Tallahassee's annual Downtown Winter Festival has become a treasured tradition among many as a way to kick off the winter holiday season in early December. Young and old; families, couples and singles; local natives, newcomers and nearby visitors all come together to delight in a magical evening of fun, festivities and even some exercise for the really motivated ones among us. It all started back in 1987 when a small group of citizens wanted to show off the City's new modest holiday decorations. An estimated 6,000 people braved the freezing cold temperatures that hit the area that December - a humble beginning to what has grown to draw 200,000 people yearly since the mid-1990s. Honored by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events in the southeastern U.S., event highlights include mini trees decked in handmade ornaments by our local school children, arts/crafts and food vendors for all tastes, entertaining performances on several stages, the Jingle Bell Run (a 3K fun run through downtown), a nighttime holiday parade with floats trimmed in lights, and, of course, a magical lighting ceremony lead by our Mayor that turns the Park Avenue Chain of Parks into an umbrella of a bazillion white lights. A stroll through Candy Cane Lane also features a real candy cane factory, and "Ice" Skating at Kleman Plaza, along with phone calls from Santa to your young ones are other highlights of this incredible event. Check the City's website for updates and details on the next festival.