’s largest indoor craft festival at the University of Florida O’Connell Center or with a festive self-guided tour of the local art scene at Artwalk Gainesville. Theatre fans can enjoy a beloved classic and a new favorite with the opening weekend of both a Christmas Carol at the Hippodrome Theatre and with a Good Old Fashioned Redneck County Christmas at the High Springs Playhouse. 

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. Due to the current fluctuating environment, please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

Individual businesses in Alachua County may have masking and distancing requirements at their private establishments. We encourage you to become familiar with businesses, venues and attractions you intend to visit and to reach out directly to these establishments should you have questions regarding their current public health and safety procedures. 

a christmas carol

Enjoy a spirit-filled holiday treat for the whole family with the Opening Weekend of A Christmas Carol
Thursday, December 2 – Thursday, December 23 | Hippodrome Theatre
25 SE 2nd Pl., Gainesville, FL 32601

The Hippodrome’s very own adaptation of A Christmas Carol returns to the mainstage, delighting audiences with Charles Dickens’ beloved story of transformation and redemption. A cast of professional actors performs the cherished holiday tale as the selfish Ebenezer Scrooge gets taught a lesson by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

craft festival 2021

Find One-of-a-Kind Treasures at North Central Florida’s Largest Indoor Craft Festival
Saturday, December 4 – Sunday, December 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | University of Florida O’Connell Center
250 Gale Lemerand Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611 

The annual Craft Festival features handmade crafts, fine art, artisan foods and more. Browse hundreds of vendors in the O’Connell Center and find unique gifts. 

bears and lions band

Celebrate in Downtown Gainesville with the Bears and Lions Festive Family-Friendly Concert
Saturday, December 4, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Bo Diddley Plaza
Downtown Gainesville 

Join Bears and Lions for a family-friendly, free concert at Bo Diddley Plaza. This special holiday concert leads up to “Holiday Lights in the Thomas Center Garden” taking place at 6 p.m.

holiday lights at thomas center

Brighten Up the Season with Music, Carriage Rides and Twinkling Lights at the Thomas Center
Saturday, December 4, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. | The Historic Thomas Center
302 NE 6th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Thousands of lights adorn the garden’s trees. Enjoy cider and cookies for all, with entertainment by the Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus, the Singers of Reformation and the Gypsy Guerilla Band. Inside the Thomas Center, find the giant tree soaring above the above the Spanish Court. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the surrounding Duckpond neighborhood lit by hundreds of luminaries. 

dudley farm

Step Back in Time at the Dudley Farm’s Fall Cane Festival and National Historic Landmark Celebration
Saturday, December 4, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Dudley Farm Historic State Park
18730 W Newberry Rd., Newberry, FL 32669 

The annual Fall Cane Festival features a trip to the past with old-time music, corn grinding, cooking at the historic kitchen and boiling cane syrup. The day also includes the National Historic Landmark dedication celebration at 10 a.m.

safestay logo

Find the county’s most comprehensive and searchable list of area hotels and restaurants at

Learn about our lodging partner’s commitment to a safe stay for all who visit, work and live in Alachua County at Safe Stay Pledge.

artwalk gainesville

Take a Festive Self-Guided Tour of the Local Art Scene at Artwalk Gainesville
Friday, December 3, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Various Locations Downtown Gainesville

The holiday edition of Artwalk Gainesville provides an opportunity to meet local artists, browse art galleries and find an original holiday gift. Featured stops include GFAA Gallery, the Hippodrome Gallery, Sweetwater Print Cooperative, Swamp City Gallery Lounge and more. 

gram fest 2021

Celebrate the Musical Legacy of Gram Parsons at GramFest
Sunday, December 5, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Heartwood Soundstage

619 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

The annual concert honors Gram Parsons and his fusion of rock and country, dubbed “Cosmic American Music” popularized by the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. GramFest features performances from Hard Luck Society, The Shambles, Quartermoon with Mike Boulware and more. Enjoy refreshments and food trucks onsite.

high springs playhouse

Delight in a Charming and Entertaining Retelling of One of the Greatest Stories Ever Told with a Good Old Fashioned, Redneck Country Christmas
Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 19 | High Springs Playhouse
23416 W US Hwy. 27, High Springs, FL 32643 

Set in modern day America, this delightful play focuses on the lives of Bill and his buddies Dave and Jimmy who decide to escape for a day of hunting on Christmas Eve. The adventures that ensue lead to the question, What if the three wise men weren’t really all that wise? What if they were just three ordinary guys, avoiding conflicts at home, who happened upon the greatest story ever told? 

let it snow

Discover the Historic Haile Homestead with the “Let it Snow” History & Holidays Tours
Saturday, December 4 – January 2 | Historic Haile Homestead
8500 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL 32608 

See the Historic Haile Homestead decorated for the holidays and learn more about the history of the 1856 HomesteadLearn about the Haile family and about the enslaved laborers and freedmen, whose stories are intertwined into the fabric of the tours. For a reason lost to time, the Haile family wrote on the walls of their home – over 12,500 words in almost every room and closet. The walls speak of the joys and sorrows of more than a century ago. Tours take place through January 2 on Saturdays and Sundays.

gruesome playground injuries

Take a Journey with “Scar-Crossed” Lovers at the Stage Production of Gruesome Playground Injuries
Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 19 | Acrosstown Repertory Theatre
619 South Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Experience a different kind of love story starting when Doug and Kayleen first meet in the school nurse’s office. Over the course of 30 years, they meet repeatedly, brought together by injuries, heartbreak and self-destructive tendencies. 

holiday decorations

See Winter Blooms on a Guided Walk at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
4700 SW 58th Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608 

Stroll through the collections on a guided walk to see winter highlights. Spanning 68-acres, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens features diverse displays including the largest herb garden in the southeast and the largest public collection of bamboo in Florida. The gardens are pet-friendly and feature a 1.5 mile paved walkway that meanders throughout the property.

limpkin bird with snail

Go Birding and Spot Wildlife on a Ranger-Led Tour at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Saturday, December 4, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Sweetwater Wetlands Park
325 SW Williston Rd., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Recent bird sightings include Cooper’s Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, King Rail, Belted Kingfisher, Palm Warbler and Sandhill Crane. Pre-register for this tour to find these birds and more wildlife at Sweetwater Wetlands Park. Explore on your own, or register for the ½ mile walk ranger-led tour at Masks are required throughout the tour that includes about a 1/2 mile walk and will last about 1 hour. Bring water, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. 

century tower at night

Hear the 61 Bells of Century Tower Ring Out with Festive Music at the UF Carillon Studio Holiday Recital
Sunday, December 5, 1:55 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. | Century Tower
375 Newell Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

The UF Carillon Studio features musicians upholding the tradition of performing music at Century Tower. 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. View safety updates for University of Florida visitors here.

reindeer monologues

Get Served the Unvarnished Truth About the Real Santa Directly from His Reindeer at The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 19 | Actors’ Warehouse2512 NE 1st Blvd. Suite 100, Gainesville, FL 32609 

Unwrap a different kind of Christmas story as Santa’s reindeer spill the tea with gossip from the North Pole. Contains strong language and adult themes and is not intended for young audiences. 

fest wrestling

Mark Out for Wild High-Flying Action with Fest Wrestling’s Annual Ladder Match, Pickle in the Tree
Saturday, December 4, 8 p.m. | Knockin’ Boots Saloon
201 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 

Fest Wrestling gets in the holiday spirit with championship matches. The Pickle in the Tree #1 contender ladder match features Max the Impaler vs. Wolfe Taylor vs. Kimber Lee vs. VANDAL vs. Kelsey Raegan vs. EFFY.

glam craft show

Sip and Shop for Holiday Gifts at the 13th Annual GLAM Craft Show
Sunday, December 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | First Magnitude Brewing Company
1220 SE Veitch St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

The winter edition of the GLAM Craft Show features a curated selection of gifts from local makers and artisans. Enjoy food trucks and craft beverages from First Magnitude’s taproom.

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Arts & Theatre

History of Union Academy and Friends with Fred Awbrey at Matheson History Museum
Thursday, December 2, 7 p.m.


Agbedidi at UF Constans Theatre
Friday, December 3 – Saturday, December 4, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.,
Sunday, December 5, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Agbedidi celebrates the diaspora and fusion of African dance cultures and offers works featuring both traditional West African Dance and contemporary dance by African American choreographers.

wizard of oz

Wizard of Oz Young Performers’ Edition from the Star Center Theatre at UF Phillips Center
Friday, December 3, 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. 

Travel to Victorian England through a Cast of Colorful Characters with the Classic Coming of Age Musical Oliver! at Gainesville Community Playhouse
Now through Sunday, December 19  

Miracle on 34th Street a Live Radio Musical Play Based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour Broadcast at the Hippodrome Theatre
Now through Thursday, December 23 

the sound of the sea

The Sound of the Sea, Author Talk with Cynthia Barnett at the Matheson History Museum
Sunday, December 5, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Share in the Mystical and Magical Performance Art of Journal Entry at Black C Art
Now through Friday, December 10

Events & Festivals

light the village

Light the Village at Haile Village Center
Friday, December 3, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

City of Alachua Christmas Tree Lighting on Main Street Alachua
Friday, December 3, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

christmas tree at newberry city hall

City of Newberry Christmas Tree Lighting at Newberry City Hall
Friday, December 3, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

Operation Santa Delivery Presented by Lifesouth at Santa Fe College North Field
Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

(sold out) Archaeology of UF Campus with History Bike Gainesville Starting at the Florida Museum of Natural History
Saturday, December 4, 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

Haaapy Hour Yoga with Little Goats at Krazy Hearts Farm
Tuesday, December 7, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Pop-Up Markets

sycamore lane vintage market

Vintage Christmas Market at Sycamore Lane Market
Friday, December 3, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, December 4, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

vintage market sale

Vintage Market Sale at the Archer Community Center
Saturday, December 4, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Music & Performance

UF Symphonic Band Concert at University Auditorium
Thursday, December 2, 7:20 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. 

Soul and R&B with The Browns at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, December 3, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Classic Rock with Couch Messiahs at One Love Café
Friday, December 3, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Beatles Favorites from The Shoddy Beatles at Heartwood Soundstage
Friday, December 3, 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

Comedian Kyle Kinane at High Dive
Friday, December 3, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

mailbu nights

Latin, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Afrobeats and EDM at Malibu Nights at The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino
Friday, December 3, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. 

So Long 2021 Pop Punk and Emo Night at The Wooly
Friday, December 3, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. 

Outlaw Singer-Songwriter W.C. Edgar at Lightnin’ Salvage
Saturday, December 4, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Jazz with Hot Club DeVille at One Love Café
Sunday, December 5, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

UF School of Music Presents the 73rd Sounds of the Season Concert: A Celebration of Healing & Harmony at UF Phillips Center
Sunday, December 5, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Psychedelic Caribbean with ZETA at The Wooly
Sunday, December 5, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

UF Wind Symphony Concert at University Auditorium
Tuesday, December 7, 7:20 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. 

UF African Popular Music Ensemble Concert featuring Amo and Abou Camara at UF School of Music
Tuesday, December 7, 7:20 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

chris lake

Electronic Dance Music with Chris Lake at Simons
Wednesday, December 8, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Craft Breweries


Christkindlmarkt Outdoor Holiday Market at Blackadder Brewing Company
Friday, December 3, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 4, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

Rock and Alt-Country with Sides & Morse with Twisted Tikka Food Truck at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Friday, December 3, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Corn Hole Tournament, Silent Auction, Food Trucks and Live Music at Amy’s Army Fundraiser at High Springs Brewing Company
Saturday, December 4, 1 p.m.

Brainaholics Trivia at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Tuesday, December 7, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Elf on the Big Screen at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Wednesday, December 8, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

U-Picks & Farmer’s Markets

Cypress & Grove Farmer’s Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

One Love Cafe Local Market
Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

GNV Market at Heartwood Soundstage Featuring Live Music
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

High Springs Farmer’s Market
Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Newberry Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Alachua County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Haile Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmer’s Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

basket of farm veggies

Farmer’s Market at Gainesville Health and Fitness
Sundays, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Bites & Brunch

5th Annual Biggest Wine Tasting of the Season with Downtown Wine and Cheese at The Dunbar Hotel
Thursday, December 2, 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. 

Diverse Menus at the Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally and Free Live Music at High Dive
Saturday, December 4, 5 p.m.

food truck rally

4th Avenue Food Park Food Truck Rally Presented by PAOW!
Sunday, December 5, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Holiday Herbs Cooking Class at UF/IFAS Extension Ag Auditorium
Monday, December 6, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Did you know that our dining scene regularly makes national headlines? Find out why We Chomp with the best of them!

Find a searchable list of Alachua County restaurants here.


rc racing

Friday Night Lights RC Racing at Newberry RC Park
Friday, December 3, 7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. 

Disc Golfers Compete at the 10th Annual Chain Hawks Open
Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 5

pickleball showcase

4th Annual Gainesville Pickleball Showcase at Northside Park
Saturday, December 4 – Sunday, December 5 

Crappie USA Winter Series Fishing Competition and Free Kids Fishing Rodeo at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Park and Boat Ramp
Saturday, December 4, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

Ornament Race at High Springs BMX Benefitting Toys for Tots
Sunday, December 5, 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Spider Cup Indoor Archery Tournament at Easton Newberry Archery Center
Sunday, December 5, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  

Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School at Gainesville Raceway
Monday, December 6 – Tuesday, December 7

Parks & Trails

(sold out) Frogs and Friends Fridays at Morningside Nature Center
Friday, December 3, 2 p.m.

bird at sweetwater wetlands

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands with Alachua Audubon Society at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, December 8, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Sinkhole Guided Walk at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

Rim Ramble Hike at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Trek Through Trails: Top 5 Family-Friendly and Dog-Friendly Hikes
Spending time in nature has been proven to benefit the mind, body and spirit, so round up the kids, find the dog, or go solo and reacquaint yourself with the outdoors on Alachua County’s nature trails.

Museums & Galleries

Winter Showcase at GFAA Gallery
Now through January 2

artistry in motion

“Artistry in Motion” Exhibit at Cofrin Gallery at Oak Hall School
Now through December 10 

O-B-S-O-L-E-S-C-E-N-C-E at Grinter Gallery
Now through December 3, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

tiny titans exhibit

Look at the Lives of Dinosaurs through their Nests at Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
View authentic specimens from around the world, touch real bones and see lifelike models of eggs, embryos and hatchlings at the egg-citing new exhibit. The Tiny Titans exhibit is bilingual. Photo courtesy Silver Plume Exhibitions.

View More Than 50 Paintings Composing a Visual History of the State at Florida Impressions: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers at the Harn Museum of Art
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Explore the World of Toys and Games, and Learn About the Language of Measurement at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Friday, November 26, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Between Heaven & Earth – The Paintings of Alyne Harris at Thomas Center Galleries
Saturday, November 27, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

Trailblazers: 150 Years of Alachua County Women at the Matheson History Museum
Wednesday – Saturday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Save The Date

Museum Nights at the Harn Museum of Art, December 9

UF Poinsettia Sale, December 10-11

Victorian Holiday Home Tour, December 11

Drive-Thru Road to Bethlehem at Camp Kulqua, December 11-12

Moon and the Stars Farm Dinner at Swallowtail Farm, December 11

The Nutcracker, December 18-19

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.

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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