PANAMA CITY BEACH — The holidays are upon us, which means one Panama City Beach tradition is returning for its extravaganza.
Beach Home for the Holidays is held annually on Thanksgiving weekend to kick off the holiday season in Panama City Beach with two days filled with holiday-themed festivities. The free event is in its seventh year and takes place Friday and Saturday at Aaron Bessant Park, 600 W. Pier Park Drive.
Rachel Banks, public relations manager for Visit Panama City Beach, said that Beach Home for the Holidays started as a way to bring the community together to celebrate the start of the holiday season.
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“(Visit Panama City Beach) hosts this every year because it’s our way to kick off the holiday season in PCB,” Banks said. “All ages are welcome. We just wanted to have a fun, festive way to bring the community together.”
Holiday-themed activities are lined up for both days, such as carol-themed concerts, an appearance by Santa, firework shows and activities for the kids.
Campfires, S’mores & Santa’s Village will open at 3:30 p.m. on both days. Photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available throughout the day. Also, the evening will close out with a fireworks show at 7:15 p.m. on both nights.
Also on Friday, a holiday movie begins at 4:15 p.m., Disney’s “A Christmas Carol,” followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree by Panama City Beach officials at 5:55 p.m. At 6 p.m., country music star Cam will hit the amphitheater stage.
According to an announcement, Cam is best known for her studio album “Untamed,” which made the top 15 of the Billboard Top 200 and registered at No. 2 on the Top Country Albums Chart. Her album also landed her Grammy, CMA, and ACM nominations for the single “Burning House,” which remains the best-selling country song by a female solo artist since its release in 2015.
The event continues Saturday morning at 8 a.m., starting with the Beach Home for the Holidays 5K Run/Walk and one-mile fun run at Frank Brown Park, 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway. Also, festive t-shirts and finish medals will be given to the first 100 runners.
Alongside the opening of Santa’s Village on Saturday, a showing of “Shrek the Halls” and “Merry Madagascar” will play at 4:15 p.m. At 6 p.m. the Panama City Symphony Orchestra will perform an hourlong holiday-themed set on the stage.
Since its inception in 2015, the tradition has continued to grow, and last year the event set record-breaking numbers of 10,000 in attendance — about 44% more than a typical event. Banks said this year’s event looks to bring in around the same number.
“We’re expecting about 10,000 attendees for this year’s event, and we are so excited about that,” Banks said. “…We hope that everyone has the opportunity to come out and be a part of this tradition.”
For more information about Beach Home for the Holidays, go to visitpanamacitybeach.com.